August 5, 2013, Thimphu - Coinciding with the visit of Her Majesty Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck to the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Her Majesty launched Jigme Khesar Environmental Research Fund (JKERF) as a part of the Jigme Khesar Environmental Resource Centre, which was launched in October 2012. The JKERF is launched under Her Majesty Gyaltsuen's initiative as the Royal Patron of the organization.
Bhutan's natural resources being the ultimate source of sustainability, the research fund will help to address an increasing need of science based information which is inadequately matched by research capacity in the country. It will also help to reduce dependency on external knowledge on our own natural resources.
A training was conducted from 12th to 19th May 2013 and the 2nd phase focusing on the refresher training was conducted from 7th to 11th June 2013 for homestay owners in Phobjikha. The training was conducted by the project team from RSPN and JEEF along with technical support of two trainers from the Royal Institute for Tourism and Hospitality (RITH) and with help and participation of the Service Division team from the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB).
A total of 9 local guides were trained in Phobjikha from 4th to 9th and 21st to 24 May 2013 under the community-based sustainable tourism project. The training was conducted by Mr. Masanori Shintani, a well-known international ecotourism interpretive trainer from Japan.
During the training the local guides were taught about the simple understanding of what ecotourism or community-based sustainable tourism is, and how being a good interpretive guide can add value to the tourist experience of a particular area.
A two-day membership program was organized by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature to mark the International Day of Biodiversity celebrated worldwide on 22nd May. A total of 29 RSPN adult members from diverse backgrounds and professions joined the trip to Samtengang in Wangduephodrang.
The United Nations has proclaimed 22nd May as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29th December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated as the International Day for Biological Diversity.