|The Honourable Chief Justice of Bhutan, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye.|
Gender and Sustainable Mountain Development in a Changing World Conference
By Tribhuban Pavael, Nepal
Conference started at 5 PM October 14 with Grand Opening ceremony at Thimpu, Bhutan there were more than 150 delegates from different continents including Europe, America, Africa, and Asia representing different organizations. There were 12 delegates form IFAD-funded Projects in Nepal, India, China, Afghanistan, The Philippines, Ethiopia, Bolivia, and Uganda representing different projects. Ms Maija Peltola has coordinated the delegates of IFAD.
Opening ceremony was started with holy words of Buddhist Monks for good wishes to the success of the conference. It was followed with a welcome address by Honorable Lyonpo Thakur Sharma Powdyal, Minister of Education and Chair of the National Commission for Women and Children, Bhutan.
Then, Opening remarks started with incredible words by Honorable Lyonpo Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture Bhutan. He highlighted that there can be no equity with justice that is gender justice. We have achieved so far in gender equality in the mountain areas however there are miles to go for gender equality.
In the series of opening remarks, Dr. David Molden, Director General, ICIMOD, highlighted the situation of feminization of not only agriculture but also landscapes of mountain with 1.3 billion peoples. He said that this conference is for setting new agendas for action and look after for its achievements may be after 10 years. ICIMOD as an organization is not only working for gender equality but also being a better working place for women and trying to be a gender balanced organisation which creates greater spaces for women. Finally, he thanked the funding partners including IFAD.
In the series of opening remarks, Dr. Christoph Beier, Vice Chair of Management Board, GIZ, Matthias Meier of SDC, Flbegzaya Batjargal of Mountain Partnership, Ralf Schinkel of SNV and Maija Peltola of IFAD provided their opening remarks.
Maija Peltola in her speech highlighted that since its establishment in1978, IFAD is promoting gender equality through its activities in enhancing food security and eradicating rural poverty. She challenged the conference participants to think “out of the box”, and to take every opportunity to share their experiences and to learn from each others. The conference should bring about new and innovative ideas, knowledge and insight. “We will have opportunity for high-level panel discussions with policy makers, presentations and discussion with experts, practitioners and those who work at field level. Let us take this opportunity to share, learn and innovate, and so contribute to sustainable and gender-sensitive development of mountain regions across the world.”
This was followed by inaugural keynote address by Honorable Chief Justice of Bhutan Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye, The Supreme Court, Royal Court of Justice. And a speech was delivered by H.E Mr. Heikki Holmas, Minister of International Development, and Government of Norway.
After this, two Study Reports were launched: a) Gender and Biodiversity Management in the Greater Himalayas, and b) National Commission on Women and Children Report on Women's Participation in the 2011 National Election in Bhutan.
This conference will be a good gathering for learning, sharing and setting new agenda and directions for greater gender transformative changes in the future.
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