Taleb Rifai applauds Bhutan’s sustainability and quality tourism model
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, has expressed his support for the long-term tourism policy of Bhutan, with its focus on sustainability and quality, on an official visit to the country where he met with acting Prime Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba
The Royal Government of Bhutan considers tourism “a window of opportunity for the future of Bhutan” said Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, during his meeting with Mr. Rifai. Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba pointed to tourism’s contribution to the economic security and Gross National Happiness – Bhutan’s measure of wellbeing – of the Bhutanese people. Continue reading UNWTO applauds Gross National Happiness country
Seattle trying to achieve ‘Gross National Happiness’
by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News
Courtesy: King 5 News, Seattle, WA
It’s one of the most isolated nations in the world, nearly a quarter of the population lives in poverty and they’ve only had television for twelve years. So why are the people of Bhutan so happy, and why does the City of Seattle want us to be more like them? Continue reading US City takes cue from Bhutan
Tunnel Proposal:Technical and possible financial help from Norway
Department of geology and mines (DGM) identified tunnel sites
Travel time within the country could be reduced from days to hours and even minutes if a government plan to build tunnels through mountains connecting major valleys is implemented.
The department of geology and mines (DGM) has already identified three potential sites for tunnels. The first and most probable is a tunnel from Thimphu to either Punakha or Wangduephodrang.
The second is a 12 km tunnel between Bumthang and Mongar bypassing the Thrimshingla pass, which is expected to cut 30 km of travelling distance on the East-West highway. The third is from Khasadrapchu in Thimphu to Shaba in Paro, with a tunnel length of nine kilometers, reducing travel time from 45 to 20 minutes.
Pre-feasibility studies have already been done by DGM, indicating that they can be done. “The Wangdue/Punakha tunnels can decongest Thimphu and allow people to settle in these two valleys and also reduce the travel distance and time by around 40 km,” said DGM chief geologist, Ugyen Wangda. Continue reading Decongesting Thimphu
Though severely indebted, Bhutan is at a moderate risk of distress
13 December, 2009 – Bhutan is paying Nu 3.8 billion annually to service an outstanding debt of Nu 35b as of October this year, which is five billion less than the cost of the 1020 MW Tala project.
The debt, as a percentage of GDP, is 53 percent with hydropower debt at Nu 21.5b and non-hydropower debt at Nu 13.5b.
The debt figures do not take into account the Rs 5b borrowed this year from India to meet domestic rupee requirements, said Tshewang Norbu of the finance ministry. who made a presentation of the debt situation at a national workshop on strengthening responses to the global financial crisis. Continue reading Is Bhutan’s debt sustainable?
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
Today, the Royal Government of Bhutan makes a pledge – to significantly improve gross national happiness of its population by delivering to its citizens social and economic growth over the 10th plan period. This initiative is specifically aimed at generating respectful employment for 75,000 people, transforming delivery of public services like education and healthcare while institutionalizing a culture of good governance. Continue reading Performance Compact signing by Ministries
… that showcases the possibilities however challenged persons may be
SPECIAL PEOPLE, SIMPLE NEEDS: Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel LSS spells it out.
International Disability Day 4 December, 2009 – In response to a question on what is the most important help he needed from the government, Ugyen Wangdi, a hearing impaired student of Drugyel lower secondary school wrote: “Books, pencil, paper, pen,” on a small green-board, pinned with a banner that read ‘Communicate through Reading and Writing’.
Ugyen Wangdi was part of an exhibition held yesterday to showcase the abilities of the mentally and physically challenged, as Bhutan observed International Day for Persons with Disabilities with the theme: Realising the millennium development goals for all.
The exhibition, held in the courtyard of the Druk Tashi Taj hotel, the only venue in the capital city with basic accessibility for the physically challenged, also had on display knitted weaves, woodcarvings, embroidery, artwork and a host of other items made by people with special needs. Continue reading An exhibition of abilities…
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.”
When sentiment clashes with common sense, something’s got to give
Environment : Part III September, 2009 – Bhutan’s verdant forests, whose coverage the Constitution mandates should not be less than 60 percent for all time to come, is under tremendous pressure from the soaring demand for prayer flags that dot the country’s hills and valleys.
Although no studies have been carried out on the impact on the forest by felling trees for flag posts, statistics with the department of forest show that thousands of trees are felled every year to meet this demand.Between June 2007 to 2008, Bhutan felled 60,178 trees, or about 165 trees every day, to meet the demand for poles, of which demand for flag posts is the highest. This excludes the 550 trees felled daily for other uses. Continue reading The prayer flag and the forest
Project Hope Not just a helping hand but also a bridge back to mainstream society
The National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), with support from Save The Children fund (SCF) will set up Bhutan’s first transitional shelter for children, who are homeless, abused, neglected, emotionally disturbed or face other difficult circumstances.
Called ‘Project Hope – putting children first’, the need for such a shelter, NCWC officials said, was felt after seeing increasing numbers of children begging in different parts of Thimphu and boys and girls being exploited as cheap labour.
For instance, about 15 boys, some as young as five years, at the Thimphu crematorium, beg daily or dive into the river to pick up money thrown with cremation ashes. Some of these boys live in the neighbourhood, while others are orphans, who seek refuge with their relatives at night.
There is also an increasing number of children begging at the vegetable market on weekends, say Thimphu residents.