Organizer: Department of Research and External Relations, Office of the Vice Chancellor, Thimphu, Bhutan
The landscape governance is an innovative approach in the sustainable management of ecosystem goods and services to improve the livelihoods of the landscapes’ inhabitants, while enhancing ecological integrity, economic development and socio-cultural resilience in an integrated manner.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu and Centre for Development Innovations (CDI), Wageningen University have coordinated several regional consultations with ICIMOD’s 8 member countries to define and understand the capabilities which landscape professionals need to have in order to facilitate participatory landscape governance on the ground.
Together with the Royal University of Bhutan these capabiities have been turned into a draft curriculum at BSc level, and will therefore be the first university in the Hindu Kush Himalaya Region to have a formal curriculum on Landscape Governance, with the aim to deliver a new generation of integrated landscape professionals, practitioners and poilcy makers, leading to long term improvement of NRM and spatial planning within Bhutan’s future.
Why Landscape Governance in Bhutan and why now?
Bhutan’s new Five Year Development Plan sets out new elements of greater inclusivity in development planning by engaging all stakeholders and building a national consensus to ensure that every stakeholder can identify him or herself with the Plan, and commit to its outcomes. Coordination, Consolidation and Collaboration have been identified as fundamental principles underpinning the goals, strategies and programmes of the plan, and cut across all the sectors and development actors in the country. Introducing the concept of Landscape Governance and having it mainstreamed in its education system will therefore be very helpful in the operationalisatioon of the new Five Year Development Plan, and will provide a good framework for spatial policy integration at the national scale.
Moreover, the concept of Landscape Governance fits in Bhutan’s national policy framework of Gross National Happiness, and may contribute to its operationalisation at the landscape level.
The role of the Royal University of Bhutan
The Royal University of Bhutan is the premier institution in Bhutan that is tasked to foster centres of excellence in teaching, research and innovation, and community service that are recognized internationally. Specific to natural resources, RUB institutions are responsible to:
- Contribute to science and knowledge by conducting research and policy analyses in relevant problem areas;
- Mainstream scientific research findings into environmental policy and decision-making processes, and
- Train current and future generation of conservation and environmental leaders, practitioners and academics.
The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) with several on-going initiatives of delivering environmental governance and well-being initiatives is well placed to take the leadership of delivering “Landscape Governance Curriculum” to be implemented by one of its professional colleges specialised in enironmental management. As the RUB is an active member of the Himalayan University Consortium (HUC) which aims to promote inter-university collaborations among HUC members in mainstreaming best-practices throughout the region. The RUB currently holds the honorary title of “The first ICIMOD Mountain Chair”, and is therefore strategically positioned to invest in landscape curriculum development havnig a regional impact.