YK Poudel 

The Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund is actively involved with the Government of Bhutan to finance Gamri-I (45MW) hydropower project in Trashigang and the Begana (25MW) hydropower project in Thimphu, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The OPEC Fund will also consider joining the World Bank co-financing consortium to support the 1,125MW Dorjilung Hydropower project and will attend the donor coordination meeting in Thimphu in July 2023.

Prime Minister at the invitation of the Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering attended the OPEC Fund Development Forum 2023, in Vienna, Austria.

During the visit, the Prime Minister met with Director General of OPEC Fund, Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa and discussed areas of collaboration and support to Bhutan by the Fund.

Lyonchhen said that Bhutan is scheduled to graduate from the Least Developed Countries category by the end of this year. 

“Bhutan is being added to almost 125 countries that OPEC has been working with and it gives new hope and a meaningful journey, that Bhutan will embark on hereafter,” he said in his address at the OPEC Fund meeting yesterday in Vienna. 

“I’m highly appreciative of OPEC’s kind discernment of our priorities, and the role it has played in enriching the lives of peoples in the developing countries through their extraordinary mandates,” Lyonchhen said. “On our part, as we join the list OPEC has worked with, we commit to match their strengths and intentions to write successful stories together.”

According to him, Bhutan is currently working on mass-scale national skilling programs are underway, where thousands of youths are being skilled for emerging jobs. “Accordingly, we seek new financing windows in a way that is more liberal in making ideas and countries flourish.”

He said: “I was also informed that the OPEC Fund is willing to offer technical assistance as well as advisory and knowledge services through their Climate Finance and Energy Innovation hub, to help us meet the specific SDGs and our NDC. Such services will be invaluable to us. May we attain an all-new level of “resilience and equity.”

Established in 1976, the OPEC Fund for International Development is a globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively.

The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world.

To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than USD 24 billion in the countries it has supported.

The OPEC Fund committed to extending technical assistance as well as advisory and knowledge services through their Climate Finance and Energy Innovation Hub to help Bhutan meet its SDG 7, 13 and NCD targets.

It is part of the OPEC Fund’s broader efforts to tackle the twin challenges of energy poverty and climate change outlined in the OPEC Fund climate action plan announced at COP 27.

The Prime Minister and the Director General expressed their confidence that the new partnership established today will grow stronger and result in a fruitful partnership that fulfils the objectives of the Fund while also meeting the development objectives of Bhutan in the future.    

The meeting at Vienna manifests a new generation of renewed and strengthened commitments between the least developed countries and their development partners, environment, tourism, hydropower, solar energy and waste management in the country.