Assembly: In a show of absolute commitment to environment preservation, National Assembly members unanimously endorsed all 29 articles of the Paris Agreement on environmental protection and conservation including issues related to climate change and the international recognition of the country’s progressive policies on the environment yesterday.

Members expressed urgency to ratify the agreement and asked the government to adhere to every condition in the agreement with policies and programmes.

The Paris Agreement was adopted on December 12, 2015 by the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

It provides a framework for global actions to address climate change after 2020.

The objective of the agreement is to maintain the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, whilst making efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.

The agreement addresses adaptation to climate change, financial and other support for developing countries, technology transfer and capacity building, as well as loss and damage.

In contrast to the Kyoto Protocol, which commits only developed countries to specific reduction targets, the agreement requires all countries to prepare Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), take measures to achieve their objectives, and report on progress periodically.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji pointed out three main advantages of the agreement over the Kyoto Protocol. “While the former was only for the developed and high polluting countries, all the 197 countries will act to reduce global warming under the agreement,” Lyonpo said.

The minister said the country had all the programmes identified in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on mitigation, adaptation and most importantly transparency of the implementation and the progress of the activities.

The Constitution states that all international conventions, covenants, treaties, protocols and agreements duly acceded to by the government hereafter shall be deemed to be the law of the Kingdom only upon ratification by Parliament unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution.

The government shall ensure that, in order to conserve the country’s natural resources and to prevent degradation of the ecosystem, a minimum of sixty percent of Bhutan’s total land shall be maintained under forest cover for all time.

The minister for agriculture and forests will move a motion today ratify the agreement.

Tshering Palden