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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

global environment body gives green signal to bhutan to host the world environment day

Bhutan is in the spotlight for its conservation efforts and sound environment policies but is Bhutan ready to host the global event?
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) says Bhutan will be an ideal place to host the global World Environment Day (WED) in the coming years.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, the Under Secretary General of the United Nations and the chief of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Mr. Achim Steiner, said Bhutan would be a perfect place to host the event.
“I think UNEP will be honored and would be very pleased to do so because we consider Bhutan an inspiration not only in Asia but also to the world,” he said.
But this can only happen if Bhutan offers to host the event.  The officiating secretary of the National Environment Commission (NEC), G.K Chhopel, said that it is a good idea to host the WED.
“It would make sense to host the global world environment day in Bhutan looking at the conservation efforts that Bhutan is putting in place,” said G.K Chhopel.
However, there are logistical issues that Bhutan should look into before offering to host an event of such magnitude. For example, questions like whether Bhutan will be able to accommodate a large number of people from outside the country needs to be answered.
Mr. Achim Steiner said that the transition to a green economy is what Bhutan is doing at the moment.
“When we talk about the transition to a green economy, we are also talking about what His Majesty the King and Bhutan is doing when he talks about Gross National Happiness, when he talks about the idea that the current generation must hand over the world to the next generation in a good if not a better state,” he said.
He said that people often look at development only in terms of infrastructure (building, roads, bridges and railways) and that the ecological infrastructure of country is as important as its wealth.
“Forests are not only tree standing in a landscape, they are service to the society, they allow us to manage our water resources, they allow us to retain biodiversity and I think Bhutan’s decision is in a sense of recognition of the value of forest,” said Mr. Achim Steiner.
He also said there is a realization in Bhutan about what environment is really about and also the realization of the theme of this year’s WED, ‘Forest: Nature at your service.’
“Bhutan has taken some of the most inspiring decisions and leadership in this field and UNEP continues to be friend and an admirer of Bhutan,” said Mr. Achim Steiner.
The World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to create awareness on environment and to enhance political attention and public action.
WED, launched in 1973, is hosted every year by a different country with a different theme.
This year the World Environment Day was hosted by India for the first time .


  1. Great!!!
    Logistics has always been a scapegoat for Bhutan's top officials when any opportunities strike. If we ponder upon it, i guess it won't be a problem if things are organized during the lean tourist season.
    If logistics was a problem, we were successful in organizing the SAARC meeting in Thimphu and quite a good number of conferences and seminar. For information, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute (where I am working) will be hosting world ethnobiological congress in 2014 and in November, 2011, we will be hosting Climate Summit for living Himalayas, where we will have leaders from Bangladesh, Nepal and India.
    My point is, instead of trying to blame on logistical issues, i think concerned leaders should give a green signal and move ahead. Such an act would make Bhutan known to the world.

  2. Yes Sangay,
    I agree with you. Recently I was in Delhi for the WED and met the UNEP chief. I asked him if Bhutan would be given a chance to host the event and he immediately said yes! to it. and now the only thing left is for our Bhutanese officials to offer the UNEP to host this event. but when...