At present, the world community recognizes the existence of environmental crisis, especially global climate change which becomes direct environmental threat to human survival and sustainability. One of the essential causes is the imbalance of human consumption over the scope of the earth’s carrying capacity. Even though there are numerous attempts to solve these problems, for instance the application of technology which can settle one facet, they oftentimes are too late and may cause other unexpected problems. Eventually the paths to lasting solution may to include the change of life-style based on over-consumption, particularly in developed countries and wealthy people in developing countires.
In the meantime, the concepts of Oriental Wisdom, such as GNH of Bhutan and Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty the King of Thailand, receive increasing acceptance as probable solutions to the world since they can help reduce consumption demands while generating happiness. The Good Governance for Social Development and Environment Institute (GSEI), therefore views that the study on Oriental Wisdom in natural resources and environmental management can play a crucial role in relieving the problem, not only for Thailand but at the global level. GSSEI proposed to organize an aliance workshop on the 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona during 5-14 October 2008. It presented a good opportunity in disseminating the outcomes of applying the concept of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in natural resources and environmental management to a wider audience.
Prior to the workshop in Barcelona, Thailand Research Fund (TRF) had supported GSEI in conducting research project on “A synthesis of Oriental Wisdom concept and approach in natural resource and environmental management leading to international workshop” and publications on the results of “Workshop on Oriental Wisdom: Alternative Pathways towards Environmental and Natural Resources Management”. These are the lessons learnt from several case studies which applied the concept of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in natural resource and environmental management. At the same time, GSEI had consulted with Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) on the possibility in disseminating Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in the environmental aspect at an international forum. Such international forum was not only focus on the application of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy but also on Oriental Wisdom which can be applied to the development and the environmental conservation. This would create also an international cooperation coinciding with the objectives of TICA. Hence, it granted financial support in organizing this international conference.
This book covers all the substance of both international conferences in which GSEI organized with the support from Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) as follows.
1) An international workshop on “Oriental Wisdom: Alternative Pathways towards Environmental and Natural Resource Management” during 10-11 April 2008 at Royal Princess Hotel, Bangkok.
2) With an honor from IUCN, GSEI co-organized Alliances Workshop on “Living with Nature through Oriental Wisdom for our Common Future” on 7 October 2008 as part of The 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The first international conference did not only aim to present the outcome of research study on “A synthesis of Oriental Wisdom concept and approach in natural resource and environmental management” but also to provide a stage where opinions and suggestions can be exchanged among researchers from various countries in Asia. These researchers shared concepts on alternative development in natural resource and environmental management which included: Alternative Development from India, Community Development from Bangladesh, Circular Economy from China, 3R from Japan, and GNH from Bhutan. Experiences from each country reveal the approaches in dealing with crisis which can be categorized into:
(1) Technology: Circular Economy (CE) of China and 3R (Reduce Reuse Recycle) of Japan which are macro-management
(2) Community based approaches by India and Bangladesh which are considered as micro level management focusing on community experiences in preservation and poverty reduction by traditional wisdom. This pointed out that local wisdom can be harmonized with existing resource management.
(3) The spiritual sides which are GNH (Gross National Happiness) of Bhutan and Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of Thailand give significance to spiritual level, morality and a combination of Buddhist thinking. Orental Wisdom 7 8 Orental Wisdom For the 2nd international conference, GSEI received honor from IUCN to co-organize Alliances Workshop on Living with Nature through Oriental Wisdom for our Common Future on 7 October 2008 as part of The 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The Alliances Workshop aimed at
(1) distributing the concept of applying Sufficiency Economy Philosophy as Oriental Wisdom in environmental and natural resource management,
(2) providing stage for exchange of ideas, recommendations and suggestions on knowledge and local wisdoms in natural resource and environmental management of different countries in Asia, and
(3) building of cooperative networks with other international agencies to promote the application of the alternative development based on Oriental Wisdom for sustainable development.
Apart from co-organizing this Alliances Workshop, GSEI with support from Thailand Research Fund produced promotional video disks on Oriental Wisdom to be distributed to other participants from various countries which received great attention. GSEI also had an honor from significant members of IUCN to be resource persons in the workshop, namely Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman of Development Alternative Group and IUCN’s President Candidate to give insights on alternative development and Mr. Abdul- Muyeed Chowdhury, Executive of BRAC, the biggest NGO in Bangladesh to share ideas on community development in natural resources and environmental management.
Since Dr. Ashok Khosla was elected the next IUCN President at the 4th IUCN Congress, this provides a good opportunity in building networks of collaboration and extending activities on applying Oriental Wisdom in natural resource and environmental management with IUCN’s regional and global networks further from Barcelona. This book consists of two parts which are the details of an international workshop on “Oriental Wisdom: Alternative Pathways towards Environmental and Natural Resource Management” during 10-11 April 2008 at Royal Princess Hotel, Bangkok and the conclusions of Alliances Workshop on “Living with Nature through Oriental Wisdom for our Common Future” on 7 October 2008 as part of The 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain.