HM Gyaltsuen Graces Commemoration of World Ozone Day
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.