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Monday, February 13, 2012

bhutan will present environment challenges at Rio+20

It has been 20 years since the Rio Convention and this year leaders from around the world will come together at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) also known as Rio+20.

Bhutan will also be participating in the conference and presenting its national report.
The secretary of National Environment Commission (NEC), Dr. Ugyen Tshewang, said as a preparation to Rio+20, a national committee has been formed and NEC has conducted a national preliminary consultation with all the relevant sectors.
He said the Rio+20 preparations will be guided by the overarching sustainable development framework and closely linked to national development processes, plans and strategies and also the challenges in mountain eco-system.
“Rio+20 is being held exactly after 20 years and the main objective is to renew the political commitment for sustainable development, assess the achievements and gaps in the implementation and also look at new emerging challenges,” he said.
He said a stock taking report has been prepared after having consulted with the relevant sectors. “Bhutan will be presenting its national report which will contain its achievements, challenges, policy action plans, priorities and the challenges of the mountain eco-system,” said Dr. Ugyen Tshewang.
The conference will focus on two themes; a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
Dr. Ugyen Tshewang said challenges that Bhutan faces will also be presented at the conference. The challenges include geographic and demographic constrains as Bhutan is a mountainous and landlocked country. Bhutan’s geography poses a major challenge for developing economic infrastructures and access to viable markets.
The lack of access to affordable clean technology and limited capacity also hampers Bhutan’s sustainable development. Other challenges include vulnerabilities to climate change and natural hazards, poverty, skewed population distribution, popular politics and externally dependent economy.
The conference is also expected to bring about various changes. “Some of the expected outcomes of Rio+20 are accessibility to cleaner technologies, climate change financing, international and regional cooperation and partnership,” he said.
It is expected that the developed, industrialized nations will share the burden of the extra costs to access and operate clean technology by the least developed countries, especially those committed to remaining carbon neutral.
The stock taking report states that Bhutan’s vulnerability to climate change is aggravated by its very low capacity, financially and technically, to adapt to climate change effects.
“Bhutan hopes that at Rio+20 the international community will consolidate this commitment and provide concrete directions for the vulnerable countries to access and use international climate funds effectively,” states the report.
It is also anticipated that Rio+20 will strengthen international and regional cooperation and partnerships. “Bhutan is keen to strengthen its relationship with existing development partners as well as form new partnerships to pursue the green economy approach for sustainable development on the lines of the country’s recently formulated EDP2010,” says the report.
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