His Excellency Lyonpo Jigmi Y. Thinley
Minister Of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom Of Bhutan
57th Regular Session Of The United Nations General Assembly
17 September 2002
Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have before us an array of issues that are as compelling and daunting as
ever before. Many of these threaten to widen further the divides that separate
us and deepen more the wounds that pain us. They challenge ever so severely
our resolve to live in peace and harmony. But we remain hopeful. Under your
leadership and guidance, Mr. President, we are confident that our deliberations
will be purposeful and productive. Toward this, I assure you sir, of the full
cooperation of my delegation.
I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Han
Seung-soo for his stewardship and contribution to the work of the 56th session.
His presidency, at a most challenging time in the history of the United Nations,
has enhanced the esteem of the international community for him and the Republic
My delegation takes great pleasure in welcoming the Swiss Confederation and
the Democratic Republic of East Timor as they take their rightful place in our
family of nations. While we welcome East Timor's admission as a newly independent
state, it is with a sense of deep satisfaction that we appreciate the decision
of the Swiss people. Their decision is an affirmation of their faith in the
relevance and indispensability of the United Nations. They, more than any other
country, have observed and studied with active participation the workings of
this world body. As a country for whom the United Nations will always be critically
important, Bhutan is indeed deeply heartened.
The loss of lives and untold suffering and destruction wrought by the senseless
acts of September 11 have united all of humanity against the evil of terrorism
in all its manifestations. No clear orientation towards international peace
and development is possible without uprooting this disease that has been allowed
to afflict many of our societies. The United Nations must continue to play a
central and decisive role in directing our collective resolve and efforts to
eradicate terrorism. While each of us must in our own countries take all possible
measures to rid ourselves of this menace, we know that it is through the multilateral
framework that our individual, national, regional and global efforts can be
effectively and rightly coordinated. It is imperative that in our battle against
terrorism, the norms and principles of this hallowed institution are not undermined.
Our war on terrorism must continue to unite us.
The realization of a new economic order that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable
remains the most pressing challenge of the United Nations. The scourge of poverty
and disease continue to afflict millions of people around the world. My delegation
is compelled to reiterate its concern over the decline in ODA and the parallel
emphasis on market efficiency and trade as an engine of growth. We realize that
trade underpins equal partnership and should represent the ultimate goal of
economic development strategies. But not all countries have the necessary capacity
to take advantage of the global trading system. Without timely and adequate
assistance to fill the resource gap to meet their basic development priorities,
many of the developing countries will continue to suffer marginalization.
Clearly, there is a need to create a fair and equitable trading environment
without prejudice to the flow of adequate ODA. In particular, the special needs
and vulnerabilities of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS must be comprehensively addressed
to enable them to effectively integrate into the global economic system. In
Africa, the international community must lend its full support to extricate
the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and prevent its further marginalization.
In this context, we welcome the endorsement of the New Economic Partnership
for African Development (NEPAD) by the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General
Assembly and hope that the international community will provide the necessary
support to this program. This is particularly significant for those countries
emerging from conflict and where rehabilitation of social and economic infrastructure
is vital if peace is to be sustained.
There is no lack of vision and strategies to overcome the socio-economic maladies
that confront the global community. The Millennium Declaration Goals provide
clear targets and strategies to reduce poverty, achieve sustainable development
and reverse the devastating trend of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. What
we need is greater political will.
I wish to acknowledge the contributions of the United Nations and bilateral
donors to the development of my country. We are grateful to our partners not
only for the substantial quantum of assistance we have received over the years,
but for the willingness and acceptance of our insistence on being the master
of our own destiny. Our partnership is characterized by a high intensity of
frank and open political dialogue while the cooperative arrangements at all
levels are marked by a notable degree of transparency.
My country continues to be guided by our goal of promoting "Gross National
Happiness" as opposed to simply targeting the enhancement of Gross National
Product as the end of development. We believe that it is the responsibility
of the government to create an enabling environment within which every citizen
would have a reasonable opportunity to find happiness. Toward this, all our
development strategies must subscribe to strengthening of the four pillars of
"Gross National Happiness", which are namely I) ensuring of equitable
and sustainable socio-economic development, ii) conservation of our fragile
mountain ecology, iii) promotion of basic human values and culture, and iv)
the strengthening of good governance.
It is my belief that these are pillars on which the happiness of our human
society can be firmly established. While I am fully aware that Bhutan is certainly
not unique in its pursuit of happiness, I express the hope that more among us
will join in the search with a greater sense of seriousness.
I thank you, Mr. President.