Statement for Press Conference: Bhutan+10 - Dr Ritu Verma

19 Oct 2012


Over the past week, Bhutan+10 brought together more than 200 energetic and enthusiastic participants from nearly 30 mountain countries from around the globe. One decade after the ‘Celebrating Mountain Women’ conference in 2002, they reflected on gains, best practices, innovations, and challenges. The words I’ve heard uttered in the plenary sessions and in the hallways, are ‘game changer’, ‘business as unusual’, ‘thinking out of the box’. What many of the mountain women and men are saying is that gender ‘mainstreaming’, on its own, has not been effective in delivering the gender positive change that is required for an equitable, inclusive, and happy society. 

Instead, participants have worked hard on four important cornerstones of gender-positive change: 

  • gender-focused and action-oriented research;
  • actionable policy and outreach on gender issues;
  • strengthening of gender analytical capacity and women’s leadership skills; and
  • networks and partnerships on gender and mountains. 

The significant achievements of the conference were awareness raising, knowledge sharing, laying the foundation for a gender and mountain network, and a strong declaration and statement on what mountain women and men want from sustainable development. Women environmental leaders were interviewed for a video which will inspire future generations of girls and women. A time capsule was prepared containing the participants’ hopes and wishes, only to be opened after a decade. 

The participants shared state-of-the-art research on gender, natural resource management, and mountains. They also looked towards the future, towards Bhutan+20, envisioning that the region will then have more women ministers and prime ministers. They called for alternative visions and approaches to development that do not focus only on economic opportunities at the expense of people and their environments; but rather that strongly integrate and focus on gender equality, culture, spirituality, and the psychological wellbeing of mountain women and men. Bhutan+10 will take away important learning from Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness, as it also focuses on improving the wellbeing and happiness of a healthy, thriving, and empowered society. 

Dr Ritu Verma
Division Head
Gender and Governance

Bhutan+10 Conference website