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Bhutan

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It is located in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, landlocked between the two great Asian civilizations, Tibet (China) to the north and the Indian States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim & West Bengal in the East, West, & South.

Bhutan is considered the happiest country in Asia and the eighth happiest country in the world.

› Facts and figures

  • Bhutan mapOfficial Name: Kingdom of Bhutan
  • Area: 38,394 Km2
  • Population: 683407 inhabitants (approximately)
  • Capital City: Thimphu
  • Currency: Ngultrum (BTN)
  • Latitude/Longitude: (Capital City) 27º 32' N, 89º 43' E
  • Languages: While Dzongkha (official), Sharshopkha, and Lhotsamkha (Nepalese) are the three major languages, English is also widely used and spoken
  • National Day: December 17
  • Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist (75%), Indian and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism (25%)
  • Climate: The weather in Bhutan varies from tropical in the south, to more moderate conditions in the central hills and valleys. In the far-north snowy days and cold temperatures are the norm. The summer monsoon season affects the entire country, so the spring and fall seasons are considered ideal, as they offer clear skies and low humidity. Summer high temperatures do approach 85º f, south and central, while winter lows vary drastically by elevation.

› Culture

Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact due to its isolation from the rest of the world until the early 1960s and its policies that preserves and promotes culture as it pursued modern development. One of the main attractions for tourists is the country's culture and traditions. Bhutanese tradition is deeply rooted in its Buddhist heritage. Hinduism is the second dominant religion in Bhutan, being most prevalent in the southern regions. Both religions co-exist peacefully and receive support from the government, and enjoy royal patronage.

› Government

Bhutan is a constitutional democratic monarchy. The transition to democracy was initiated by the throne going back to 1981 when the Forth King established the Dzongkhag Yargey Tshodue  ( District Development Committee) and then ten years later established the Gewog Yargey Tshogchhung ( Block Development Committee).  In 1998, His Majesty devolved executive powers to the council of ministers that was elected by the chimis (Members of Parliament) of National Assembly (parliament). The final step towards democratic transition took place with the drafting of the constitution that began in 2001 and the election of a new government in 2008. Bhutan’s constitution has been widely acclaimed as one of the best constitution and in 2011 the chairman of the constitution drafting committee was awarded the International Council of Jurists Award 2011.

› Economy

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy which contributes about 18.2% of the GDP and about 70% of the population depends on it for livelihood. GNP and GDP: The nominal GDP at market is estimated at Nu. 61223.5 million and a per capita GDP estimated at US$2109.3.). Bhutanese economy has experienced significant changes over the last decade. The share of primary sector comprising of agriculture and mining and quarrying has declined from 28% of the GDP in 2000 to 20.5% in 2009 and the share of secondary and tertiary sector is on the increase.. Hydropower and tourism are the two important source of revenue for the country.

› Religion

Drukpa Kagyue school of Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion. Hindu is the dominant faith in the South. Some residues of Bon, animism and shamanism still exist in some pockets of the country.

PSC Thematic Areas and Bhutan

› Gender

In Bhutan, participation of women in economic activities is high. However, patriarchal structures and attitudes are deeply rooted in some religions and cultures, which make the participation in social and political life rather sensible. Setting up a careful dialogue is important to widen perspectives in order to make the voice of women heard.

Download: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

› Access to sustainable energy and efficient energy use

The economy of Bhutan requires more energy everyday for its development, while household energy consumption increases progressively with changing lifestyles. Production of energy has a high impact on the environment and may contribute to the continuous deterioration of natural resources. Bhutan is self-sufficient in energy generated by run-off-river hydro power. Yet, many rural households are not connected to the national energy grid.

› Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

Costa Rica and Bhutan have cooperated in the establishment of legal structures and policies to promote the conservation of biodiversity. Costa Rica and Bhutan have already collaborated in the field of biodiversity legislation which has resulted in the Bhutan Biodiversity Act of 2003.

› Sustainable production and consumption chains

Bhutan, Benin and Costa Rica share patterns of constraints related to the generation of income and increasing employment through sustainable supply chains. Rural production systems are either geared towards self-sufficiency or focus on environmentally unfriendly commodity production. Polices to specifically promote sustainable production initiatives are scarce. Producer organisations often lack the human capacities and organisational strengths to adequately support producers in their quest for more sustainable production systems and markets for their products. Export of products to Europe is frequently hampered by high quality standards, regulations and import restrictions. In Bhutan, a wide range of knowledge and experience exists on the organic production of medicinal and aromatic plants.

› Sustainable tourism

All three PSC partner countries dispose of natural, social and cultural resources that are valuable assets for tourism. While tourism is a major source of foreign currency and may contribute to income generation, its benefits are often poorly distributed while communities that are object of tourism may be confronted with serious side effects. These may include, among others: habitat destruction and other forms of pressure on natural resources; social disruption; prostitution; child abuse; and cultural erosion.

Local communities and tourism organisations often lack the knowledge and information on how to reduce the negative effects and enhance the sustainability of tourism operations, thus contributing to local income generation.

Each of the three countries has its own approach to developing the tourism sector and has gained experience with the mitigation of side effects.

In Bhutan, tourism is targeted towards high-end arrivals due to lack of facilities and the avoidance of mass tourism. However, in order to derive maximum benefit from tourism, a master plan has been developed and liberalisation of tourism pricing is under review with product diversification to increase the arrival of tourists in the country.

› Bhutan links

Taken from www.worldatlas.com and www.en.wikipedia.org