The mountain kingdom of Bhutan may not seem an obvious place to look for lessons on addressing climate change. But on a recent visit I was impressed with how much this small country has achieved and also with its ambition. Bhutan has much to teach South Asia and the wider world. These lessons are especially relevant as the world negotiates in Paris a new pact on climate change at the International Climate Change Summit, known as COP21, which we all hope will eventually move the global economy to a low carbon and more resilient path. Continue reading Big lessons on climate change from a small country
Bhutan pledged to carbon neutrality
But what is the cost-benefit of a sound environmental policy?
12 December, 2009 – As Bhutan showcased its environmental friendly projects at the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate change conference yesterday, it also made a pledge in Thimphu, by signing a declaration, to follow and be guided by a strong sense of conservation ethics and remain a carbon neutral country.
The declaration calls for global attention to Bhutan’s commitment to preserving its rich eco system and in return is asking for support for its mitigation and adaptation measures to adapt to climate change.
“In spite of our status as a small, mountainous developing country, with so many other pressing social and economic development needs and priorities, we feel that there’s no need greater or more important than keeping the planet safe for life to continue,” states the declaration. “Therefore, we commit ourselves to keep absorbing more carbon than we emit and to maintain our country’s status as a net sink for greenhouse gases (GHG).” Continue reading Bhutan pledged to carbon neutrality
Bhutan to organize first nomadic festival
The first three-day nomadic festival will be held at Wangchuck Centennial Park in Bumthang starting December 26.
Nomads from all over Bhutan will come together dressed in their attires representing their regions and exchange their cultures and traditions.
Hundreds of nomads from Haa, Paro (Soi Yaksa), Thimphu (Naro), Gasa (Laya), Wangduephodrang (Sephu), Bumthang (Chhokhor, Tang, Shingkhar), Trashiyangtse (Bomdeling) and Trashigang (Merak and Sakten)will be participating.
During the three-day festival, various activities like awareness campaign on post-harvest of cordyceps, food safety and hygiene, yak and horse riding competition, yak bull lassoing, yak calf weight guessing and yak milking will be carried out. Traditional sports like dego, khuru, soksum and archery along with traditional songs and dances will be played. Continue reading Bhutan to organize first nomadic festival
Village returns to jungle
Finding life difficult in Khalatsho, once famed for paddy, villagers abandon their homes
|Villagers have to take a treacherous path to Dewathang in the winter months|
28 November, 2009 – Once famous for paddy, the remote village of Khalatsho in Nganglam, Pemagatshel, is on the verge of being submerged by thickets and reverting into jungle once more.
Of its twelve households, only five remain. It has 15 residents, mostly in their forties, including two children, who will be joining school next year.
Thick overgrown bushes covering fallow paddy land, uncultivated for years, are drawing ever closer to the settlements.
Tigers get as close as to their animal sheds and have eaten up seven of their cattle this year alone. Elephants make loud noises at night and devour their maize, the village staple, which is grown twice a year. Continue reading Village returns to jungle
Microfinance policy crucial to alleviate poverty
|Rural credit is crucial in improving lives in the farm|
Bhutan needs to adopt a national policy on micro finance. This was the message at a seminar on creating a suitable environment and regulatory framework for micro financing yesterday.
“There is no national policy at the moment,” said Dr Pema Choephyel, a BDFCL agriculture specialist who spoke at the seminar. With a national policy, Dr Pema told Kuensel, rural poverty alleviation would become more effective and faster. “We’ll be able to focus and target groups critically in need of credits,” he said, “It would also steer us in the right direction on how micro financing actually should be instituted according to international standards.”
More than 20 percent of Bhutan’s population live on less than US$ 1 a day, the threshold considered necessary to maintain an adequate standard of living. The government plans to reduce this poverty rate to less than 15 percent by 2013. Continue reading Microfinance policy crucial to alleviate poverty
The thirsty dzongkhag
Pemagatshel Dzongkhag has put up a proposal to the Gross National Happiness Commission to pipe water all the way from Khaling in Trashigang. Preliminary studies have been conducted on the possibility of piping water from Wamrong but the idea was dropped after finding it unsustainable for long term.
During Lyonchhen’s visit to the dzongkhag in January this year, he said that, since the Khaling stream was said to be receding, there was a need to find a sustainable alternative. He suggested that creating an artificial lake on Oori stream, which is about 1000 m above sea level, for distribution of water to some nearby villages would be a better option. Continue reading The thirsty dzongkhag
Agriculture Ministry returns about five acres land to landowners
The land occupied by the Paro Valley Area Development Project was finally handed over to the landowners today. It was handed over by the Agriculture Minister Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho to the Member of the Parliament from Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuck.
The land was acquired by the Department of Agriculture in 1990 from 13 farmers under Shari geog in Paro to establish the Paro Valley Area Development Project. The Department of Agriculture paid the farmers Nu. 653 per decimal as compensation. But subsequently, attempts to change the land ownership failed due to disputes over the provision of access road to landowners along the project boundary and demarcation and fencing of the land acquired by the project. Continue reading Agriculture Ministry returns about five acres land to landowners
Bhutan warmer and wetter
Meteorological data over the last six years show that Bhutan is becoming warmer.
The nationwide data maintained by meteorology section of the department of energy show an annual increase in temperature and rainfall. They show that, in the last six years, there has been an increasing trend in erratic precipitation and monsoon patterns across the country.
Weather forecast records throughout the country confirm climate change in Bhutan.
In the south, the maximum average temperature in Bhur, Sarpang, has risen from 27.08 degree Celsius in 2003 to 28.49 degree Celsius in 2008. In six years, Bhur has become warmer by 1.41 degree Celsius. The average minimum temperature, which was 17.8 degree Celsius in 2003, has shot up by 0.875 degree Celsius in 2008. Continue reading Bhutan warmer and wetter
Fighting fire with fire
The government of Bhutan is planning to offer discounts on electricity and water to fire volunteers in a new scheme launched in Thimphu yesterday.
The Ministry of Agriculture held a workshop with the theme, “Reducing forest fires through volunteerism” and released guidelines for burning agricultural debris. Agriculture Minister, Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho, issued certificates of appreciation to all the volunteers.
“People think forests are the responsibility of the forest department and the government. They never think they are ours. They belong to all of us. It is our collective responsibility to protect our forests,” he said. Continue reading Fighting fire with fire