1 June, 2016, Thimphu: In its quest to create awareness on the importance of sustainable management of the natural resources, the National Soil Services Centre (NSSC) of the Department of Agriculture and Watershed Management Division (WMD) of the Department of Forests and Park Services conducted a sensitisation workshop for youth in six colleges from May 2 to 28, 2016.
Officials from NSSC and WMD kick-started the month long program from the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and ended from Royal Thimphu College (RTC). The event was participated by over 2000 student participants and faculty members in total.
The awareness programme was conducted to sensitize and raise awareness on sustainable soil, land and watershed management, and National Action Program (NAP) to combat land degradation, familiarize youths about the REDD+ readiness program of Bhutan, advocate and empower youths in the said fields, provide information on the importance of land and land-based resources under the Sustainable Development Goal 15 and target 15.3 and how their management is related to biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation, and discuss areas of cooperation and build institutional networks for collaborative activities.
During the day-long program at each academic institute, series of presentations on thematic topics such as physical land degradation, its types, causes and impacts, sustainable land management (SLM) programs initiated by MoAF, National action program (NAP) to combat land degradation in Bhutan, approaches to Watershed Management in Bhutan and reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) was made. The REDD+ is a global initiative under UNFCCC which focuses on the role of forest for global climate change mitigation and the ecosystem benefits. The presentation also included variability of soil organic carbon (SOC) and its importance.
Posters on SLM, watershed, SOC and REDD+ were also displayed and brochures distributed to the participants. Documentaries on watershed management and SLM were also screened during the program.
The current trajectory of emerging problems and its impacts related to unsustainable use of soil, land and watershed management is not comfortable. Therefore, taking “youths on board” to help address these problems jointly would be crucial since they are socially positioned between government and/or the government institutions and the rural communities. Further, youth sensitization, advocacy and empowerment was felt crucial as they will be the ones, in one way or the other, to take care of our limited land-based natural resources to ensure continuous ecosystem services in the country and contribute to Bhutan’s efforts in its fight against poverty and combating climate change.
The program was supported by the REDD+ Readiness Program of Bhutan, WMD/DoFPS, which is funded by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility/World Bank. It was coordinated by Phuntsho Gyeltshen, NSSC.
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