More than 300 photo en­tries for Tree Hug­ger Bhutan Com­pe­ti­tion

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Staff Re­porter from Thim­phu

In what seems to be the coun­try’ big­gest photo com­pe­ti­tion, the Tree Hug­ger Bhutan Com­pe­ti­tion saw more than 300 photo en­tries from all across the coun­try.

The photo com­pe­ti­tion was launched this year to cel­e­brate the In­ter­na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity Day and World En­vi­ron­ment Day.

Ac­cord­ing to Tsh­er­ing Phuntsho, the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) sup­ported Green En­vi­ron­ment Fund Small Grants Pro­gramme, the main ob­jec­tive of the com­pe­ti­tion was to cre­ate aware­ness among the gen­eral public, es­pe­cially among the youth, on the im­por­tance of con­ser­va­tion of bio­di­ver­sity and its val­ues.

“The com­pe­ti­tion was also a so­cial me­dia cam­paign to re­mind the so­ci­ety at large to sup­port con­ser­va­tion of the for­est re­sources and pro­mote its pro­tec­tion through so­cial me­dia.”

Of the 300 pho­to­graphs, ten best en­tries were se­lected as win­ners in seven dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. The cat­e­gories in­cluded, Best Tree Hug­ger, Small­est Tree Hug­ger, Largest Tree Hug­ger, Old­est Tree Hug­ger, In­no­va­tive Tree Hug­ger, Fun­ni­est Tree Hug­ger and the View­ers’ Choice award which rec­og­nized for the photo en­try with the high­est num­ber of likes on Face­book.

Par­tic­i­pants in­cluded chil­dren as young as two years old to as old as 80 years old.

A spe­cial in­no­va­tive logo was cre­ated for the Tree Hug­ger Com­pe­ti­tion. The old tree on the logo rep­re­sents sus­tain­abil­ity, the dif­fer­ent col­ors seen on the leaves rep­re­sent the United Na­tions’ 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, the four main branches rep­re­sent the four pil­lars of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness and the two hands rep­re­sent the hu­man el­e­ment.

The Tree Hug­ger Com­pe­ti­tion is an ini­tia­tive to help the peo­ple, es­pe­cially the youth, un­der­stand that while Bhutan is well en­dowed with rich bio­di­ver­sity.

The Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of UNDP in Bhutan, Ger­ald Daly, said Bhutan has a great his­tory of con­nect­ing with trees and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Trees are the back­bone of the en­vi­ron­ment,” he said. “There are about 816 mil­lion trees in Bhutan and there are 1,200 trees for ev­ery Bhutanese.”

He added that mak­ing a per­sonal con­nec­tion gives peo­ple the ba­sis for ac­tion and Bhutan be­ing one of the 10 global hotspots, the coun­try is at the heart of re­spond­ing to the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goal 13 on Cli­mate Ac­tion and 15 on Life on Land.

The Tree Hug­ger Com­pe­ti­tion was also one such ini­tia­tive of the UNDP in Bhutan to safe­guard Bhutan’s rich bio­di­ver­sity.

In 2016, Bhutan be­came the 30th coun­try to join as a mem­ber of the UNDP’s Bio­di­ver­sity Fi­nance Ini­tia­tive (BIOFIN) which was de­signed to lever­age re­sources for bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion through long-term fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions by join­ing hands with na­tional bio­di­ver­sity stake­hold­ers and global con­ser­va­tion part­ners.

The com­pe­ti­tion was or­ga­nized by the UNDP in Bhutan in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bhutan Trust Fund for En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, RSPN, Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sion, Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity Cen­ter, WWF Bhutan Pro­gram, Depart­ment of For­est and Park Ser­vices, and UNDP’s GEF-Small Grants Pro­gramme.

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