The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) honoured his Majesty The Druk Gyalpo with a Special Award of Recognition this week.

The honour recognises His Majesty’s leadership in advancing human development and the wellbeing and happiness of the people of Bhutan. Having been a close partner in the country’s development for over 40 years, the recognition is a testament of how fortunate Bhutan and her people have been under the selfless leadership of monarchs with extraordinary calibre, benevolence and commitment to the service of the people.

The award takes into account His Majesty’s championing of the holistic development paradigm of Gross National Happiness, leadership in environment conservation and His Majesty’s guidance in ensuring a smooth transition to democracy.

As we take pride in the recognition and cherish our leadership, it’s a good reminder to the people that the kind of leadership we have, of His Majesty as the symbol of unity, is rare in today’s turbulent times. With guidance from the Golden Throne, our democracy has been progressing, there is peace and harmony in the country and our economy though small and vulnerable, is improving.

The recognition has come at a time when the country is gearing towards higher goals of human development. With a new government at the helm and an ambitious 12th Plan, work has begun to graduate from the least developed country status.

We have the leadership in His Majesty The King. We have the vision in GNH. We have the political will in the government to narrow the gap, the environment of peace and the support and commitments of our development partners.

What we need now is the will to fulfill the aspirations of His Majesty and the people. This recognition must serve us to understand how critical is the leadership in our monarchs for Bhutan to progress. It is a reminder of our responsibilities to ensure that we sustain the achievements the nation has made in all aspects of human development.

The concerns and challenges raised and discussed at the recently concluded round table meeting are valid. We now have an assessment of where we need to focus on and how. The apprehension is good because it will remind us of what is at stake if we go wrong.  It is a call for all to work towards a shared goal of human development.

The areas of special recognition – GNH, leadership in environment conservation and the unique transition to democracy were given to the people of Bhutan by our monarchs.

Our monarchs humanised development and this is Bhutan’s contribution to the world.