As Bhutan took center stage at the COP28 in Dubai, UAE, the world witnessed the resolute spirit of a nation standing tall amid the urgent global call for climate action. With the largest delegation from the country yet, Bhutan’s opening statement underscored a sense of urgency and hope for the countries gathered to address the pressing issue of climate change.

In a powerful intervention during the plenary session, Bhutan seized the moment, calling for an immediate and focused dialogue on mountain and climate change. This call emanates from a deep understanding of the intricate interplay between mountain ecosystems and the perilous impacts of climate change. Bhutan’s plea for this urgent dialogue resonates with the scientific evidence highlighting the extreme vulnerability of mountain ecosystems.

The mountainous terrain, once pristine and resilient, is now facing an existential threat due to the escalating menace of climate change. Bhutan’s submissions at COP28 build upon a legacy of consistent efforts made in previous conferences, urging the international community to recognise and address the unique challenges faced by mountain regions.

The stark reality presented by Bhutan emphasises the escalating rate of glacier retreats, a phenomenon with far-reaching consequences. The impacts of melting glaciers extend beyond the majestic mountain landscapes, spelling out a crisis for the livelihoods of millions residing in these high-altitude regions and the downstream areas that depend on them.

Bhutan, despite being one of the least contributors to global emissions, finds itself disproportionately affected by the aftermath of climate change. The irony is stark — a nation committed to environmental stewardship and carbon neutrality faces the brunt of climate impacts. This dichotomy underscores the urgent need for collective action and solidarity on a global scale.

A testament to Bhutan’s unwavering commitment is its ambitious revised Nationally Determined Contributions. In the face of formidable development challenges, Bhutan reaffirms its pledge to remain Carbon Neutral. The rationale behind this commitment is not merely a national interest but a call for global justice. Bhutan’s ask for support and understanding is not only reasonable but a moral imperative.

While Bhutan’s leadership in environmental conservation shines brightly, it is crucial to recognise that addressing the criticisms and drawbacks of the COP requires a united effort. The international community must rise above differences and collaborate comprehensively to strengthen the effectiveness of these global climate conferences.

The vulnerability of mountain ecosystems is a microcosm of the broader climate crisis. Bhutan’s plea at COP28 is not just for its own sake but also for the collective future of the planet. It is not past time to act, and as the international community deliberates, Bhutan stands as a steadfast advocate for the vulnerable, a sentinel for the mountains, and a beacon of hope in the pursuit of a sustainable and resilient world.

As COP28 unfolds, Bhutan’s narrative is a compelling reminder that the global response to climate change must be inclusive, ambitious, and immediate. Bhutan’s voice echoes through the majestic peaks, urging the world to heed the call of the mountains, for in their survival lies the key to our shared planetary future.