Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bhutan - Mountain people at centre of development process

Development issues are slow in mountain region and development is incomplete without participation of the people living in mountainous region, particularly women.

Bhutan +10, an international conference, which began today, is looking to address some of these issues in the region and beyond, in the next four days.

Participants representing mountain people, researchers, policy makers and development practitioners in the conference have one common agenda- to put mountain people at the centre of development process.

The Agriculture and Forests Minister, Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, said such conference brings a wider knowledge and platform to share experiences and good practices.

“We can learn from each other and replicate the good practices that are working and avoid those that are not working. In this way this conference will help us to link gender with development and that development is based on equality, on equal footing between men and women.”

The Director General of ICIMOD, Dr. David Molden, said women carry quite a load as far as managing natural resources already. “With Climate Change and migration of men to cities, women carry most of a burden and that does make sense if they are doing the job, there should be more women in leadership position.”

Focus has been called to address women concerns on climate change and adaptation given that women play substantial role in taking care of natural resources.

ICIMOD’s Gender Specialist Dr. Manohara Khadka said one of the learning experiences from Hindu Kush Himalayan region is that government in this region are ahead in terms of developing people centered policy.” But if you look at these policies, there is an exclusion of women and people who really have a grassroots experience. Policy making process are happening but without engaging women in policy forum.”

According to key findings on gender and biodiversity management in the Himalayan region, rural women are more involved than men and they are also the backbone of mountain agriculture, livelihoods and natural resources management.

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