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The Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Secretariat jointly organized the Capacity Building Programme and Conference on Environment and Climate Change (ECC) from 9-11th October followed by the 2nd Joint Working Group (JWG) Meeting on 12th October 2023 at Paro. The event was supported by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in India. The capacity building programme was designed to bring in participants from the BIMSTEC Member States and the BIMSTEC Secretariat with primary objectives to:
(i) Enhance the understanding of environment & climate change and its impacts including food security in the region;
(ii) Enable the Member States to come up with mitigation and adaptation measures and/or bankable projects at the country/regional level to tackle climate change and enhance resilience against disasters; and
(iii) Aid the deliberations of the second JWG meeting in finalizing the BIMSTEC Plan of Action on ECC.
The opening session of the conference was graced by His Excellency Dr. Tandin Dorji, Minister of Foreign Affairs & External Trade. There were more than 70 attendees including delegates from Member States and sectoral representatives from the Royal Government of Bhutan. The Conference on Environment and Climate Change (ECC) provides a forum for discussion among experts, participants from the Member States, relevant government officials from Bhutan, donors, and other agencies working on environment and climate change.
The session was categorized into four thematic areas, Climate vulnerability; Integrated approach to climate goals and governance in BIMSTEC; Technological cooperation, traditional and indigenous knowledge, Climate smart agri-food system in BIMSTEC; and Leveraging and Exploring markets for climate action. The conference will not only enable the convergence of the different thematic areas but will also bring into focus the inter-dependencies and linkages, supporting future collaborations and effective networking among the institutions and actors involved. Therefore, outcomes of the conference would take the discussion at the 2nd JWG Meeting to the next level and make the BIMSTEC Plan of Action on Environment and Climate Change, result-oriented and strengthening areas of cooperation, particularly on biodiversity conservation, waste management, and climate change in the BIMSTEC region and beyond. Currently, Bhutan is leading “Environment and Climate Change”, one of the seven priority sectors of BIMSTEC cooperation. The event successfully concluded on 12th October with the finalization of the Concept Note and the Plan of Action on Environment and Climate Change.