UNDP Resident Representative Gerald Daly talks to the Bhutanese media

UN agencies to work closely with media for better development

United Nations (UN) Bhutan organized a two-day UN Media Workshop in Paro where media house representatives were familiarized with the role of the UN, especially of its 8 agencies; FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNODC, UNWomen, WFP and WHO, in Bhutan.There was also a session on the role of media in realizing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The aims and objective of the workshop is also to strengthen the understanding between the journalist and UN.

UN Resident Coordinator,Gerald Daly, said that over the next five years, UN Bhutan is projected to bring a fund of USD 120 million for its various work in Bhutan. He said that UN has to make sure that it isaccountable to the people. Therefore, UN is deliberately linking with the media to get a better message out.

“We know, we make mistakes and it is impossible to hide the mistakes in the modern world because of social media. However, if we have transparent relationship with the media. There is quite a high level of trust,”the UN Resident Coordinator said.

He said that the UN aims to build a better network between journalists and the UN agencies for the better development and to strengthen its relationship with the media on the whole. He added that if UN’s good work is highlighted then it helps to attract additional resources in the country.

“Media in Bhutan plays a transforming and socializing role in development and are important in deepening the democratic roots of the society,” he said,  “Media is what I call a fourth estate of society and people are significantly influenced by the work done by the media. We believe in capacity building for the media as we see an educated public as a key element in self-reliance.”

According to the UN, the workshop is an example of their commitment in capacity building, and in addition, the UN will insert a new category of Best Story for Development in the Annual Journalism Award. He also said that the UN strives towards transformative development so as to ensure that no one is left behind.

Citing an example, he said that artificial intelligence and robots are already being promoted actively in a large number of countries. “So how do we want to anticipate the challenges of robots? And what are the solutions that are being used?” he questioned. He said some people say this is development.“However, it is much more than a development. It is how a society wants to have a vision for the future,” he said, He said as a part of that vision, the UN will look for an area to focus and make sure that there are resourcesfor making a successful future.

He said, “Even as there is economic growth, what are the smart ways to look after the most vulnerable?He said the UN wants to figure out the smartest ways so that the economic growth or goalis spread evenly to the people.

Meanwhile, he said that smart development has to combine the mind and the heart.He said the UN launched a project where they will bring in 200 electric vehicles in the country. “This makes so much sense,” he said, “We can use our own electricity and let’s make sure that we don’t waste foreign resources by importing oil from the middle-east. We can also reduce the pollution rate and the project will also help the Bhutanese private sector and the taxi drivers.”If the project is a success in Thimphu, then it will be replicated in the other dzongkhags as well.

As for the 17 SDGs, Gerald Daly said the involvement of the private sector is necessary to achieve the 17 SDGs and four pillars of GNH.

The two-day workshop is expected to help build journalism skills in development reporting, reflect on the role of the media in development journalismand build network with the UN Communications Group and other representatives of the UN in Bhutan.

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