YK Poudel

Delegates from Bhutan to the Conference of the Parties (COP28) will host the Bhutan pavilion themed “Sustaining Carbon Neutrality,” as concluded at the two-day symposium titled Road to Dubai: The Bhutan Story at COP28.

Community action, natural capital and conservation, carbon stewardship, energy transition, food and water security, and green and urban resilience are the six key messages that Bhutan pavilion will focus on.

Organised by Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), the seventh annual symposium between October 26 and 28 centred around critical focus areas for climate action in Bhutan to drive a sense of urgency, action, and the mobilization of finances and partnerships.

Dasho Paljor J Dorji, an environmentalist, during the opening session, said that Bhutan should be supported and paid for remaining carbon neutral. “Bhutan did not achieve carbon neutrality just like that. It has compromised so many opportunities in its move of sustainable development.”

“Bhutan is denied the right to be among the first countries to get the benefits of carbon trade compared to some nations that damaged the forest and re-forested it,” he said.

According to the press release, Bhutan Pavilion is pivotal to demonstrating Bhutan’s commitment to addressing the urgent challenges posed by climate change by highlighting Bhutan’s climate priorities, adaptation and mitigation strategies. “The Pavilion also enables Bhutan to showcase its sustainable and green development initiatives and explore opportunities for green-financing and sustainable investments.”

Namgay Choden, Climate Solutions Strategist, at BES said that Bhutan’s ability to comprehensively align its national policies to achieve global goals, especially for climate action is important because such actions have earned political capital and credibility. “However, with graduation from its Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2023 as well as the completion of the 13th Five Year Plan, the upcoming COP28 presents an important moment for Bhutan to harness in the context of its developmental planning,” she said.

“The concern to increase Bhutan’s resilience and diversify its economy, support job creation and livelihoods without compromising its environmental track record and transforming into a creative viable market-based sustainable economy and continue to remain carbon-neutral are some grappling challenges that Bhutan must contend with,” she said.

The pavilion, she said, on “Sustaining Carbon Neutrality,” is a testament to Bhutan’s commitment to environmental protection and a call for global collaboration in its ambition for a more sustainable world.

Bhutan has been involved in the UN climate negotiations since it signed the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 and ratified it in 1995.

A total of 199 parties (198 states and the European Union) are party to the UNFCCC.

Bhutan pavilion aims to demonstrate the nation’s climate priorities, adaptation, and mitigation strategies—showcasing sustainable and green development initiatives, exploring opportunities for green-financing, and seeking sustainable investments as Bhutan joins G77 and China Negotiating Bloc among others.

The representatives from BES along with other agencies and the government will be participating in the first-ever Bhutan pavilion at COP28 between November 30 and December 12 this year.