RC’s statement at the Launch of National Environment Strategy at the World Environment Day

 

We must always be One nation with One vision in our convictions and efforts. When we hand over our country to our children, we should not only hand over a secure and sovereign country but an environmentally rich country.”- His Majesty the King.

 

Salutations

Your Majesty Druk Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, Hon’ble Secretary for the National Environment Commission, Dasho Sonam P. Wangdi, Executive Secretary for UN ESCAP, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Resident Representative of UNDP Bhutan, Azusa Kubota, colleagues.

 

Opening

Today, as we mark the World Environment Day, we also celebrate Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan, Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck’s birthday. Her Majesty is also the Royal Patron of the Environment and thank you also for your role as United Nations Environment Program Ozone Ambassador.

The theme for this year’s global campaign is called “Time For Nature.’ Its aim is to educate and engage audiences about the value that nature provides us and convey the urgency for global action towards the post-2020 biodiversity framework given the unprecedented rates of biodiversity loss.

It is a pleasure to see the National Environment Strategy 2020 being launched today with strong support from the UN family, including at the regional level UN ESCAP and UNEP and the UN Country Team-especially UNDP.

Today, I have three key messages:

 

Firstly this Environment Strategy is unique in many ways:

-It emphasizes means of implementation (partnerships, innovation, finance, etc.) that are also often overlooked in similar such documents. Given that the RGOB is now developing the country’s 21st century roadmap, this environment strategy establishes key challenges and solutions which will need to be taken into consideration by the 21st century roadmap

-It fully embraces the principles of sustainable development, in a way that is faithful to the Bhutanese approach to environment and development.

-It speaks to the 5-year plan and its 17 National Key result Areas, so is fully connected to the development plan of Bhutan, which is also unique in environmental policies, that tend to be quite separate.

 

Secondly I greatly appreciate the role that has been afforded to the CSO in implementation. I commend the NEC and the RGoB on working so practically with the CSO fraternity. In a number of environmental areas, such as waste Management the CSO’s deserve our deepest thanks. We know we can make greater progress in the environment when the CSO’s are playing their full partner role.

 

Thirdly, We have only climbed half the mountain: Although mindful that 5 different UN agencies, ESCAP, UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF and FAO contributed, it is in the implementation of the Strategy that the UN agencies really need to step up.

Dasho Sonam P. Wangdi, whenever you feel we are taking too long to deliver on our implementation commitments please give us a little nudge….while the UN may be here as guests of the Nation, we also know we have to deliver results so that we remain relevant and true partners both in terms of speech and action.

Allow me to also add that this strategy is important for the people of Bhutan and it deserves our best communication skills in spreading its important messages and knowledge. Our various UN offices will assist the NEC in spreading these important messages, as you deem appropriate.

Speaking in my personal capacity, I am grateful that this is the 3rd time I have had the opportunity to support the formulation/roll-out of this strategy…I sense the way your constitution speaks to the environment…’that every Bhutanese is a truesee…that it is to benefit not just present but also future generations’ challenges me at a personal level to do what I can to support such a noble constitution.

 

Closing

As the world struggles through this COVID-19 battle, as always, I am deeply moved by how Bhutan has once again come together in solidarity. His Majesty the King’s leadership inspires and encourages every Bhutanese to come together, in solidarity, as one nation to combat COVID-19. I wish to commend the Royal Government of Bhutan in tirelessly focusing on both the immediate responses to this pandemic and also the longer-term recovery measures. The RGoB’s decision to continue working on the ‘21st Century Economic roadmap’ personifies Leadership in Action.

The UN in Bhutan is responding to the immediate needs of the people; the needs of the most vulnerable while strengthening economic resilience and building longer-term human capital in a comprehensive way so that we find new ways to ‘Build Back Better’.

Allow me to end by quoting the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres

 

In planning the coronavirus pandemic recovery, there is “a profound opportunity” to steer the world on “a path that tackles climate change, protects the environment, reverses biodiversity loss and ensures the long-term health and security of humankind.”

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