Bhutan’s plans for safer roads
Travelling throughout Bhutan leaves you many times with breathtaking beautiful views on this mysterious country. Narrow windy roads over steep mountains, overlooking lush valleys and dormit villages. Yet travelling on Bhutan’s roads can be safer. According to the Traffic Division of the Royal Bhutan Police the past 5 years 319 people were killed and 2.648 injured in road accidents. This means a yearly death toll of 66 people. Last year for every 10.000 registered cars, busses and trucks a fatility rate of 15 deaths was the sad statistic outcome. Compared to international standards, this rate is rather high. Therefore Bhutan has made a 10-year plan to make driving in Bhutan safer. The governement recently launched the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’, with outlining plans and programs to improve road safety between 2011 and 2020. Goal of the plan is reducing the deaths caused by road accidents by two thirds and road accidents bij 50% bij 2020. Since most of the accidents are caused by human errors, the focus lies on education, traffic rules enforcement, post-accident response and the engineering and design of roads. Read more  

Climate change in Bhutan
At first view you wouldn’t say that the worldwide concerns for rapid climat change have also affected this pristine Dragon Country. Yet sadly the statistics show differently. As a preparation fot the climate summit that will be held in Bhutan in October, a survey was conducted with climat change and biodiversity as its main theme. The survey revealed that all over the country people have observed the impact of the climat change. Most in the picture were changing weather patterns like a rising temperature, change in frost occurence, more erratic and less reliable rainfall and a great decrease in snowfall of 24.6% in the Eastern Himalayas. In the high Mountains the number of alpine plants decreased, where the Juniper scrub forest increased. There was also an increase in the population of bears, barking deers, rabbits, macaqus and wild boars, whereas the population of tigers, elephants, wild dogs, common crows, ring doves, hornbills and vultures declined. Read more 

Extra effort to improve economic position of Bhutanse women
Recent studies have shown that woman all over Bhutan still lag behind in business. To enhance their economic position and business opportunities, Bhutan receives a $ 1.95 million assistence from regional and internationlal funding agencies like the Asian Development Bank and the Japanese governement. This money will be used to mainstream and monitor the capacity of government agencies for women’s economic empowerment, like the National Commission for Woman and Children. Bhutan’s Ministry of Labour & Human Resources will provide skills training and trade apprentice ships for women who want to become business entrepreneurs. In addition, the Ministry will support building ties with NGO’s who focus on providing economic opportunities for micro enterpreses run by woman. In a 12-month apprenticeship 600 young Bhutanese, amongst them 80% women, will be given tools and stimulation to start micro Enterprises and other livelihood activities. Another $ 548,000 will be added to the project which lasts for 3 years, by Bhutan’s Royal government. Read more  

Tiger experts recommend tiger-friendly policies
To protect the tiger conservation landscape, several recommandations were made during a workshop held last week in Thimphu. Practitioners from the tiger range countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, Nepal and Indonesia, a team from the World Bank and Global Tiger Initiatives attended this ‘Smart Green Infrastructure (SGI) in Tiger Conservation Landscapes’. Main outcome was the conservation of tiger landscapes is not only a responsability of the forest and wildlife department, but a shared responsability of public agencies, civil society and the private sector. All sectors have to contribute to the resources which are necessary to protect this important animal.
One of the recommandations was developing an overall hydropower development strategy which takes into account the sensitive environment areas, including tiger breeding zones. Other recommandations were the development of tiger conservation landscapes, encircling habitats, corridors, buffer zones, wider production landscapes and the use and enhancing of existing in-park road guideles in order to protect the core habitat of the tigers. Tigers are considred an iconic indicator of biodiversity, wildlife and ecosystems. The World wide rapid decrease of tiger population points out the necessity for protection. Read more  

Bhutan’s Royal wedding
After the remarkable wedding of prins William of the United Kingdom with Kate Middleton last month and the wedding of prins Albert of Monaco which will be held in the beginning of July, Bhutan also will celebrate a Royal wedding. King Jigme Wangchuck has announced he will get married in October. His bride-to-be is Jetsun Prema, a commoner with distant royal connections. Bhutan’s beloved 31-year old king stated that “As a King, now is the time for me to marry” during the opening of the 7th parliament session. “To me, she is the one” he stated with a smile. The announcement was made in the presence of royal family members, government officials, representatives of international organisations, students and the public. Miss Prema is 21 and studied in India, Bhutan and England. In recent months she already accompanied the king on Royal tours throughout Bhutan. In agreement with the King’s wishes, the wedding will be a simple ceremony in keeping with Bhutan’s age old traditions. Read more