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On a personal note...

Posted on 12 March 2008

I was lucky to be born and raised in a society that has understood and appreciated the value of nature and taken measures to protect it long before the topic became a buzz word. The tiny Buddhist kingdom, nestled in the Himalayas between China and India, is small in size (about the same size as Switzerland) but is recognized internationally as a giant in the field of environmental conservation.
I was lucky to be born and raised in a society that has understood and appreciated the value of nature and taken measures to protect it long before the topic became a buzz word. The tiny Buddhist kingdom, nestled in the Himalayas between China and India, is small in size (about the same size as Switzerland) but is recognized internationally as a giant in the field of environmental conservation. Coming from this developing country but having lived in the ‘western world’, I lost touch with my own country. However, the opportunity provided by WWF to travel and work in Madagascar brought similarities between Bhutan and Madagascar and brought me back to my roots, making me realize my personal passions, such as conservation of the environment.

In Bhutan’s development policy, Gross National Happiness (GNH), guided by our fourth King, the promotion and protection of the environment is one of its pillars. GNH is rooted in the Buddhist philosophy that the ultimate purpose in life is inner happiness. It follows a more holistic approach to development, tying in social, cultural and environmental values, without economic growth being the ultimate objective. This is similar to the visionary President of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana who put forward the Durban Vision in 2003 with the aim of tripling Madagascar’s protected areas to a total of 6 million hectares. As he said during a Press Release, “Anyone who says conservation and development cannot work hand-in-hand is wrong.”

“It is important to stress the positive impact that biodiversity conservation has on economic development and quality of life.”  Source: Conservation International- Press Releases- Madagascar Creates 1 Million Hectares of New Protected Areas