KINGDOM OF BHUTAN

 

Statement by

 

H.E. Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba,

Chairman of the Council of Ministers

and

Head of the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan

 

to the

 

Millennium Summit of the United Nations

 

New York

September 8, 2000



Most Eminent Co-Chairpersons,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It gives me great pleasure to felicitate the two distinguished leaders who have been elected to jointly and equally preside over the Millennium Summit. Their representation of separate geographic regions as well as cultural and economic backgrounds, is an expression of our collective will to usher in an era of greater understanding, peace and cooperation in international relations.

 

I would also like to express my delegation's appreciation to the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for a concise report that is both reflective and stimulating. It fulfills the expectation of a comprehensive basis for our common endeavor to envision the future of our planet in the new century.

 

Excellencies,

It is now five years since we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and a new millennium has begun. Yet, the world is still not rid of the scourge of war, and there continues to prevail those very causes which compel sections of our society to seek change through perpetration of violence upon each other. These include insecurity, inequities, poverty and despair. But does this mean that the UN has failed?

 

For all its imperfections, the UN is an institution for which there is no alternative. It has given hope in times of instability, crisis and war. Members have joined hands to prevent wars, to keep warring sides apart, and to promote social and economic development. For the smaller and more vulnerable nations, the world body has served to safeguard sovereignty and freedom. Above all, the UN today is vital to the promotion and conduct of international relations and behavior. The wisdom of committing ourselves to the strengthening of our Organization must be upheld.

 

Against this backdrop, I urge that the time has come to pay more than lip service to the reform and expansion of the Security Council. Through mounds of working papers and hours of debate, it is well established that the global community needs the change. Let us work to make it happen. Let us ensure that among others, the UN is on a firm financial footing and that there is equitable geographic representation of permanent members in the Council.

 

Excellencies,

Globalization is a revolution that is all embracing and irreversible. We in Bhutan accept it as a natural outcome of the continuing evolution of human society, accelerated by the miracles of technology. While we welcome the opportunities it offers for socio-economic progress, the fear that it threatens to marginalize further the developing countries is not ill founded. The appeal against consigning globalization entirely to market forces controlled by multinationals for profit alone is growing louder. Indeed, the pitfalls are neither few in number nor minimal in their potential consequences. We believe that just as a human institutions and cultural expressions are of our own making, so must the direction, pace and impact of globalization be guided to ensure that it serves to enhance our greater common interests and values.


 

Alleviation of material poverty and spiritual hunger that undermine human dignity and value of human life remains a great challenge for all our governments. We see people-centered, holistic development as an effective way to overcome the problem. In this context, Bhutan has evolved a philosophy and concept of development aimed at promoting "Gross National Happiness" beyond just GNP. Besides socio-economic development under conditions of equity and sustainability, it prescribes environmental conservation, promotion of basic human values and good governance. It requires that, in the process of promoting development and ensuring freedom from the uncertainty of survival and want of basic needs, humanity must not lose its soul.

 

Excellencies,

Whether we speak about eradication of poverty, peacekeeping, or promotion of socio-economic development, finance is a constraining factor -- not because of an absolute lack of it -- but for the want of a greater political will to share available resources. In this regard, we must not be oblivious to the diminishing role and capacity of the UN due mainly to lack of support and funds. My delegation would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend the developed countries that have met or surpassed the internationally agreed ODA annual disbursement target of 0.7%, and appeal to others to do the same.

 

Excellencies,

Peace and security are prerequisites to human creativity and productivity. These are the foundations for social and economic advancement. This summit is historic not only in the context of the new millennium but because of the affirmation of the relevance and importance of this world body by the largest number of Heads of Government and State ever in its history. This, then, is the moment to rededicate and commit our countries and peoples to the high aims and ideals of the UN. Let this be the occasion from which will rise a more purposeful, strong and effective UN that will succeed in creating the preconditions for human growth and happiness.

 

Thank you and Tashi Delek