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Bhutan Leads the World in Preserving the Environment

As the world community struggles to come to grips with global warming and climate change, the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan// may be about to show the way ahead.

Bhutan is set to become the first nation in the world where the citizens will have a constitutional obligation to preserve the environment, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

As representatives from 24 nations of Asia gather in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu on Tuesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Ozone, the Bhutan government will clearly create a landmark in the international drive to protect the environment.

The government of Bhutan has made environmental protection a centerpiece in its development agenda. Article 5 of the constitution emphasizes the need for every citizen of the country to protect the environment, conserve its rich biodiversity and prevent ecological degradation including noise, visual and physical pollution through the adoption of environment friendly practices and ethos.

The article also allows the parliament to enact environmental legislation and implement environmental standards and instruments based on the precautionary principle, polluter pay principle, maintenance of intergenerational equity.

Bhutan has thus become the first state to ensure sustainable use of natural resources and reaffirm the sovereign rights of the state over its own biological resources and also that natural resources are used in a way that benefits present and future generations.

The key drivers promoting intergenerational equity are the protocol's precautionary approach i.e., take preventative action to avoid damage to the ozone layer, and elimination of use of ozone depleting chemicals in a cost-effective manner.

By phasing out the production and consumption of ozone depleting chemicals, the governments, industries and individuals involved are contributing to the red
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