THIMPHU: The coronavirus pandemic, a global health emergency unlike any other, has turned the world upside down. The crisis has revealed deep cracks in our society and economy and laid bare the vulnerabilities of the present world.

In Bhutan, the Royal Government under the leadership of His Majesty the King, took swift and decisive measures, and remarkably managed to avert a public health crisis. However, the country has not been able to escape the pandemic’s crippling economic impacts. Bhutan, like the rest of the world, is navigating unprecedented challenges and uncharted paths.

Now is the time to rethink and reshape our societies. The COVID-19 crisis presents the countries with a tipping point or a turning point – a unique threat or a unique opportunity. Uncertain and challenging times like these call for bold and groundbreaking ideas to shift to a trajectory of inclusive, sustainable growth, and achieve a climate-resilient recovery.

The Conversation Series- Reimagining Bhutan: Building Forward Better Beyond COVID- by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) aims to spark and bring forth new thinking and groundbreaking ideas that would help shape the future of Bhutan’s development as the country seeks to build forward better during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

The UNDP-BCMD Conversation Series launched on 24th September is a bi-weekly series. It will bring together forward-looking creative minds, thought leaders, practitioners and changemakers for five different panels on themes critical and relevant to shaping Bhutan’s development amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

While the governments and decision makers around the world fight the pandemic day and night, there is a realization that the choices made today, if made well, could be the tipping points that would transform our societies and our planet for the better,” said UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubota.

“Now, the question is how can we turn adversities into opportunities? How can we use the growing sense of urgency as an impetus to push forward bold solutions? I hope that this safe and open platform will allow for an exchange of diverse, innovative, and bold ideas and suggestions that will help shape Bhutan’s recovery pathways.”

The Executive Director of BCMD, Dr. Chencho Lhamu said while saving lives and responding to a complex socio-economic and humanitarian crisis is an urgent priority, it is also a time to set the course for the future—to prepare for recovery and development beyond COVID.

“We need both short and long-term thinking to move forward. This may include reorienting existing programs and policies and harnessing all capabilities and resources available through inclusive partnerships that extend beyond government agencies. We need thoughts, ideas and actions from different sectors to join forces in charting the way forward for our country’s recovery and sustainable development”

The theme for the first Conservation Series was Future of Work, Skills and Education.

Like elsewhere, the pandemic has forced closure of schools, universities and training institutes, disrupting education and learning for students across the country. In terms of workforce, the coronavirus pandemic, through its multidimensional impact, has exposed and amplified the existing vulnerabilities, resulting in job and income losses.

Following the launch of the series, a panel consisting of four members representing the government, private sector and youth, shared their insights on the theme. They discussed key transformational policy choices and investments that can and must be made to build a more resilient and adaptive 21st century workforce.

The upcoming Conversation Series will dsicuss Financing for Development and Future of Economy, Green Recovery, Anticipatory Governance and Social Protection.

 

Contact information:

Ms. Dechen Wangmo, Communications Analyst, UNDP Bhutan, Mobile: +975 1734 3086, Email: dechen.wangmo@undp.org

Ms. Zulkee Choden Rinzin, Assistant Communication Officer, BCMD, Mobile +975 77845 984, Email: zulkeec.rinzin@bcmd.bt

 

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BCMD is a Civil Society Organization based in Thimphu. It works with a cross-section of society on issues that concern youth, environment, society, governance and education, using media as a modus operandi.

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. UNDP Bhutan is part of the 170-country office UNDP network, and offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. UNDP on Twitter | on Facebook | UNDP Bhutan Office

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