Excellencies, distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honour to represent UN ESCAP at this ground-breaking ceremony for the United Nations Park, established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership in the United Nations.
Built under the wisdom and vision of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, the United Nations Park will perhaps be the first open public space in the country that is fully inclusive and accessible to all people, including persons with disabilities.
It also incorporates elements of environmental sustainability and thus contributes to the realization of several Sustainable Development Goals.
ESCAP is honoured to partner with the Royal Government of Bhutan and other members of the United Nations in the development of this park.
In addition to providing financial support, we are also happy to have provided advisory services on integrating accessibility and disability-inclusive features to the design of the park.
We hope that once the development of the United Nations Park and its surrounding areas are complete, it will become a living demonstration that embodies the principles of inclusive and sustainable development and inspire the development of other disability-inclusive and environmentally friendly public spaces in Bhutan and other countries.
Our longstanding partnership with Bhutan has borne much fruit: from graduation from least developed country status and generating financing for development to building the capacities of women entrepreneurs to benefit from e-commerce and mapping the green energy future of the Kingdom.
Bhutan also is one of the 15 government members of ESCAP’s Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022.
The Working Group has the mandate to provide advice and support to all ESCAP members and associate members in promoting disability rights and inclusion through the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.
With this embodiment of the multiple dimensions of sustainable and inclusive development, United Nations Park raises our ESCAP-Bhutan engagement to an even higher level.
We hope that our assistance, in some small measure, will help Bhutan achieve its sustainable development objectives as well as its happiness index targets.
Moving ahead, I would like to reiterate that ESCAP stands ready to partner with the Government in promoting inclusive, resilient and sustainable development for all.
Thank you very much, and my warmest congratulations once again.