The Round Table Meeting is the highest forum for policy dialogue and aid coordination between the Royal Government of Bhutan and its development partners. It also provides an opportunity for the Royal Government of Bhutan and its development partners to review and discuss issues of mutual interest to further strengthen socio-economic development cooperation ties. UNCDF is represented by the Head of Asia and Pacific Regional Office, David Jackson.
The 11th Round Table Meeting takes place at the midpoint of the implementation of the Tenth Five Year Plan and provides an opportunity to take stock of development progress and review development challenges facing this small kingdom. Moreover this Five Year Plan is critical to Bhutan, as it is the first one to be implemented after the introduction of democracy in the country and under the leadership of the newly elected government.
In the recent years Bhutan has made sustained progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the country remains on track to achieving most of its MDG goals and targets. Significant advancements have been made in reducing poverty, scaling up enrollment in primary schools, securing gender parity in primary and secondary level education, lowering high levels of child and maternal mortality, reducing the incidence of communicable diseases and maintaining exemplary standards of environmental sustainability. However, there are still several issues and challenges that could affect the meeting of the MDGs in their entirety and with equity.
Ms. Claire Van der Vaeren, UN Resident Coordinator, in her joint UN statement addressing the floor raised the issue of climate change and the new challenges it poses for Bhutan. The increasing impact of climate change on Bhutan’s water resources, ecosystems and human health could reverse some of the development gains that have already been achieved and hinder further progress.
According to the UN Resident Coordinator there is an “urgent need for Bhutan to build resilience to buffer the impacts of climate change through adaptation and mitigation measures - notably by generating resources for adaptation, capacity building, and transfer of technology. In this regard, we welcome the Climate Summit that will be hosted by Bhutan in November this year and the adoption of a local climate adaptive methodology (LoCAL) for performance based climate resilience financing at the local level”.
In conjunction with the Round Table Meeting the 2011 Bhutan National Human Development Report “Sustaining Progress: Rising to the Climate Challenge” is being launched. The report highlights the LoCAL methodology as a means to provide resilience and adaptation financing to the local level.