The 15th Round Table Meeting (RTM) between the government and development partners took place on 2 September to review the progress and implementation of the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP).
The RTM updated on the progress of the 12th FYP, and informed about the country’s macroeconomic performance and outlook. It also shared the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and response measures of the government.
A total of 146 participants, of which 94 are representatives of development partners and 52 national participants attended the RTM.
Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), Thinley Namgyel, said that many adjustments have been going on in a daily basis with the partners in Thimphu, especially after the detection of the first COVID-19 case in 2020.
“Lots of partnerships with our development partners are aligned to the 12th FYP. Irrespective of graduation from LDCs, European Union (EU) will continue to support, and we have already started working, in terms of next phase of support, that is from 2021 to 2027,” he added.
EU has committed a fund support of 31 million (mn) Euros from 2021 to 2024. With EU, Bhutan has five years cooperation, which actually concludes in 2020, but some of the activities are still ongoing.
From within the country, Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation has committed a fund of USD 1.5 mn. The support was to overcome the deficit that the government has faced in this fiscal year.
They are quite satisfied with the progress Bhutan has made in 12th FYP despite the difficulties, he added.
He said many development activities have to depend on India, which impacts the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said the aim is for the economy to make a recovery over the next two to three years.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that knowing the impact of the pandemic on country’s economy, Bhutan has shared the challenges and way forward to revamp country’s economy to the development partners.
Lyonpo said, “Bhutan will graduate from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2023, however, we worry on how it will go due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, we informed our development partners on our focus on how to graduate in a sustainable manner.”
All the development partners have appreciated the actions taken by the government and by His Majesty The King, in terms of the Kidu Relief, which has allowed many unemployed people to continue to engage, Lyonpo said.
During 15th RTM, the partners shared their views on where to reprioritize, on new areas of funding, and they have identified new areas of partnerships.
Lyonpo said, “We have reprioritized a few projects, and we are working on it.”