Aligning Development Aid to Meet National Priorities

Dec 9, 2013

The 12th Round Table Meeting presents a crucial opportunity for dialogue to enhance cooperation between the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) and its development partners and to look at how aid can be positioned to help meet national goals and strengthen socio-economic development in Bhutan.

9 December 2013, Thimphu – Bhutan, the United Nations Development Programme, and a host of development partners will explore how to best meet the country’s economic and social priorities, at the 12th Round Table Meeting, in Thimphu on 11-12 December.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for the Royal Government of Bhutan to present the 11th Five Year Plan. Its aim is to ensure better alignment of international development assistance with the national priorities for improved aid-effectiveness.

At the two-day meeting development partners will have the opportunity to discuss the plan’s challenges and priorities; public finance; and key highlights of the Economic Development Policy. The Secretaries of the Gross National Happiness Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs will make the presentations on these critical themes.

Better cooperation between the government and its development partners will play an important role in helping meet these challenges. At the Round Table Meeting, Richard Marshall, an economic advisor with UNDP, will also make a presentation on LDC graduation in terms of its prospects and challenges for Bhutan.

The Eleventh Plan serves as a vital platform for achieving a set of development milestones by 2020 – which are outlined in "Bhutan 2020: A Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and Happiness.”  Those include: self-reliance, full employment, a more diverse economy, and graduating from the list of LDCs without adverse socioeconomic effects. 

Socio-economic indicators show Bhutan making good progress towards achieving these milestones, but with less than 7 years in hand targeted actions and innovative approaches will be required to deal with several challenges that call for urgent attention.

The meeting, jointly organized by the government and the UN, will be co-chaired by Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje, Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RGOB and Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.  The co-chairs will hold a press briefing at the conclusion of the meeting on 12 December.

Media are also invited to the opening and closing session of the round table, to the launch of Bhutan’s MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) Report on Youth Unemployment, and to the Situation Analysis Report of Children, Youth and Women. More information on these launches will be provided in a separate media advisory.

Other Key Events
11 December - The Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework (MAF) Report on youth unemployment will also be launched at the meeting. Finding jobs for young people is a critical issue, which will help accelerate the progress of MDGs – a set of eight goals that include a commitment to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, tackle dreaded disease and strive for gender equality. The goals have targets to be met by the end of 2015.

12 December - The Situation Analysis Report of Children, Youth and Women (SiTAN) will be launched by the Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR) and Mr. Haoliang Xu, followed by a launch of the Uniting for Youth website. The report is the UN’s overall effort to support national capacity for promoting human development and fulfilling the human rights of citizens. The assessment and analysis point to a much better future for the children of Bhutan, they can expect to live longer and have access to better healthcare and education.

About the Round Table Meetings
The first RTM for Bhutan was held in the early 1980s. Generally, such Round Table Meetings are held twice in the course of a five-year plan. The previous meeting took place in September 2011. The 11th RTM discussed the overcoming of Bhutan’s remaining development challenges and innovative approaches to development. Some of the recommendations included the development of a diverse private sector, provision of jobs for young people, connecting rural communities to markets and services, developing commercial agriculture, community-based tourism, and IT-enabled services to balance environmental impact with growth objectives.

Note to Editors
Mr. Haoliang Xu is the UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.  His prior experience includes many years of distinguished service within UNDP, most recently as Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in New York since 2010.  He held several positions with the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in New York.