Empowering youth for climate change research in Bhutan

To raise awareness and promote better understanding of the country’s climate change issues and potential strategies of adaptation a five-day SERVIR Himalaya Youth Forum on ‘Empowering Youth for Climate Research in Bhutan’ is in progress at Sherubtse College, Trashigang which concludes today.

The event is conducted in line with the present global concerns on climate change and to engage youth in addressing the issue in Bhutan. It is also steered forward for the youth to actively engage in areas of preparedness, risk reduction, adaptation and mitigation to undertake local actions as youth can play an agent for change and act as effective communicators in their communities.

Assistant Professor at Sherubtse College, Pankaj Thapa said that the forum will encourage and communicate to the youth on the technology know-how to research on climate change such as geo-spatial technology (remote sensing and GPS) and to bring out influencing policies, and also build a strong network in Bhutan on the issue.

Information on spatial trends and changes in climate change phenomenon was highlighted during the forum discussion held at the youth forum. This is expected to raise awareness and to improve the understanding on the climate change. Earth observation, combined with geographic information systems provides a powerful platform to address various issues related to environmental change.

The objective of the forum is to educate young people on climate change in Bhutan and the Himalayas and to address climate change issues through scientific research including geospatial science. It also aims to familiarize youth with the potential benefits of information derived from earth observation, learn about setting up and developing of a climate change related research project and create a climate change network of youth and students in Bhutan. It also provides a platform for mutual sharing and learning of experiences among youth including online resources.

During the event, a debate competition on “Environmental Conservation & Climate Change – Barriers for Bhutan’s Economic Development” sponsored by Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) was also conducted. 32 student representatives of seven colleges across the country attended the forum.

SERVIR is a collaborative venture among the NASA Earth Science Division Applied Sciences Program, USAID and worldwide partner institutions. SERVIR emphasis on improvement in environmental management and climate change in response by helping governments and other stakeholders integrate Earth observation and geospatial technologies into decision making.

The mentors included Sebastian Wesselman, Deo Raj Gurung and Govinda Joshi from International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Andreas Hoy from Germany who is a volunteer at the College of Natural Resources and Pankaj Thapa, an assistant professor at Sherubtse college.

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