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High-level Plenary Meeting of the 60th session of the General Assembly

Thursday, 15 September 2005
H.E. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk
New York

Honble Co-Presidents,
Your Majesties, Hon'ble Presidents, Hon'ble Prime Ministers,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Ladies & Gentlemen

1. It is an honour for me to represent the Kingdom of Bhutan at this high-level plenary
meeting of the General Assembly. I bring the greetings and good wishes of our King, His Majesty
Jigme Singye Wangchuck to the meeting and to the United Nations at its sixtieth anniversary
2. At the outset, I would like to convey Bhutan's sympathy and solidarity with the United States
in its efforts to recover from the ravages of Hurric ane Katrina.
3. My delegation is pleased that two visionary leaders are chairing this meeting of historic
significance. We would like to thank all those who worked meticulously to prepare for the
meeting. The people of the world have high expectations from this gathering. The outcome
document that we will approve, while not meeting all expectations, do contain important
agreements that have to be implemented. This is crucial if we are to deliver these promises to our
Honble Presidents,
4. In the words of the Secretary-General there cannot be development without security
nor security without development Neither development nor security can exist in the absence of
respect for human rights. This is the reality of our present day world. Today, more than ever
before, we live in an interconnected and interdependent world and face challenges and threats that
no nation can tackle alone. Recent times have shown that events in one region can affect the
entire globe. Therefore, global action to address the issues facing humanity is the need of our
time. Collective action calls for an effective multilateral system with the United Nations at its
core to maintain international peace and security and promote international cooperation. Towards
this, we must reform and strengthen the organization and its institutions, including the General
Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic & Social Council and the Secretariat. Reform
should promote efficiency and legitimacy. It should make the United Nations and its institutions
more democratic and representative so that they better reflect the diversity and realities of our
present day world.
Honble Presidents,
5. Global action can sustain and become credible only if we seriously follow up on our
commitments and implement the goals and objectives agreed upon at the Millennium Summit and
other major UN conferences relating to development, peace, collective security, human rights and
the rule of law. Our community of 191 member states is not a homogenous one and although the ,
challenges are the same, perceptions vary and the nature & scale of challenges faced differ from
country to country and region to region. It is, therefore, important to ensure that we approach all
issues in a holistic and balanced manner and that the principles and purposes of the UN Charter
are respected and upheld at all times. The principles of sovereign equality of all states, territorial
integrity and political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of states and
resolution of disputes by peaceful means, as enshrined in the Cha rter are sacrosanct.
Hon'ble Presidents,
6. As noted by the Secretary-General in his report, the progress achieved by the LDCs is
insufficient to achieve the goals of the Brussels Progamme of Action and thus the Millennium
Development Goals. The Report has identified count ry ownership, capacity and resources as the
major obstacles. As the primary responsibility for development rests on individual countries, we
ourselves must increase efforts to tackle problems that impede development. At the same time,
our development partners must scale-up their development assist ance, provide full debt relief,
assist & enhance trade and facilitate technology transfer, among others. We urge the developed
countries to fulfill their aid commitment of 0.7% of the GDP and allocate 0.2% of that to the
LDCs. We commend those countries that have already reached or crossed the 0.7% target.
Accelerated global partnership between the LDCs and the international community is urgent as
the General Assembly prepares to undertake the mid-term review of the Brussels Programme of
Action next year. My delegation would also like to emphasize the impo rtance of implementing
the programmes identified in the Almaty Programme of Action.
7. A recent UN report states that the relatively poor performance of the Asia-Pacific LDCs is
overshadowed by the fast growth countries in the region. It also states that these states receive
less than half the average per-capita aid given to LDCs in other regions. This is a matter of
serious concern and we urge the international community to address this situation faced by the 14
LDCs of the Asia-Pacific where 260 million people live.
Honble Presidents,
8. The Royal Government of Bhutan is deeply committed to the Millennium
Development Goals and has assumed national ownership in achieving them. We are hopeful that
with the continued support of our development partners and the international community, we will
be able to achieve most of them by 2015. We are on track towards achieving eradication of
poverty, ensuring universal primary education, reducing child mortality, improving the supply of
safe drinking water and sanitation. Achievement of the MDGs will go a long way towards
realizing our national development goal of Gross National Happiness. Pe rmit me to briefly touch
upon this development paradigm.
9. For over two decades, Bhutan's development process has been guided by the concept
of Gross National Happiness - a concept enunciated by His Majesty King Jigme Singye
Wangchuck. It stems from the belief that the ultimate goal of every human being is happiness and
its attainment should be the purpose of development. We believe that the State should pursue
policies and strategies to address the holistic needs of the human individual - both physical and
spiritual - and thus create the conditions for achieving happiness. Increasing Gross Domestic
Product enhances physical comfort but on its own cannot promote overall wellbeing. There are
other aspects and we have determined them to be conse rvation of the natural environment,
preservation of culture and good governance. In our view, this is a more holistic and sustainable
approach to development. It could perhaps provide some answers to the many ills that afflict our ,
societies. I call upon the international community to reflect on this.
Thank you and Tashi Delek!