Representatives from the UN agencies in the country and the media gathered at a workshop in an attempt to connect better and bring more focus on development stories.

Journalists and editors were trained to cover development stories during the two-day event that ended on November 15 in Paro.

UN’s resident coordinator and resident representative of UNDP, Gerald Daly, said media played a transforming and socialising role in development.

In the 12th Plan, the UN is expected to bring in resources worth USD 120 million to implement the SDGs.

“We need to make sure that we are accountable to the people of the country,” he said, adding that his office would publish an annual country results report, which would have information on how the resources were used.

He said that workshop was to show UN’s desire to listen to the media for guidance.  “The media can help us to be more accountable.”

Officials said that there was a need for a media partnership with the UN to benefit from each other. While the media played an important role in facilitating the participation of people in developmental activities, the UN has played a crucial role in Bhutan’s development process.

Gerald Daly also announced that his office would sponsor the best development article award at the annual journalism beginning this year.

He said that the UN believes in the capacity building of the media because it sees educated public as a key element in self-reliance.

He said that the 17 SDGs are so ambitious that the UN on its own cannot accomplish them, not even with the government of Bhutan. “We need to find a way to attract the private sector in to achieve these ambitious agenda.”

Gerald Daly suggested newspapers to publish news weekly on climate actions underway in the country. His office would link the reporters with local and UN experts on climate change and other areas under the SDGs, he said.

“We are helping you do your work but you are also helping us do our work,” he said. “We are only as good as the connection we have with the society.”

Tshering Palden