Bhutan at the forefront of climate action

The festival will be held at the Royal Thimphu College (RTC) from the 2 to 4 November and at the Norbuling Rigter College (NRC), Paro on 7th November

The country will hold its first ever Climate Action and Biodiversity Conservation Festival in November

STAFF REPORTER | Thimphu

Canada will organize Bhutan’s first-ever Climate Action and Biodiversity Conservation Festival to initiate dialogue on environment protection, biodiversity conservation and to advance efforts towards climate action from 2 to 7 November this year.

The festival is being organized in collaboration with Asia’s biggest environmental film festival and forum, CMS VATAVARAN, India, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Royal Thimphu College in Thimphu, and Norbuling Rigter College in Paro.

The festival is open to all and will be held at the Royal Thimphu College (RTC) from the 2nd to 4th November and at the Norbuling Rigter College (NRC), Paro on 7th November.

The festival aims to facilitate youth participation in planning, policy and action in conserving the rich natural resources and environmental heritage of Bhutan.

It will have a series of interesting programs including film screenings, seminars, workshops and panel discussions focusing on the environmental, social and economic aspects of climate-change and biodiversity conservation in the greater Himalayan region.

Several eminent speakers including Canadian communication expert Sean Southey the chair for the Commission on Education and Communication at IUCN, Colin Shonk the counsellor and Head, advocacy programme at the Embassy of Canada, and Chimi Rinzin the Country Director, WWF Bhutan are expected to grace the event.

Among others, senior environmentalists from Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation and Rakesh Rao Sr. Environmental, Science and Conservation Filmmaker from India will conduct various informative sessions during the festival.

During the ceremony, two prominent Bhutanese environmentalists; Dr. Nawang Norbu, Executive Director & Vice-President of Bhutan Ecological Society and Dr Rebecca Pradhan, senior ecologist and botanist at the Royal Society for Protection of Nature Bhutan, will be conferred the “Green Ambassador Awards” for their contribution in the field of biodiversity conservation in Bhutan.

Dr Nawang received his PhD in Natural Sciences (Magna cum Laude) from the University of Konstanz and the International Max Planck Research School (Germany). He is interested in exploring the drivers and consequences of development and how it influences environmental conservation and societal progress.

Dr Rebecca’s most outstanding works has been in the field of conservation of the critically endangered White-bellied Heron (Ardea insignis) in Bhutan. Of the less than 60 confirmed global population of White-bellied Heron, 28 (population survey, 2016) are found in Bhutan.

In her illustrious career, Dr Rebecca also authored several publications. Some of her notable publications are; Wild Rhododendrons of Bhutan and Threatened Birds in Bhutan.

Canada’s Ambassador to Bhutan Cameron MacKay said, “I am delighted that Canada and Bhutan are further strengthening their relations and working together on the critical issues related to combatting climate change, preserving biodiversity, and protecting the environment.”

He added that he encourages everyone to fully engage in the festival activities and take action to build a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable planet for future generations.

25 awarded winning films from around the world on various environmental issues like climate change and adoption and mitigation, wildlife conservation, water conservation, forest conservation and sustainable livelihood, will be screened during the festival.

Organizers said that for a beautiful carbon-neutral country in the Himalayas, Bhutan, climate change is not just an environmental problem but a serious challenge to sustainable development.

“Communities are facing a range of climate-related dangers, including. melting glaciers and shrinking water reservoirs; a higher incidence of diseases spread by mosquitos and floods; more frequent flash floods, forest fires and landslides,” it said.

Dr. Vasanti Rao, Director General CMS Vatavaran, said that by organizing festivals and forums like these, we can connect these local changes to larger global trends and discourse, and also discuss what we all collectively can do to conserve the same.

CMS Vatavaran is a pioneering international film festival and forum on environment and wildlife. Using films as a window to delve into nature, the organization showcases the best of Indian and International films and documentaries.

The festival will present nature stories from all over the world, stories on critical ecological and developmental challenges faced today, some of the most compelling practices, as well as enchanting snippets on the diversity of our planet.

CMS has created a strong network of Indian and International filmmakers, policymakers, academicians, research think tanks, environmentalists, journalists, and nature enthusiasts.