Bhutan seeks UNODC cooperation on emerging cross border challenges, trafficking and drug abuse


16 March 2017 - On the invitation of the Royal Government of Bhutan, Mr. Sergey Kapinos, UNODC Representative for South Asia visited Thimphu to attend the 13th Round Table Meeting (RTM) held on March 15-16, 2017. The international community, particularly the UN expressed appreciation for Bhutan's GNH approach and early integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the national planning framework. They also noted Bhutan's socio-economic achievements while also acknowledging important challenges that remained, some of which included emerging new threats linked with UNODC mandates. The event came to a successful close with development partners, including UNODC, reaffirming their commitment and support to Bhutan's development.

As part of his maiden visit to Bhutan as the UNODC Representative for South Asia, Mr. Kapinos presented his credentials to the Foreign Minister H.E. L. Damcho Dorji. The Foreign Minister promised to consider the ratification by Bhutan of the UNTOC and its supplementary protocols. He also welcomed the development of a new UNODC Regional Programme for 2018-2021 and a Regional Threat Assessment and requested to reflect the priorities and concerns of his country in these documents. The head of Bhutanese diplomacy outlined the priority areas of cooperation with UNODC, including emerging cross border challenges, trafficking and drug abuse.

Mr. Kapinos also met with Home Minister H.E. L. Dawa Gyeltshen, the Chief of Police, the Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, the Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Director-General of the Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA), the Director of the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and the Executive Director of RENEW (NGO network) to explore potential new project ideas. All the Bhutanese interlocutors were very positive on cooperation with UNODC and look forward to its furthering.