Bhutan, a country well known for its environmental conservation efforts, is facing difficulties in implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
This is due to the lack of financial resources and technical expertise, states a report on the implementation of the CBD by International Center for Integrated Mountain Development.
It says that Bhutan is making efforts to protect and manage its biological resources and biodiversity but the lack of financial resources and technical expertise are the main constraints limiting the implementation of the CBD.
These constraints have limited supporting actions for conservation, the sustainable use of resources, and benefit sharing, as well as for identification and monitoring processes.
“Despite these limitations, Bhutan is doing its part by developing and implementing landscape plans, and linking protected areas by establishing biological corridors,” states the report, adding that Bhutan is trying to raise awareness of its biodiversity through various means like media and the school curriculum by establishing nature clubs.
The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international environmental agreement established for the conservation, sustainable use, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits of biological resources. The agreement has been ratified by 193 countries including Bhutan. The implementation started in 1993.
The report also says that Bhutan is attempting to build a satisfactory network of institutions that will provide protection and sustainable development for its biodiversity and is trying to secure international cooperation and technology transfer.
“Bhutan has taken some direct actions to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of the key threats to mountain biodiversity,” states the report.
The report also says that Bhutan’s location gives it abrupt altitudinal variation and diverse ecosystems rich in biodiversity and as a result Bhutan is included in several global priorities for biodiversity conservation.
Countries signatory to the CBD has its own priority on the CBD articles as well as Bhutan.
According to the report, emerging economies like China and India have given high priority to almost all of the articles of the CBD while developing countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan have given medium priority to most of the articles.
“The choices they have made reflect the fact that each country is at a different level with respect to embracing conservation measures,” states the report.
The reports says that efforts aimed at the protection and management of Bhutan’s biological resources and biodiversity are currently under way and in recent years, Bhutan has undertaken specific measures to conserve mountain biodiversity, such as developing corridors to link protected areas.
“The countries in the region have taken direct and supportive actions for conservation, sustainable use, and benefit sharing of mountain biodiversity and are moving in a positive direction,” states the report.
It also says that progressive conservation policies and legislation for management of biological resources in a participatory way have been developed which provide a strong basis for supporting CBD implementation in the region.
Bhutan’s constitution also mandates that at least 60% of forest cover should be kept for all times to come. In addition, nearly 40% of the country is designated as protected area, and an additional 9.5 per cent is set aside as ‘biological corridors’, which are treated as Bhutan Biological Conservation Complexes.
Bhutan currently has 10 protected areas (5 national parks, 4 wildlife reserves, and 1 strict nature reserve), of which 6 are currently operational and 4 will be operational by 2013. In addition, Bhutan has about 13 conservation areas of which two are under effective management and 11 are under some form of intervention.
Bhutan has three distinct eco-zones: alpine, temperate, and temperate conifer and broadleaf forest. Forests cover about 72.5% of the territory. The country harbors 5603 vascular plant species, 667 bird species, 200 species of mammal, 49 species of freshwater fish, and an uncounted number of invertebrates.