NA de­fers rat­i­fi­ca­tion of mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ment on in­ter­na­tional think tank

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Dechen Dolkar from Thim­phu

The mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ment for the es­tab­lish­ment of an In­ter­na­tional Think Tank (ITT) for Land­locked Devel­op­ing Coun­tries (LLDC), which was pre­sented to the Na­tional Assem­bly on Wed­nes­day, was de­ferred to the third read­ing due to lack of clar­ity on the mat­ter.

For­eign Min­is­ter Dam­cho Dorji pre­sented the agree­ment say­ing that Bhutan had much to gain by rat­i­fy­ing it.

How­ever, the house de­cided to post­pone it since the two doc­u­ments, Al­maty Pro­gram of Ac­tion and Vi­enna Pro­gram of Ac­tion, which ex­plains the think tank’s ori­gin and en­dorse­ment were not shared with the Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MP).

While some of the MPs ex­pressed that the con­ven­tion is im­por­tant for the coun­try, they felt the need to first go through the two doc­u­ments.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Dr Pema Gyamt­sho said that to join as mem­ber coun­try, the ex­pen­di­ture also needed to be taken into ac­count, which as of now, is un­clear.

“But it is ur­gent that we be­come a mem­ber,” he said.

The pe­ti­tion for mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ment for es­tab­lish­ment of ITT for LLDC was pre­sented from Novem­ber 1, 2010-Oc­to­ber 31, 2011. This agree­ment is essential to for­mally es­tab­lish ITT.

Ly­onpo Dam­cho Dorji said that presently, nine coun­tries have signed and seven oth­ers have rat­i­fied and ap­proved the agree­ment.

“The think tank will ben­e­fit Bhutan and other LLDCs by un­der­tak­ing con­crete an­a­lyt­i­cal stud­ies on LLDCs re­lated is­sues,” he added.

An­other ad­van­tage, ac­cord­ing to Ly­onpo Dam­cho Dorji, is that Bhutan can look at ex­change of schol­ars and re­searchers be­tween the think tank and na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the cen­ter for Bhutan stud­ies and GNH re­search, the Royal In­sti­tute for Gov­er­nance and Strate­gic Stud­ies, and other in­sti­tutes and ini­tia­tives that may be launched in the coun­try in fu­ture.

As a mem­ber, Bhutan will also have the op­tion of serv­ing on ITT’s board of Gov­er­nors and Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil. This will en­able gov­ern­ment to guide ITT on steer­ing re­search and pol­icy pri­or­i­ties.

The over­all goal of ITT is to use top-qual­ity re­search and ad­vo­cacy to im­prove the abil­ity of LLDC to build ca­pac­ity with a view to ben­e­fit­ing from in­ter­na­tional trade in­clud­ing the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO) ne­go­ti­a­tions; the ul­ti­mate aim be­ing hu­man de­vel­op­ment and re­duc­ing poverty.

Min­istries and agen­cies will par­tic­i­pate and con­trib­ute to the works of the think tank as spec­i­fied in the mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ment per­tain­ing to their re­spec­tive ar­eas of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

The UN sec­re­tary Gen­eral and then Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs of Mon­go­lia of­fi­cially launched the ITT in Ulaan­baatar, Mon­go­lia in July 2009. The UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in its res­o­lu­tion wel­comed the es­tab­lish­ment of ITT. It was fur­ther en­dorsed by the Vi­enna Pro­gram of Ac­tion for land­locked devel­op­ing coun­tries in 2014.

The idea of es­tab­lish­ing a think tank for land­locked devel­op­ing coun­tries orig­i­nated at an LLDC Min­is­te­rial con­fer­ence held in Al­maty, Kaza­khas­tan in 2003. The idea be­came Mon­go­lia’s ini­tia­tive af­ter the Pres­i­dent of Mon­go­lia pro­posed for es­tab­lish­ing an ITT in an LLDC cap­i­tal at a meet­ing of LLDC heads of states in Ha­vana in 2006.

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