HM Gyalt­suen Graces Com­mem­o­ra­tion of World Ozone Day

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Staff Re­porter

16 Septem­ber 2016: Her Majesty The Gyalt­suen graced the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the World Ozone Day in Thim­phu. Dur­ing the event, the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sion launched their guide­lines for paper­less of­fices, and the World Wildlife Fund Bhutan re­leased a re­port on Wa­ter out­lin­ing risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties for devel­op­ment. Stu­dents from var­i­ous schools in Thim­phu par­tic­i­pated in the event. Be­sides be­ing the UNEP Ozone Am­bas­sador, Her Majesty also works closely with var­i­ous en­vi­ron­ment agen­cies and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Her Majesty the Gyalt­suen, the Ozone Am­bas­sador graced the oc­ca­sion on the 16th of Sept, var­i­ous min­istries, agen­cies and schools par­tic­i­pated at the event.

The Vi­enna Con­ven­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of the Ozone layer is an in­ter­na­tional treaty that ad­dresses the de­ple­tion of Ozone layer by grad­u­ally phas­ing out the use of Ozone De­plet­ing Sub­stances

One of the suc­cesses of this treaty is that all 197 coun­tries (in­clud­ing all UN states) have rat­i­fied this treaty and there­fore are com­mit­ted to­wards pro­tec­tion of the ozone layer by phas­ing out the Ozone De­plet­ing Sub­stances. As a re­sult of con­certed col­lec­tive ef­forts, the ozone layer is heal­ing and is ex­pected to re­cover by the mid­dle of this cen­tury.

Bhutan be­came the party to the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Ozone Layer in 2004. Bhutan has suc­cess­fully phased-out Chlo­roflu­o­ro­car­bon (CFC) in 2010 which is an Ozone De­plet­ing Sub­stances and is on track in phas­ing out the Hy­drochlo­roflu­o­ro­car­bon (HCFC).

The phase out of ozone de­plet­ing sub­stances and the re­lated re­duc­tions have not only helped pro­tect the ozone layer for this and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, but have also con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to global ef­forts to ad­dress Cli­mate Change. The theme for the 2016 In­ter­na­tional Day for the Preser­va­tion of the Ozone Layer is: Ozone and cli­mate: Re­stored by a world united: Work­ing to­wards re­duc­ing glob­al­warm­ing HFCs un­der the Mon­treal Pro­to­col.

The theme rec­og­nizes the col­lec­tive ef­forts of the coun­tries around the world to­wards the restora­tion of the ozone layer over the past three decades and the global com­mit­ment to com­bat cli­mate change.

In ad­di­tion, the Mon­treal Pro­to­col on Sub­stances that De­plete the Ozone Layer has sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to the mit­i­ga­tion of cli­mate change by avert­ing the emis­sion of more than 135 bil­lion tonnes of car­bon diox­ide equiv­a­lent into the at­mos­phere by sim­ply phas­ing out Ozone De­plet­ing Sub­stances.

On the Ozone day two doc­u­ments is to be launched namely the guide­line for In­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing Paper­less Op­er­a­tions in Gov­ern­ment Of­fices 2016 and wa­ter Risk Sce­nar­ios and Op­por­tu­ni­ties for Re­silient Devel­op­ment

Guide­line for In­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing Paper­less Op­er­a­tions in Gov­ern­ment Of­fices 2016

The Guide­line for In­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing Paper­less Op­er­a­tions in Gov­ern­ment Of­fices 2016 aims to pro­vide gen­eral and spe­cific tips and rec­om­men­da­tions for de­ploy­ing paper­less ini­tia­tives across the of­fices of the Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan. The guide­line is based on the Life Cy­cle As­sess­ment done in three of­fices of Cabi­net Sec­re­tar­iat, DITT, MoIC and NECS and also a study con­ducted by the Depart­ment of Na­tional Prop­er­ties in 18 gov­ern­ment of­fices in 2013.

The Stud­ies show that go­ing paper­less can save money, boost pro­duc­tiv­ity, save space, make doc­u­men­ta­tion and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing eas­ier, keep personal in­for­ma­tion more se­cure, and help the en­vi­ron­ment. From an en­vi­ron­men­tal point of view, paper­less ini­tia­tives will re­sult in a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment on both cli­mate change and emis­sion of tox­ins into wa­ter.

In keep­ing with the stud­ies and the find­ings, the adop­tion of a paper­less of­fice op­er­a­tion in gov­ern­ment of­fices is seen as timely on en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nom­i­cal and sus­tain­abil­ity di­men­sions. The Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sion ap­proved this guide­line dur­ing its 43rd Meet­ing held on Au­gust 6, 2016. The guide­line comes into ef­fect on 31st Septem­ber 2016.

