YK Poudel 

The National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) reaffirmed Bhutan’s commitment in building back biodiversity and increasing the understanding and awareness of biodiversity loss and conservation, coinciding with the International Biodiversity Day (IBD), yesterday.

The IBD is celebrated by 196 countries around the world that urge countries to have an action plan based on global and national levels and meet it by 2030.

A financing solution, BioFin Finance Solutions, was launched yesterday to reduce the financing gap for biodiversity conservation in the country. Among others, it aims to fill the gap by enhancing results-based budgeting, mainstreaming biodiversity finance and finance solutions into the local government plans, increasing revenues from eco-tourism fees and park conservation areas and redesigning human-wildlife conflict (HWC) schemes.

The finance solutions consist of two different elements- a financing mechanism and a series of actions that help to either create a new mechanism or improve an existing mechanism to scale it up or make it nature positive.

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL), Yeshey Penjor said that the action that people take to conserve biodiversity and equitably share the benefits arising from the global biological resources will be valuable. “Based on the theme this year, Bhutan must reaffirm on building on the existing biodiversity asset,” he said.

“This day highlights the significance of biodiversity for the people and the planet. Biodiversity has been a strength of all sectors in Bhutan. The financing gap had been a challenge at the global and national level. Bhutan needs huge funds for its conservation of biodiversity,” he said.

Four finance solutions launched today, he said, will ensure that Bhutan’s commitment and strategies for biodiversity conservation are enhanced. “The 13 Plan makes it crucial to look into the ‘National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan and its long-term goal.”

Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP, Khurshid Alam said that the human species are dominant in the idea of collaboration and civilization which is the primary cause of planetary health. “Marking this day, UNDP-Bhutan reaffirms its commitment towards supporting Bhutanese existing biodiversity in its restoration.”

He said: “Countries must work on three foremost human perceptions: grow now – clean later approach must be changed to the healthy planet now over only growth, a trade-off of human welfare first to the planet over profit, and money as the solution to support a change compared to development.” Bhutan as a green premium nation with zero carbon footprints can play an exemplary role.

To mark the achievement of COP 15 and to call on the urgency of what still needs to be done, the UN announced this year’s theme as “From agreement to action: build back biodiversity.”

Meanwhile, NBC also unveiled the second edition of the “A Century of New Orchid Records in Bhutan” book highlighting original illustrations and photographs of new orchids in Bhutan.

UNDP supported the development of the four BIOFIN solutions through its BIOFIN- the Biodiversity Finance Initiative in 2012 where Bhutan was among the first 41 BIOFIN-supported countries.