Bhutan: UNODC Regional Representative and Prime Minister of Bhutan discuss mutual cooperation and programming to promote health, empower youth and uphold the rule of law

Thimphu, Bhutan/21 October 2023: Over the last several years, the Royal Government of Bhutan’s partnership with UNODC has reflected a commitment to advancing peace, security, and sustainable development in the region.

With specialised training programs, policy advocacy and extensive awareness campaigns,  UNODC has supported the government in strengthening national legal frameworks, enhancing multi-stakeholder responses and built the capacities of law enforcement officials, community leaders, and young people to promote public health, safety and well-being.

Advancing this long-standing partnership, UNODC Regional Representative for South Asia Mr. Marco Teixeira presented his official credentials and held discussions with the Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr. Lotay Tshering in Thimphu. The comprehensive dialogue was focused on strengthening cooperation in the areas of drug use prevention and treatment, drug control, trafficking in persons, youth empowerment and the rule of law.

Mr. Teixeira also briefed the Foreign Minister of Bhutan Dr. Tandi Dorji on recent initiatives to counter Trafficking in Persons in Bhutan, as well as emerging challenges and opportunities in the areas of justice, drugs and health, and well-being of young people—as reflected in Bhutan's commitment to build a peaceful and drug-free society.

UNODC’s recent work in Bhutan has also been instrumental in raising awareness about the issue of Trafficking in Persons and the need for a coordinated response. These training programs have impacted not just the law enforcement officials who participated in them but also the broader community in Bhutan. It has also contributed to the development of a stronger network of stakeholders who are committed to preventing and countering human trafficking in Bhutan.

In February, Bhutan acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

In the spirit of fostering a holistic approach to sustainable development, UNODC also joined UN agencies in Bhutan to support the launch of ‘Football for the Goals’, an initiative led by UN Bhutan and Bhutan Football. This initiative aims to use the universal appeal of football to promote sustainable development goals and create awareness about pressing global issues.

This activity contributed to SDG 3, SDG 4, SDG 5, SDG 16 and SDG 17: