1-3 October, Thimphu: The three days, National Park conference with the theme ‘paradigm shift in Protected Area Management System in Bhutan’ was organised by Wildlife Conservation Division at Royal Botanical Park, Lampelri. The Launching of the Park Conference was graced by Hon’ble MoAF Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji accompanied by Dasho Ritu Raj; Hon’ble chair of Environment Committee from National Assembly, Dr. Genevieve Boyreau; World Bank’s Resident Representative and senior country economist for Bhutan, Ms. Niamh Collier-Smith, Dy. Resident Representative of UNDP, Representatives from WWF Bhutan Programme, Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation and the senior officials from the Ministry.
The day also observed the launching of ‘Field Manual for National Snow Leopard Survey‘ by WCD and launching of ‘Guideline for recreational Infrastructure’ by NRED.
“The Protected areas are an essential elements of strategies used by the modern societies to ensure that natural resources are managed sustainably and that the biodiversity is conserved for present and future generations” said Mr. Sonam Wangchuk, Chief forestry Officer of Wildlife Conservation Division. Further he added “In safe guarding these interest, our managers and frontline staff have encountered over the last several years, considerable amount of tough decision making, frequently with much personal trauma”. Therefore the Park conference is aimed to provide a proper platform to address these issues.
While Hon’ble Lyonpo stated, ‘We would be short sighted to believe that Bhutan today is without any serious challenges to the environmental legacies.’ He added that the changing natural demographics and the pressure of globalisation are bringing in new set of threat and potential challenges to every corner of Bhutan. Lyonpo also stated ‘we have to be the part of the larger community’ and emphasized that ‘on the part of the RGoB, it has already embarked on educating school children on this sustainable development goal’.
The need to focus on strategies in three critical areas were highlighted as; strengthening law enforcement in parks, proportioning human wildlife conflict management and enhancing wider scale public support.
Considering the strategic operational principles, the role of protected areas including biological corridors, people’s perception towards protected areas, emerging issues relating to conservation, and decline in external funding have prompted the Department to relook at the existing protected area management system. It will also create a platform for taking stock of emerging field issues and looking for a doable solutions.
The conference will emphasize on emerging conservation issues and discuss on the importance of research in conservation, management of the fund and strengthening of collaborative conservation program. The launching of Bhutan for life, a global initiative of government with a long lasting financial support for the conservation of protected areas in Bhutan will also be discussed.
Hon’ble Lyonpo acknowledged the recent National tiger survey for accomplishment of the conservation milestone for the nation and also highlighted on the Nationwide snow leopard survey to set another achievement for the conservation milestone by 2016.
He also highlighted the role of the Monarch in securing the natural heritage and noted ‘I will ensure to uphold the works of our fore fathers and most importantly the legacy of our Monarch to safeguarding this pristine natural heritage’.
-Reported by Tashi Yangzom with Photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
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