The bilateral mechanism will promote closer and long-term cooperation between the two countries in the field of environment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Bhutan on cooperation in the areas of environment.

It will enable establishment and promotion of closer and long-term cooperation between the two countries in the field of environment protection and management of natural resources on the basis of equity, reciprocity and mutual benefits, taking into account the applicable laws and legal provisions in each country.

Keeping in view the bilateral interest of both sides and mutually agreed priorities, a MoU covering the following areas of environment has been considered:

• Air;

• Waste;

• Chemical Management;

• Climate Change;

• Any other areas jointly decided upon.

This MoU shall enter into force on the date of signature and shall continue to remain in force for a period of ten years. The participants intend to encourage organizations, private companies, government institutions at all levels and research institutions on both sides to establish cooperation activities aimed at fulfilling the objectives of the MoU.

The participants also intend to hold Joint Working Group and bilateral meetings to review and analyze the progress of activities and shall keep their respective Ministries/Agencies, duly informed of progress and achievements.

The MoU shall facilitate exchange of experiences, best practices and technical knowhow through both public and private sectors and shall contribute to sustainable development. The MoU provides the possibility for joint projects in areas of mutual interest. However, no significant employment generation is envisaged.

The financial implications of the proposed MoU are limited to holding of the bilateral meetings / Joint Working Group meetings which shall meet alternatively in India and Bhutan. The sending side shall bear the travel cost of their delegation while the receiving side is to meet the cost of organizing the meetings and other logistic arrangements. These are the limited financial implications of the proposed MoU.

It should be noted that MoU was signed between the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) of India and the National Environment Commission (NEC) of Bhutan March 11, 2013. This MoU expired on March 10, 2016.

Noting the benefits of the earlier MoU, both sides have decided to continue cooperation and collaboration in the field of Environment.

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