Education: A three-week summer school programme focusing on foundations and methods of agriculture economics and policy for sustainable mountainous development that was held at College of Natural Resources (CNR), Lobesa ended on July 28.

The summer school was jointly organised by CNR, the Humboldt University, Berlin and the University of Hohenheim, Germany.

Coordinator and assistant Professor at CNR, Dr Tulsi Gurung said the summer school was aimed at facilitating research collaborations between Bhutanese and German research groups in order to put theory and methods into practice.

Around 20 participants from various organisations of the agriculture and forests ministry, and staff and students of CNR attended the summer school programme.

She said the resource persons were experts from two partner universities who have tailored the content around the challenges Bhutan is facing for sustainable mountain development such as human-wildlife conflict, sustainable land management and organic agriculture.

Funded by the German academic exchange service, DAAD, the summer school programme will continue till 2018.

Dr Tulsi Gurung said that over the three weeks the participants were introduced to principles of farm economics and economic analysis with special emphasis on hands-on applications.

They were also taught about the principles of environmental economics and valuation methods of ecosystem services. Bhutan falls among the world’s 10 biodiversity hotspots and also depends strongly on hydropower generation. Therefore, valuation methods of natural capital and payment for ecosystem services, and examples for watershed management were found relevant for the country’s context.

She said lectures were also made on methods of policy analysis and impact evaluation, which are applied to policies in Bhutan’s agricultural sector, such as the 100 percent organic agricultural policy or the impact of investments in farm road infrastructure on rural livelihoods.

Meanwhile, the CNR is also hosting the Chula right livelihood summer school programme, which started from July 24.

It is a two-week programme and attended by 20 participants from Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, USA, India, China, Spain, Germany, Poland, Madagascar and four participants from Bhutan. The facilitators of the programme are from CNR and Malaysia.

The participants will be sent on field placements in Wangdue and Punakha valley from July 31 to August 2, according to the programme coordinators. It is jointly organised by CNR and the Right Livelihood College, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

Coordinators said the purpose of the summer school is to share knowledge related to food sovereignty, indigenous knowledge, and local seeds with focus on peace and happiness.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue