A complete detailed report is to be submitted to the UN in the spring of 2014
New Development Paradigm Experts from across the world, specialising in various fields, bringing as varied and often contrasting views, a taste of which Bhutanese participants at the first international expert working group meeting were greeted with, met yesterday in the capital.
The difference in views notwithstanding, some 40 or so experts were brought together by a common goal of contributing towards drafting a new development paradigm, one that would substitute the existing GDP-driven model.
Members of the steering committee for the new development paradigm said about 20 more experts had not made it to the meeting.
One of the members of the steering committee, information and communications secretary Dasho Kinley Dorji, said by the end of the four-day meeting, they would have a clear idea of the dimensions of a new development paradigm.
“We call this a broad conceptual framework, and by conceptual framework, we mean the dimensions, of a new development paradigm,” he said. “That will be submitted to the UN this year.”
Following a three-day discussion among a group of 15 to 20 experts, led by the Centre for Bhutan Studies president Dasho Karma Ura, before the meeting, dimensions taken from the nine existing GNH domains, were presented yesterday.
As a follow up to that, about four speakers in today’s session will identify the dimensions, following which a bigger group of experts in various fields of health, education, culture, psychology, ecology and economics would come in.
But before the bigger group of experts convened, in his opening address, Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley said the first task would be to develop the conceptual foundation, including defining what they meant by development and by a new paradigm.
“That must comprise clear statements of vision, goals, intended outcomes and strategies,” he said, adding the experts would also have to discuss if the nine dimensions of the Bhutanese model were appropriate or adequate.
“Indeed, we need to determine that conceptual basis and framework clearly and unambiguously for ourselves before we assign tasks and divide into specific sub groups to flesh out the details of the new paradigm,” he said.
Once that was done, Dasho Kinley Dorji said, the experts, based on their expertise, would be broken into groups under different identified dimensions.
“We’ll give them deadlines to prepare the report,” Dasho Kinley Dorji said. “That’s going to be proposed to the UN and, therefore, it’s proposed for all the countries.”
Lyonchhoen also said a detailed and complete report must be submitted in the spring of 2014.
“Well in time for active deliberations on the post millennium development agenda,” he said. “This gives us a little over a year.”
Lyonchhoen said the group’s collective endeavour was to present to the UN a new development paradigm to promote human happiness and the well being of all life forms within a sustainable environment.
This, he said, was to be considered for implementation in the post Millennium Development Goals (2015) world.
“The heartening thing is the UN is actively engaged in the search for a global development vision and strategy to replace the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.
What was required for the proposal to succeed, Lyonchhoen said, was for the group to be able to demonstrate the practical viability of the recommendations.
“It should be done in the most convincing ways and with the best of evidence,” he said. “This will require major time and resource commitments, and involve tremendous hard work from all of us over the next one year.”