Choki Wangmo

A photo of a lone White-bellied Heron attempting to catch a fish without success and finally resorting to feeding on insects and grasses in a unique habitat won the best photography in the habitat category.

This is how Bhutan celebrated the international biodiversity day (IBD) due to the Covid-19  pandemic- through an online photo contest yesterday.

Themed: “Our solutions are in nature”, the photographer, Phub Dorji, said that nature is providing solutions for the survival of critically endangered species to adopt with other habitats as well with changing natural habitats.

This year’s theme emphasises on hope, solidarity, and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.

About 111 participants submitted 266 photos under various categories like wildlife, abstract, habitat, and nature-based solutions to the National Environment Commission (NEC). Most of the participants were tour guides, forest rangers, and college students.

An NEC official said that there were exciting entries from young and amateur participants encouraging conservation through nature photography among youth.

The initiative by NEC in collaboration with UNDP-Bhutan, is expected to increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues and enhance appreciation towards biodiversity in the country facing an increasing number of threats.

Experts from UNDP, National Biodiversity Centre, and NEC evaluated the photos submissions.

A press release from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) stated: “As the global community is called to re-examine its relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy.”

This year is an important year of reflection, opportunity and solutions—final period for the 2011-2020 strategic plan on biodiversity and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets; the end of the 2011-2020 United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and the UN Biodiversity Summit which highlights the urgency of action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The United Nations declared IBD on May 22, 2000 to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Bhutan is a member of CBD since 1995.