11 September, Thimphu: His Excellency, Mr. Eivind S. Homme, the Ambassador of Norway to Bhutan called on Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, the Minister for Agriculture and Forests (MoAF).
Welcoming the Ambassador, Lyonpo shared that both countries shares a steady and fruitful partnership. He talked about the Biodiversity Use and Conservation Asia Program (BUCAP) that started in 2000, the successful direct collaboration between two countries. He recalled the Norwegian missionary work in Bhutan on leprosy, which earlier was a major health problem, has now been practically almost eradicated.
Lyonpo further shared with Ambassador on the RNR-Sector including of agriculture, forestry and livestock. He informed that Bhutan has more than 70% forest cover areas of which around 51% is under the protection of management system. Responding to this, the Ambassador remarked, ‘This is unique in Asia’.
Lyonpo also shared the human wildlife conflict as one of the challenges in the Ministry. He later talked on the Ministry’s approaches including of commercialisation, farm mechanisation and improved market system to achieve food self-sufficiency in agriculture and livestock products.
Discussing on climate change (CC), the Ambassador felt the need to put lot of focus on forest internationally. He shared that Norway is trying to promote green firm to support CC target which is challenging. On this, Lyonpo shared the Ministry’s initiatives of introducing electric car, bio-gas, 100 units free electricity in the rural areas to help reduce carbon emission and environmental damages.
Lyonpo further shared that forest fire is one of the biggest challenges in the country during winter. He enquired if Norway could extend its help to combat the issue. On this, the Ambassador assured that he would see the possibilities for collaboration.
On enquiry about the tourism, Lyonpo informed that tourism is the main source of revenue after hydropower in the country. He shared that to promote tourism; Bhutan is celebrating 2015 as the visit Bhutan Year coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth King.
The Ambassador was in the country from 10 till 13 September. During his stay, he will also meet with Foreign and Economic Affairs Ministers among others.
Reported by: Tshering Doma, ICS
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