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High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Midterm Comprehensive Global Review of the I mplementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010

Monday, 18 December 2006
H.E. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk
New York

Madam President,
Distinguished Delegates;
My delegation welcomes the mid-term review of the Brussels
Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries. There is no
denying that progress in the implementation of the BPoA has been
unsatisfactory so far, and unless greater efforts are exerted, the
prospect of realizing the goals and objectives set out in the BPoA by
the target year of 2013 will be beyond reach. It is, therefore, our
sincere hope that the review will engender renewed commitment and
decisive actions by all stakeholders for the remaining five years of the
programme period.
My delegation welcomes the increase in ODA over the last few
years. However, significant portions of it are concentrated in a few
countries, and ODA in real terms in almost half the LDCs has
declined. ODA is a lifeline for LDCs and for countries like mine,
constitutes the primary resource for development. We appeal to all
countries to deliver on their aid commitment of 0.7% of gross national
product and allocate 0.15 to 0.20 percent of that to the LDGs. This is
1a just appeal as LDCs make up more than a third of the member
states of the United Nations. We commend countries that have
fulfilled their ODA commitments under the Monterrey Consensus
which was reaffirmed by the 2005 World Summit, and urge others to
do so.
My delegation commends the 2005 Paris Declaration that
places recipient countries at the centre of development assistance. It
is imperative that interventions are country-driven and ODA untied for
effective utilization. We similarly welcome the Secretary General's
report on resource mobilization in the context of the Brussels
Programme of Action which highlights the need to strengthen country
ownership and genuine partnership between donor and recipient
countries. The Cotonou Strategy represents effort towards ownership
and partnership and it is our hope that the strategy will be supported.
Among the concerns highlighted by the LDCs during the course
of the preparations for the mid-term review, is the emphasis by
development partners on MDGs. The MDGs, notwithstanding their
importance, have overshadowed the commitments to BPoA in so far
as resource commitments at the programme level are concerned. My
delegation believes that the BPoA and MDGs are compatible and
complementary, and requests development partners to take a similar
view and accord equal treatment.
2We join others in welcoming the agreement reached at the
Hong Kong WTO Ministerial Conference for duty-free and quota-free
market access for all products originating from LDCs by 2008. It is a
significant measure that should have far-reaching benefits for LDCs.
Madam President,
Bhutan is fully committed to the Brussels Programme of Action
and is making concerted efforts towards its implementation. The
Royal Government has integrated the goals and objectives of the
BPoA into its development plans and long-term strategies. The seven
broad commitments highlighted in the Programme are in consonance
with our development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. This
philosophy places people at the center of development and strives to
promote good governance, equitable socio-economic growth,
environmental conservation, and spiritual & cultural growth.
Concrete steps have been taken to enhance good governance
in the country. Recently, an extensive review titled "Good
Governance Plus" was carried out resulting in over two hundred
recommendations that are currently being implemented. As a result,
future five-year development plans will see significant planning and
fiscal management reforms. Our plans will also be MDG-based, and,
therefore, result oriented. It was indeed a proud moment for us when
our efforts towards good governance were recognized with the award
–∑of Asia-Pacific Best Country Practice in Aid Management during a
recently held "Paris to Practice Workshop" at Bangkok. More
significantly, Bhutan is poised for a historic political change in 2008
when parliamentary democracy will be introduced.
Our country's economy continues to grow at an average of 6 to
7 percent. We are judiciously harnessing the one renewable energy
resource that the country has in abundance. Hydropower is today our
major source of revenue. The private sector is being vigorously
promoted as the engine of growth. Many enabling policy instruments
have been adopted, and we have made significant progress in our
negotiations for accession to the WTO.
We have ensured that our economic growth is not at the cost of
the natural environment to whose protection we accord high priority.
Our "ecological footprint" is small, and policies and laws are in place
to ensure it remains that way. At the same time, growth has not come
at the expense of the social sector which continues to receive the
largest share of our annual budgets. Last year our achievement in
environmental conservation was recognized by the UNEP Champions
of the Earth Award for 2005 which was conferred on His Majesty the
King and the people of Bhutan. Next month, the J. Paul Getty Award
for Conservation Leadership is being awarded to His Majesty the
King and the people of Bhutan. We appreciate the international
community's recognition of our conservation efforts.
4Madam President,
Our efforts are persistently challenged by many constraints we
face as an LDC. Lack of adequate and predictable funding to finance
our development goals is the most serious one. We have been
fortunate to receive the support and assistance of many bilateral and
multilateral partners and it is our hope that this will continue and be
further enhanced in the future. As I mentioned earlier, Bhutan is in a
critical political transition, and our success in the process will, to a
large extent, depend on our ability to maintain and enhance the
current levels of socio-economic development.
Madam President,
My delegation would like to express our deep appreciation to all
development partners, both bilateral and multilateral, for the generous
support provided to us. We take note of the valuable work that the
Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS is
doing to support the efforts of these disadvantaged groups of
countries. We hope that this will continue through provision of better
resources to the Office.
5Madam President,
In conclusion, I wish to emphasize that the need of the hour is
not to search for bold new solutions. The need is to undertake the
straight forward task of working together to fulfill existing
commitments and taking action on the ground. Over the course of our
meeting in this affluent setting, we must not lose sight of the human
tragedies unfolding every minute in the LDCs. Let us ensure that our
deliberations today have a real and enduring impact on precious lives
besieged by poverty and deprivation.
Thank you for your kind attention.