Three avenues, one goal

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In 1990, senior government officials gathered at Paro to draft broad parameters for the country’s development agenda. The conclusion was the “Paro Resolution on Environment and Sustainable Development”, a statement that redefined sustainability in the Bhutanese context. It read as, “The capacity and the political will to effectively address today’s development and environmental problems and tomorrow’s challenges without compromising Bhutan’s unique cultural integrity and historical heritage or the quality of life of future generations of Bhutanese citizens.” But given that the country had very little experience to draw from, formulating proactive measures was not an easy task.

nec set about the task to identify the economic avenues that would enable Bhutan to pursue “the middle path” to sustainable development. In 1993, it set up the nes task force to investigate the avenues and judge their environmental implications. The findings were finally released in 1998. To achieve sustainable development, nes focuses on hydropower, food production and industry. “The nes examines each avenue in detail and analyses the effects of development on the culture, tradition and religion,” says Kunzang Dorji, deputy director (information, communi