Bhutan Addressed Climate Change Concerns With Foreign Delegates At The 14th Round Table Meeting

Email

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering said at the Round Table Meeting that climate change is real and efforts must be made to reduce its impact.

(Source: Facebook/Wind of Fortune)

 

By Sonam Yangdon The Bhutanese

During the inaugural ceremony of the 14th Round Table Meeting (RTM) held in Thimphu from 12-14 March, Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering reiterated that climate change is real and efforts must be made to reduce its impact, given Bhutan’s vulnerability.

Similarly, discussions and commitments from Bhutan’s developing partners and donors during the 2-day long Round Table Meeting revolved around climate change and the need for climate financing to realise the theme of the event - Enhancing happiness and sustainable development through partnerships.

Impact of Climate change on Bhutan’s eligibility to graduate from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status

In this regard, the government informed the partners and donors that in order to ensure that Bhutan’s developmental achievements are not put off-track by the adverse impacts of climate change, priority will be given to build national and innovative capacity to understand climate change pathways more intricately among the sectors.

There are also plans in the pipeline to develop local solutions and to secure the investments required to deal with climate change impacts.

 

 

During the 14th Round Table Meeting hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan held from 12-14 March 2019 in Thimphu, a panel discussion on Gross National Happiness was conducted. The lively discussion was moderated by Dasho Karma Tshiteem, Chairperson of the Royal Civil Service Commission.

Source: Youtube/14th RTM

 

For a country to be eligible for graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status, the graduation threshold for two out of three LDC identification criteria must be met. The criteria are: Per capita Gross National Income (GNI), the Human Assets Index (HAI), and Economic Vulnerability Index.

While Bhutan has already met the two identified criteria (GNI and HAI) consecutively during the two triennial meetings, it has not fulfilled the Economic Vulnerability Index. To make it more challenging, climate change poses a great threat in achieving EVI.

Why is Bhutan so susceptible to the adverse impact of Climate change?

Thinley Namgyel, the Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission presented that Bhutan’s economic vulnerabilities are increased even more due to its special vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change.

“Despite its sustainable development approach, events such as glacial lake outburst floods, flash floods, landslides, windstorms, forest fires, extreme drought and severe fluctuations in seasonal weather patterns pose looming threats for its highly nature-dependent livelihoods and its hydropower and agricultural-based economy.”

Thinley Namgyel informed the delegates that Bhutan has 677 glaciers and 2794 glacial lakes. The country has experienced 21 glacial Lake Outburst floods in the last 2 centuries, of which 4 outbursts have been reported in the last forty years.

 

The biggest climate related threat in Bhutan is the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF). GLOF takes place in heavily glaciered mountain regions and are triggered by natural forces, such as heavy rains, landslides, avalanches and earthquakes. The government has initiated numerous structural measures to reduce the possibility of future GLOF incidents. Measures such as draining of lake levels, installation of early warning systems, and building river protection embankments have been initiated.

Photo: ICIMOD

 

Bhutan also lies in the seismic zone IV and V which makes the country susceptible to earthquakes.

Speaking at the RTM during a panel discussion on climate and disaster resilient development, the agriculture minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said that the climate change impacts in the country are evident from the invasive plants and pests found – a recent phenomenon.

Bhutan takes constructive steps to address the impact of Climate change

“Bhutan which is highly dependent on agriculture, hydropower for revenue generation, and limited landlocked economic transition, is challenged by the climate change impacts. We have tried our best to set an example to the world and placed high importance to address the impacts of climate change. The policies and laws, including the 12th Five Year Plan, are all set for low emission climate resilient development,” said Lyonpo Yeshey.

He added that framing such laws and policies to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the country comes with a cost - extra efforts and foregoing numerous economic opportunities.

In addition, Bhutan’s policies will have to go through its Gross National Happiness policy screening tool which is very environmentally-sensitive. Therefore, with such stringent policies in place, it impedes the country’s economic growth.

Some of the challenges Bhutan face in addressing climate change issues in the country include: limited technical know-how, financial constraints and limited human capacity among others.

After a clear-cut presentation on Bhutan’s economic vulnerability due to climate change and the devastating impacts it can have on the country, many donors and partners re-affirmed their support.

New investment avenues can be explored in addition to the existing partnerships to enhance mitigation efforts and to ensure sustainable development under the Gross National Happiness philosophy.

“Our pursuit of socio-economic development is delicately balanced with a strong focus on environmental conservation. We are too small in physical size to make any impact globally when it comes to climate change measures. In this regard, Bhutan requires the support of the international community, as the impacts of climate change have no physical boundaries,” the Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering appealed to the delegates.

 

This article first appeared in The Bhutanese and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

'Bhutan Dialogues' Goes Global To Discuss Issues Concerning...

Bhutan Dialogues is a forum where leaders and change-makers can talk about policies, issues, challenges and solutions...

Feb 22, 2019 23:01

Climate Across Curriculum - Teaching Materials Developed In...

Though resources developed at the workshop are based on local context, it can be accessed by teachers all over the...

Feb 20, 2019 14:45

Students From Remote Lunana Learned Skills Such As Aikido,...

The winter camp included educational programs, arts and crafts, games and sports events.

Jan 20, 2019 07:44

One Third Of The Hindu Kush Himalayan Glaciers Could Melt By End...

Bhutan will see a rise in temperature higher than the regional average of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

Feb 13, 2019 17:56

Orange Trees Climb Higher in Bhutan with Climate Change

“Since the upper altitude regions are bearing more oranges than lower altitude regions, we believe it’s due to the...

Mar 25, 2018 21:13

Carbon Negative Bhutan Strives To Maintain Its Status As The...

The mountainous state absorbs three times more carbon dioxide than it emits, thanks mainly to the lush forests covering...

Oct 12, 2018 17:36

Latest

News

Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was sufficient to support...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other rights of women and girls

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable positions, burdening them...

May 12, 2020 16:46

Features

One of the Inspiring Bhutanese Artists to Watch This Summer- Pema Gyeltshen

Pema is a rising artists producing paintings with diverse theme including region, tradition, culture, everday life, abstracts and self...

May 29, 2020 17:20

Haa- Home of Ap Chundu, the omnipresent local guardian deity

Haa is one of the smallest districts in the country and is highlighted by the Wang chu Lo Dzong which is the administrative centre of the...

May 20, 2020 18:24

Sports

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Business

Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 06, 2020 11:48

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58

Travel

Wangdue Phodrang - The gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan

Known as Sha or east to the Bhutanese, Wangduephodrang district is an important gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan. The region, the...

May 27, 2020 08:47

Reasons Why Dagala Trek is Every Trekkers Dream

May 13, 2020 11:30

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!