At today’s event ‘Call for Action’ several leading institutions - the Royal Monetary Authority, Tourism Council of Bhutan, the Bank of Bhutan, Thimphu Thromde and Bhutan Ecological made commitments to climate action, supporting Bhutan’s raised climate ambition of remaining carbon neutral for all times.
The central bank and Bank of Bhutan pledged to green their sector through green financial products and services. The Thimphu Thromde committed to transforming the capital into a greener, sustainable and resilient city, while the Tourism Council of Bhutan pledged to pursue their vision of promoting a green, sustainable and inclusive tourism. The Bhutan Ecological Society pledged to revive about 5,000 hectares of fallow land across the country for food security, and also plant a million trees among other commitments.
The Climate Series, which started in May coinciding with the International Day for Biological Diversity was organized jointly by the National Environment Commission, Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan Foundation, United Nation Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), WWF Bhutan and UNDP.
The collaboration was aimed at bringing climate issues to the forefront, to shape collective consciousness for actions that can translate into climate wins, not just for Bhutan, but for the world. The events were organized in the run-up to the United Nation Conferences of Parties (COP26) to be held in Glasgow from 31October – 12 Nov 2021.
Bhutan’s Climate Promise made as part of the Paris Agreement is only strengthened with the country’s commitment to raise climate ambition with the formulation of 2nd Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and the first National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Tandi Dorji, who graced the closing event ‘Call for Climate Action’ as the chief guest said, “Climate change is not bound by geographical boundaries and as such countries like ours who had little to no contribution towards this global change are also severely impacted.”
He said it posed risks to the fiscal position of governments, the viability of businesses and the living standards of individuals.” As such, the effects of climate change are not merely an ecological problem for scientists and conservationists to worry about, but also consist of larger socio-economic transformations,” he said.
Lyonpo Tandi Dorji, who is also the Chair of National Environment Commission said that climate action can only be successful with the engagement of different stakeholders at various levels.
“The private sector engagement is essential for multiple reasons. It can mobilize financial resources and technical capabilities, develop innovative climate services and leverage the efforts of governments in working towards a green and resilient economy.”
The UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubotasaid thatBhutan has already achieved net zero emission and is a leading example to other countries through its ambitious target for greenhouse gas emission reduction put forward in the second NDC to the Paris Agreement.
However, she said, studies that provided basis for the second NDC clearly indicated that Bhutan must not remain complacent. “If Bhutan continues business as usual, by 2035, its carbon emission will exceed its sink capacity, she said. “Bhutan needs to make advancements towards a low carbon and resilient development pathway to maintain its carbon neutral status for all times. And the private sector engagement is essential, and we must promote innovation and clean and green technology.”
In view of this, Azusa Kubota said that it is encouraging that tonight, government agencies, financial institutes and CSOs are pledging towards greening their initiatives and operations that concrete contribute to the NDC.
The Climate Action Week (25-29 October) had a mix of academic seminars, panel discussions, university and school student engagement (through exhibitions and competitions) and showcasing of climate solutions through the engagement of prominent private players within the climate change arena.
Winners of the ‘Youth for Climate’ and ‘Dear World Leaders’ video challenges were also declared during the closing event.
In the Dear World Leaders category Jitshen Wangmo Dorji of Phuntshothang MSS won the first prize, followed by Kinley Yeshi Sithup of Sarpang MSS. Kuenga Wangchuk of Dawakha LSS won the third prize.
As part of the Climate Action Week, two expeditions to Lunana and Jomolhari were organized. The two teams comprised tour guides, tourism official, forest and environmental officials, journalist and social media influencers. They shared their experiences and findings during the ‘Witness to Warming’ event organized on 28 October.
Four college proposals, to organize events in their college for advocacy and awareness works on climate mitigation, adaptation, and nature-based solutions, were also supported as part of the Climate Series.