Rotary: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay announced that a GNH Certification for Business system will be introduced in the country soon on the opening day of a three-day conference on responsible entrepreneurship towards sustainable development that began in Thimphu yesterday, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Welcoming the 170 Rotarians from 19 member countries, Lyonchoen thanked them for visiting the country and spreading the spirit of voluntarism throughout the world and bringing it to Bhutan.

Speaking at the conference hosted by the Rotary Club of Thimphu, Lyonchoen said: “Living in the present with no regard to the future is not responsibility. Just as we have inherited the earth and its bountiful resources; inherited the culture and tradition, we must pass these on to our future generations.”

According to the press release, Lyonchoen also spoke about social, economic and political sustainability and GNH. He said that His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo at the age of 16 decided that sustainability is important for Bhutan. In less than a generation’s time, the life expectancy has doubled; child enrolment in schools have doubled, Lyonchoen said, pointing out some of the social progress Bhutan has enjoyed under the reign of the Monarchs.

According to the World Happiness Report, Bhutan has been ranked the 84th happiest country out of 157 countries in the world in 2016 and was ranked first in the “equality index”, which means Bhutan is the world’s most equal society, Lyonchoen shared.

On the economic sustainability front, “Bhutan is one of the most economically sustainable economies in the world. The energy we generate is renewable and currently our forest off set 6m tons of CO2 in India,” Lyonchoen said.

Of the 200 countries, Bhutan is one of the only carbon neutral countries in the world. “I wish a bigger country was carbon neutral,” Lyonchoen added, attributing Bhutan’s success of being carbon neutral to His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo. “The young teenage King resisted the expert and conventional advice to cut down the trees,” Lyonchoen said.

Without political sustainability there is no guarantee that there will be any form of sustainability and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo started decentralising power and introduced democracy. “Democracy is imposed on us, not demanded,” Lyonchoen said.

Lyonchoen shared the findings of the recent GNH survey and urged the entrepreneurs to conduct such surveys (wherever relevant) within their companies for sustainability of their businesses.

The three-day conference is aimed at providing an international platform for learning and sharing of the vast knowledge and experience of Rotaries and Rotarians around the world. The conference is also being held so that the Rotary Club of Thimphu can form partnerships to undertake future service projects in Bhutan.

The Rotary Club of Thimphu was chartered on April 24, 2012 with an objective to expand foreign relations and promote the work and cause of Rotary in Bhutan. Today the club is wholly managed, owned and funded by 19 Bhutanese members.

Staff Reporter