Wa­ter Risk Sce­nar­ios and Op­por­tu­ni­ties for Re­silient Devel­op­ment

A unique 18-month process that brought to­gether ex­perts, de­ci­sion mak­ers and stake­hold­ers since Novem­ber 2014 to un­der­stand cur­rent and fu­ture risks to Bhutan’s wa­ter re­sources - the nat­u­ral cap­i­tal most crit­i­cal to the coun­try’s econ­omy - has come to fruition.

The re­port is a prod­uct of the first-ever ex­er­cise in Bhutan to not only high­light the role of freshwater in the coun­try’s econ­omy, but also ex­plore mul­ti­ple sce­nar­ios for how key wa­ter-re­liant sec­tors could evolve over the next two decades (through ap­prox­i­mately 2035) and the im­pli­ca­tions, trade­offs, risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties to ad­dress or man­age the risks.

Bhutan, one of the world’s top bio­di­ver­sity hotspots, is a place where peo­ple co­ex­ist with a fas­ci­nat­ing as­sem­blage of flora and fauna. This is pos­si­ble be­cause of the rich freshwater re­sources which also pro­vides the foun­da­tion for all eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. Each of the ma­jor eco­nomic driv­ers – agri­cul­ture, hy­dropower, tourism and small-scale in­dus­try – are heav­ily re­liant on wa­ter.

Although the coun­try has abun­dance of wa­ter in terms of per- capita avail­abil­ity, ac­cess to ad­e­quate and con­sis­tent wa­ter sup­ply can no longer be taken for granted, ac­cord­ing to the au­thors. The pres­sure on the coun­try’s rich freshwater re­source is grow­ing with in­creas­ing de­velop- ment and pop­u­la­tion growth, and wa­ter scarcity is be­ing in­creas­ingly felt in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try. The need for a holis­tic ap­proach to wa­ter re­sources man­age­ment that takes into ac­count all eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial con­sid­er­a­tions both for the present and for the fu­ture is im­per­a­tive.

There­fore, in Novem­ber 2014, the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sion, WWF Liv­ing Hi­malayas and WWF Bhutan led a process called the “Wa­ter in Bhutan’s Econ­omy”. The process was also sup­ported tech­ni­cally by the freshwater team of WWF In­ter­na­tional and the con­sul­tancy firm

Pe­gasys Strat­egy and Devel­op­ment based in South Africa.

“This brought to­gether all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers linked to wa­ter re­sources in Bhutan to de­velop a com­mon un­der­stand­ing on the wa­ter risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties, and chart fu­ture sce­nar­ios with op­ti­mal ap­proaches to im­prove wa­ter re­sources man­age­ment and help safe­guard the nat­u­ral cap­i­tal and liveli­hoods of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,” said the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Forests who is also the Vice Chair of NEC, Ly­onpo Yeshey Dorji.

The re­port ex­am­ines three po­ten­tial fu­ture sce­nar­ios (through the year 2035): Hy­dro Bhutan, Brand Bhutan and Green Bhutan. Hy­dro Bhutan where the coun­try’s hy­dro sec­tor devel­op­ment is ini­tially very cen­tral­ized and ori­ented ex­clu­sively to­wards elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion. Brand Bhutan is when eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in agri­cul­ture and tourism are pur­sued, re­ly­ing on rich

nat­u­ral re­sources and ro­bust ecosys­tems. In the Green Econ­omy Bhutan Sce­nario, af­ford­able en­ergy spurs the devel­op­ment of in­dus­trial sec­tors that lever­age Bhutan’s nat­u­ral re­sources.

Ac­cord­ing to the au­thors, this re­port is not meant to pro­pose an­swers to Bhutan’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment de­ci­sions, but rather high­light the op­por­tu­ni­ties to make the plau­si­ble devel­op­ment tra­jec­to­ries more re­silient in terms of wa­ter re­sources. “We be­lieve that by framing wa­ter chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the con­text of eco­nomic devel­op­ment, we can make a pow­er­ful case for the con­ser­va­tion of freshwater re­sources, not just for bio­di­ver­sity or ecosys­tems, but for the fu­ture of Bhutan as a whole,” said Stu­art Orr, Head of WWF wa­ter stew­ard­ship and also the Prac­tice Leader for WWF’s Wa­ter Goal.

The re­port also pro­vides a de­tailed de­scrip­tion of the process adopted and the sce­nario devel­op­ment, a use­ful tool to iden­tify and in­ter­ro­gate plau­si­ble fu­ture de­vel­op­ments that have im­pli­ca­tions for the coun­try’s river basins.

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