The Hon’ble Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, Minister of Agriculture & Forests led Bhutan’s delegation to the High-Level Segment of the UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP14) from 9-10 September 2019 held at India Expo Mart Ltd., Greater Noida. Lyonpo was accompanied by the Ambassador of Bhutan in India and senior government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture & Forests and Royal Bhutanese Embassy, New Delhi.
The UNCCD COP14, hosted by the Government of India, began from 2nd September and attended by about 8000 delegates including 93 Ministers from 196 countries; Intergovernmental organizations; Special and UN agencies; Civil Society organizations; and media personnel. The event was aimed at identifying mutually viable solutions to the growing challenges of desertification, land degradation, and drought. The UNCCD was adopted in Paris in 1994 to be a legally binding document for fighting desertification through sustainable land management and has been ratified by 196 countries and the EU.
Bhutan ratified to join UNCCD on August 20, 2003 and subsequently participated in the UNCCD COP 6, Havana, Cuba, from 25th August to 5th September 2003.
The Opening Ceremony of the High-Level Segment was inaugurated by H.E. Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; The inaugural was also addressed by H.E. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines; H.E. Mr. Prakash Javedkar, President of COP14 and Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India; H.E. Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Dy Secretary General of the United Nations; and Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.
During the ministerial round-table discussions and interactive dialogue sessions, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor highlighted Bhutan’s commitment to ensuring sustainable management of our land resources and called upon all international partners to adequately support Bhutan’s efforts towards this goal. Lyonpo shared the profound words and wisdom of His Majesty The King of Bhutan, quoting that “Land is not simply an economic issue – in Bhutan it is an all pervasive issue affecting the very livelihoods and welfare of the people – our very Gross National Happiness”. Lyonpo reiterated Bhutan’s commitment to remain carbon neutral and the critical requirement to transition to a clean energy economy.
On the sidelines, Lyonpo represented the Prime Minister of Bhutan at the event on “The Mainstreaming of Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in the Himalaya Region. Policy Context in Bhutan, India and Nepal” on Friday 6th September 2019. As the keynote speaker, Lyonpo delivered about Bhutan’s experience in Promoting Organic Agriculture and highlighted the successful organic agriculture initiatives in Bhutan which was notably well received by the audience.
Lyonpo held bilateral meetings with his counterparts in the Government of India: Shri Prakash Javedkar, President of COP14 and Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Shri Giriraj Singh, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries. They expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation in all related sectors, which are marked by mutual understanding and goodwill, and enhanced by Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Bhutan. They reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest in the related sectors, particularly in the area of livestock & fisheries development, forests, etc.
The Peace Forest Initiative of the Korean Forest Services was launched during the High-level Segment of the UNCCD COP14, Delhi on 10th September. According to the Korean Forest Services, this initiative could ultimately contribute to the alleviation of political tension, reconciliation and can become a part of permanent peace building processes. COP14 provided an opportunity for relevant and like-minded stakeholders to discuss the future initiative as a way to deliver common sustainable sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Mr. Jae-hyun Kim, Minister of Korea Forest Service of the Republic of Korea met with Lyonpo during the launch and expressed interest to learn more about Bhutan’s success story in its forests and environment conservation.
– Royal Bhutanese Embassy, New Delhi
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