On 2 November, 2016, the Hon’ble Agriculture and Forests Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, inaugurated the Bhutan pavilion at ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal which was damaged by the tragic Nepal earthquake of April 2015.
The rebuilding of the pavilion supported by the Royal Government of Bhutan was completed this summer. His Eminence, Venerable Dorji Lopon of the Central Monastic Body, Bhutan and monks from the Sangaycholing Monastery of Swayambhunath, Kathmandu performed the consecration ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Lyonpo applauded ICIMOD in making its programmes relevant to the mountain communities. “This is the dividend of extensive and regular consultation that ICIMOD engages with member countries to understand their needs and priorities”, he said. “Such practices will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its programme, therefore should be continued,” he remarked.
Lyonpo stated that for Bhutan “Poverty alleviation, food and nutritional security, human wildlife conflict, disaster reduction and management, and adaptation to climate change are the most pressing challenges”. He informed that Bhutan is preparing the 12th Five Year Plan, where the government will invest substantially in realising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “The key areas will be in realising food and nutrition security, improving ecosystem health for sustainable ecosystem services, REDD+, improving climate and disaster resilience, promoting gender parity, and improving natural resource governance with a specific importance for the highland development programme, where yak farming systems play critical role”, he said. Lyonpo also indicated that the on-going partnership with ICIMOD in diverse fields ranging from adaptation, study of cryosphere and transboundary landscape programmes will be crucial in developing scientific knowledge and innovative approaches.
Lyonpo expressed his appreciation to ICIMOD in considering the learning from Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Indicators for potential application in the HKH region. As ICIMOD is currently in the process of preparing its Medium Term Action Plan; Lyonpo invited the ICIMOD team to consult with the Bhutanese partners at the earliest oppurtunity.
Lyonpo’s visit to ICIMOD was also to get an update of ICIMODs programmes. Dr. Molden, the Director General for ICIMOD provided a brief update of the current ICIMOD initiatives and reported that ICIMOD has been able to generate substantial knowledge across wide range of topics including climate adaption, resilience, disasters, ecosystems, water, and livelihoods and continues to make policy influence in its HKH member’s countries. He expressed his gratitude to Lyonpo for continued support and guidance provided by Bhutan. He also acknowledged the quick restoration of the Bhutan pavilion which has been a symbol of peace, well-being and happiness at the Centre. Furthermore, Dr. Molden said that the sacred prayers and blessings conferred by His Eminence will bring immense spiritual benefit and is a source of great inspiration for ICIMOD in its endeavours towards serving the mountain people and environment.
Dr. Sharma reported that ICIMOD is very happy and proud of its partnership with Bhutan. He said that all the ICIMOD Programmes including adaptation, transboundary, cryosphere and atmosphere, river basins, Geospatial and Himalayan University consortium Programmes are being implemented in Bhutan. Dr. Shrestha further added that ICIMOD’s engagement in Bhutan is truly multidisciplinary and currently includes about 25 partners which continues to expand.
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