PM awarded the Ger­man Sus­tain­ablil­ity Award 2016

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Wangmo

Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay was awarded the pres­ti­gious Ger­man Sus­tain­abil­ity Award (GSA) for 2016 for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions in pro­mot­ing sus­tain­abil­ity at an event or­ga­nized by the Ger­man Sus­tain­abil­ity Award Foun­da­tion in Dus­sel­dorf, Ger­many on 25th Novem­ber 2016.

The other hon­orary lau­re­ates for GSA 2016 in­clude UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Mr. Bank Ki Moon. Past Ger­man Sus­tain­abil­ity Award lau­re­ates in­clude Queen Sil­via of Swe­den, HRH Prince Charles of Wales, Dr. Gro Har­lem Bruntd­land, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter of Nor­way, Dr. Horst Köh­ler, for­mer Pres­i­dent of Ger­many, Mr. An­to­nio Guter­res, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter of Por­tu­gal and UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral-des­ig­nate amongst oth­ers.

The GSA was in­sti­tuted in 2008 to in­spire de­ci­sion mak­ers in the pub- lic and pri­vate sec­tors to ad­vo­cate for eco­log­i­cal and so­cial sus­tain­abil­ity and are awarded to gov­ern­ment lead­ers, celebri­ties, cities and towns and lead­ing global com­pa­nies. The GSA is one the largest event of its kind in Europe at­tract­ing more than 2000 guests ev­ery year.

Speak­ing at the award cer­e­mony, Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay paid trib­ute to the lead­er­ship of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, who at a young age of 17 years old en­vi­sioned the pro­tec­tion and preser­va­tion of Bhutan’s en­vi­ron­ment as a na­tional pri­or­ity long be­fore sus­tain­abil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues were fea­tured on the global agenda. Ly­onch­hen said that His Majesty the King con­tin­ues to fur­ther this legacy. Her Majesty the Gyalt­suen also con­tin­ues to sup­port Bhutan’s con­ser­va­tion legacy with her role as the UNEP Ozone Am­bas- sador and the Royal Pa­tron of the En­vi­ron­ment in Bhutan.

He also said that age old tra­di­tional Bhutanese cus­toms and spir­i­tual be­liefs of peaceful co-ex­is­tence with na­ture and Bhutan’s long term com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment for Bhutan and the world con­tin­ues to de­fine the suc­cess of main­tain­ing pris­tine ecosys­tems across the coun­try.

Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay high­lighted the chal­lenges Bhutan faced from cli­mate change and the se­ri­ous risk it poses to the Bhutanese econ­omy, which is crit­i­cally re­liant on hy­dropower gen­er­ated by its net­work of pris­tine rivers. He said Bhutan has un­con­di­tion­ally self-im­posed an am­bi­tious com­mit­ment to re­main car­bon neu­tral in per­pe­tu­ity and he said it was his hope that Bhutan’s ac­tions would

in­spire lead­ers around the world to ad­dress cli­mate change more se­ri­ously.

Preser­va­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment in Bhutan re­ceives na­tional pri­or­ity in all its pub­lic poli­cies and is one of the four pil­lars of Bhutan’s de­vel­op­ment phi­los­o­phy of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness. The cen­tral­ity of pre­serv­ing the en­vi­ron­ment is re­flected in the Con­sti­tu­tion of the King­dom of Bhutan which re­quires that 60% of the coun­try be kept un­der forest at all times. To­day, forest cover stands at 71% and more than half of the coun­try (52%) is in a pro­tected ar­eas sys­tem that in­cludes five na­tional parks, four wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies, one strict na­ture re­serve and seven bi­o­log­i­cal/eco­log­i­cal cor­ri­dor, mak­ing Bhutan one of the top global bio-di­ver­sity hotspots in the world. The Cli­mate Ac­tion Tracker (CAT), an in­de­pen­dent sci­en­tific anal­y­sis pro­duced by four re­search or­ga­ni­za­tions track­ing cli­mate ac­tion and global ef­forts to­wards the glob­ally agreed aim of hold­ing warm­ing be­low 2°C, since 2009 has ranked Bhutan in the top spot and as a role model coun­try for its INDCs, pledges and cur­rent poli­cies to hold­ing global warm­ing to be­low 2°C.

Bhutan is in­creas­ingly be­ing rec­og­nized for its de­vel­op­ment phi­los­o­phy of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the peo­ple of the King­dom of Bhutan were the re­cip­i­ent of the first ‘Cham­pion of the Earth’ award in 2005 in­sti­tuted by UNEP. In 2006, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo was awarded the pres­ti­gious World Wildlife Fund J. Paul Getty Award for Con­ser­va­tion Lead­er­ship and was in­ducted into the Ky­oto Earth Hall of Fame for His Majesty’s out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­tec­tion of the global en­vi­ron­ment in 2011.

While in Ger­many, Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay met Dr. Bar­bara Hen­dricks, the Fed­eral Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment, Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion, Build­ing and Nu­clear Safety, Mr. Ms. Malu Dreyer, Min­is­ter Pres­i­dent of RhinelandP­falz and Pres­i­dent of the Bun­desrat, and Mr. Jo­han Rem­mel, Min­is­ter for Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion, En­vi­ron­ment, Agri­cul­ture, Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion and Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion of the State of North-Rhine-West­phalia. Ly­onch­hen also met Dr. Wolf­gang Pfeif­fer and Mr. Cor­nelis Klein, Hon­orary Con­suls of Bhutan in Ger­many and the Nether­lands re­spec­tively, as well as Mr. Rein­hard Wolf, Pres­i­dent of the Ger­man Bhutan Hi­malaya Friend­ship So­ci­ety among oth­ers.

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