As the 17th Conference of parties (COP17) approaches, the National Environment Commission’s Secretary, Dr. Ugyen Tshewang, who will be participating at the summit, talks to Business Bhutan’s Dawa T Wangchuk on Bhutan’s stand.
Q. What will Bhutan present during the upcoming COP17?
We will be submitting our Second National Communication Report which contains our priorities and concerns of actions and unless we send this message through, it will be difficult for us to mobilize international support to fund our actions against climate change.
Q. Will Bhutan be lobbying for financial support from the developed countries?
Well, we will make our position very clear. Our position in the sense that, our conservation efforts, protection of our environment, the policies regarding mitigations measures, the adaptive actions that we undertake to fight climate change will be presented. This will be the base line for us to make it very clear at COP17. Our Second National Communication report itself will speak out the volumes about Bhutan’s environmental policies and our actions and priorities.
Q. Will the issue of green funds which were already promised but never mobilized be brought up?
Based on the National communication reports that will be submitted by most of the developing countries, they will review it and then we expect that there will an endorsement for climate financing.
Q. What do you think different will happen at this summit?
Well, it has been quite progressive so far in terms of negotiations beginning from COP15 which was considered not a very successful COP. But at the same time we would say that many lessons were learnt during COP15. For Bhutan it was historic because Bhutan made a very bold statement saying that we will maintain a carbon neutral policy. We have shown some leadership in this regard. And during COP16 in Mexico there were significant progress, in terms of negotiations, in terms of emission cuts, and other actions to be taken.
Q. Do you think the summit will be able to seal the deal this time?
I cannot say anything just now. I will be starting my participation only on the 27th of this month and will go on till the 10th of December. It will depend on the high level segment meet during COP17 which is on December 6. The high level segment meeting where our agriculture minister, Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho, will also participate will come out with the concrete decision.
Q. Bhutan presented the common SAARC stand at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, how did the common SAARC position really benefit Bhutan?
Well, the common position of SAARC during COP16 was presented by Bhutan as Bhutan being the chair. We had considered all the views and the proposals of the member countries. However, it is yet to be reviewed how effective it was.
Q. The ninth SAARC environment ministers meet held in Thimphu last October saw the member countries agreeing to come up with one position. Will there be a common SAARC position this year also?
There will be a common position of SAARC presented at COP17. This will be presented by the Maldives this year as they are now the Chair for SAARC.