Experts will work within each of the nine domains to enrich it
New Development Paradigm For the remaining days of the ongoing international expert working group meeting, which ends on February 2, experts will work within each of the nine GNH domains.
The decision was reached at the meeting yesterday, where following almost six hours of debate and disagreements, experts working on the new development paradigm were unable to agree on the domains that would help flesh it out.
Some experts continued their heated arguments, even while serving lunch from one end of the table to the other, oblivious to what went into their plates.
Back at the convention centre, a chart on the screen, initially of a few rows, in two columns that placed the existing development paradigm against the new proposed ones, stretched into almost the same number as some of the most expressive experts at the meeting, deleting, adding and improving on what went into the rows on the chart.
Concerned about the limited time left to present the report to the UN, members from the Bhutanese side proposed that experts work within each of the nine GNH domains of psychological wellbeing, standard of living and happiness, good governance and gross national happiness, health, education, community vitality, cultural diversity and resilience, time use and happiness, ecological diversity and resilience.
An additional 10th domain was added to accommodate any fresh ideas that the existing nine lacked.
The idea was for the experts to stick to the nine domains, but use their experience and expertise to critique the domains and articulate views.
The experts, will today split into groups, based on their fields of expertise into the nine domains where they will put their collective intellects, efforts and their minds.
“We want the experts to join the group where they think they can make the greatest difference and allocate the best time and efforts,” one member said.
One of the experts Jean Timsit said such confusion was expected, especially when there were many experts in as many a field.
“All experts have is figures to help with and evidences of best applied practices for Bhutan to chose from,” he said.
Another expert said some were proposing for inclusion of tax for things they deemed were against the idea of happiness and changes in policies for governments across the world.
“Imagine Bhutan standing in front of the UN, in front of the Amerian president and telling governments to tax their people and change policies,” he said. “They’ll tell you to go back to your country.”
At a time when the world was sinking in a debt that was nearly Everest in scale, people across the world, some experts said, saw Bhutan’s concept of GNH, as a way out of despair.
“The Bhutanese people should make clear how to go about this,” Jean Timsit said, adding Bhutan needed to give clear directions.
“It is Bhutan’s call and it’s Bhutan’s show,” another expert added.
On the other hand, David Suzuki, said such debates were necessary.
“It’s an interesting process, a deliberatve process,” he said. In the remaining days of the meeting, he said there would be compromises and people would give in.
“They’ll say ‘yes, ok you think that’s important lets settle for that’ and that’s the process that we have here,” he said. “And that’s the advantage of having a King who can say this is the way I want it, and everybody will accept it.”
“It’s very painful, but I think it will work eventually,” he said. “The world hopes it works.”
Members of the steering committee said they had until spring of 2013 to present to the UN the first document comprising the domains.
One expert said they had to work on some 20-30 page document and produce a report in time for the next year’s general assembly.
“For the report that’s going to the UN in June, there will be only nine domains,” she said. “The report must go under the aegis of the Bhutanese government.”
By Samten Wangchuk