The 10th Royal Wedding Anniversary on 13 October will also mark Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen’s 10 years as the Queen of Bhutan. Although the contributions made by Her Majesty for the country and people cannot be summarized in just one or two pages, however, Her Majesty’s commendable contributions in the protection of the environment have to be noted.
Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck is the United Nation’s Environment Program Ozone Ambassador. Her Majesty is also the Royal Patron of the Environment, and works closely with the National Environment Commission (NEC), Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), Clean Bhutan, and other government and nongovernmental agencies on conservation, waste management, and other important environmental matters.
In 2019, with Her Majesty’s support, the government initiated a flagship program on waste management and redrafted a National Waste Management Strategy.
According to the Chairperson of NEC, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji, it was Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen who initiated the waste management practice called “Zero Waste Hour”, where every second day of the month has been pledged to clean waste and mark the zero waste hour.
“We thus focus on the flagship program for waste management. And this flagship has evolved and developed to such an extent that it has got focused and received financial support, as well as improved coordination among all sectors,” Lyonpo said.
The other dzongkhags are also taking up the waste management practices to manage all solid waste, organic waste, and waste disposal and incineration, added Lyonpo.
“The climate change is one of the initiatives Her Majesty has undertaken, which includes the concern of Her Majesty, and the care that it takes to reduce pollution – not only by waste but by electric cars and wildlife and forest protection,” said Lyonpo Tandi Dorji.
A legal officer with NEC, Kunzang, said that Her Majesty is the Royal Patron for the Environment in Bhutan. Her Majesty was also presented with the UNEP Ambassadorship for Ozone in 2012, and thereafter, Her Majesty has provided continued guidance and leadership on environment and ozone related matters.
She said that Her Majesty’s guidance and leadership unfolds in numerous fronts, such as timely guidance and directives, and personally gracing the occasions.
“Her Majesty accords high importance to the environment and ozone issues. Her Majesty personally graces the World Environment Day (WOD) and World Ozone Day. For instance, gracing of the occasions WOD 2016 at Royal Convention center, and WOD 2017 at Ozone Park in Thimphu, being made disability friendly,” she said and further added that the Royal messages on all WOD impart the vision, guidance, and issues that concerns Her Majesty.
As per the Executive Director of RSPN, Kinley Tenzin, the environmental conservation in Bhutan is one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH), and therefore, embedded into the good governance system in the country. “The other highest legacy of our Monarch is the constitutional mandate for 60 percent forest cover to be maintained at all times to come.”
He said that Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen is a passionate environmentalist. After the enthronement as the Queen of Bhutan, Her Majesty granted Patron ship to RSPN in 2012 to carry forward the golden legacy in the conservation of the Kingdom’s environment.
“RSPN now ventures into its 34 years of existence, and pioneered many important conservation programs, which led to leverage its works, trust and highest recognition, both national and international, with blessings from Their Majesties,” he said.
He added that through Her Majesty’s visionary blessings, RSPN has been able to institute a strong sustainability mechanism through international and national investments. RSPN has established an endowment fund managed by the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) at the US Stock Market, and also maintains long term fixed investment with the Bhutan Development Bank and Bhutan Insurance Limited.
“Her Majesty’s passion in environment is our inspiration. We shall always remain motivated and strive to work hard to achieve the collective national goals. We also take this privilege to express our immense gratitude to Her Majesty’s constant guidance, support, leadership and stewardship,” he added.
RSPN received the highest National Order of Merit Gold from His Majesty the King in 2016. International awards, such as Macarthur award for creative and effective institution, Asian Development Bank award for gender inclusive in conservation programs, Energy Globe Award for water, sanitation and Hygiene and Leadership award for sustainable development goals achiever.
“This in turn has resulted in mobilizing a milestone mega project in the conservation of critically endangered species, White Bellied Heron, supported by the International Climate Initiatives and Federal Ministry of Environment and Nuclear Safety, Germany and many others from USA, Europe, Japan and Asia,” he said.
Executive Director of Clean Bhutan, Nedup Tshering, said that Her Majesty has always been the guiding star for Clean Bhutan.
“Without Her Majesty’s blessings, Clean Bhutan would not have achieved what we have today,” he said, and further added that Clean Bhutan follows Her Majesty’s golden wisdom to keep Bhutan clean and beautiful with volunteers.
“For any initiatives to be successful, dedication and consistency is essential. We must all remind ourselves that our action on World Environment Day should not remain symbolic, stand alone activities, but must be practiced everyday,” he remarked.