In Bhutan, Conserving the Natural Environment and Biodiversity
About the Author: Timothy Neely serves as Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.
Do you know which country’s constitution promises that a minimum of 60 percent its land area will be maintained as forest for all time? Which country’s government pledges to protect, conserve, and improve the pristine environment and safeguard the biodiversity of the country; prevent pollution and ecological degradation; secure ecologically balanced sustainable development while promoting justifiable economic and social development; and ensure a safe and healthy environment? The answer is the Kingdom of Bhutan, a small Himalayan country located between China and India. Bhutan’s use of a “Gross National Happiness” index to measure progress, rather than GDP, is well-known, but fewer people know of the importance that Bhutan attaches to conserving its natural environment and biodiversity.
The Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in Thimphu, Bhutan… more »
Information for U.S. Citizens Affected by the Azamara Cruise Ship Incident
Udpate: The Azamara Quest cruise ship has docked at Sandakan, Malaysia. U.S. Consular Officers are on hand to assist U.S. citizens. You can follow @USEmbassyKL on Twitter for additional updates.
We are aware of reports that a fire broke out and was subsequently put out on board the Azamara Quest cruise ship in the Sulu Sea en route to Sandakan, Malaysia. The cruise line has stated that five crew members were injured, including one seriously. There have been no reports of any injuries among the passengers. The cruise line reported that propulsion has been restored and the ship will sail to Sandakan, Malaysia and all passengers will disembark.
The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has responsibility for providing consular services for U.S. citizens in Sandakan, on the Island of Borneo, and has sent a consular service team to Sandakan to provide assistance to American citizen passengers on board the Azamara Quest.
We understand there are US citizens on board and are prepared to offer all appropriate consular assistance, if requested. We are not aware of any injuries to US citizens. Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to provide any further information about these passengers without their permission. Inquiries may be addressed to the U.S. Department of State at telephone 1-888-407-4747.
Embassy officials are in contact with the Malaysian authorities and cruise line representatives. We appreciate the assistance of Malaysian authorities throughout this incident.
January 2012 Designated “21st Century Statecraft Month”
The U.S. Department of State has designated January 2012 as 21st Century Statecraft month. Twenty-first Century Statecraft complements traditional foreign policy by harnessing and adapting the digital networks and technologies of today’s interconnected world.
The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Missions abroad have developed a range of initiatives to showcase U.S. diplomatic leadership in leveraging digital networks and technologies in service of its foreign policy goals. Throughout the month of January, U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. and at U.S. Missions abroad will host digital engagements across multiple social media platforms on a wide array of issues to directly connect with the public on foreign policy issues that matter to them. Next week’s engagements include the following events:
- The Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Innovation Alec Ross will participate in a Live at State video web chat with journalists and bloggers from around the world to discuss 21st Century Statecraft on Tuesday, January 10 at 09:45 a.m. EST. You can watch a live webcast of the discussion on video.state.gov.
- The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince will hold a Twitter Q&A via @USEmbassyHaiti to discuss our ongoing partnership with the people and government of Haiti two years after the earthquake in January 2010. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, January 11 at 11:00 a.m. EST.
- The U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna will hold a Virtual Town Hall about nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, and nuclear safety on Friday, January 13. You are invited to submit and post your questions any time between now and then. Chargé d’Affairs Robert Wood will provide answers via video during the week of January 23. The Bureau of International Organization Affairs will post the video responses on its Tumblr page devoted to U.S. engagement with the United Nations and other international organizations.
- The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Ramsar Convention Secretariat will showcase the public’s photography in celebration of World Wetlands Day on February 2. Now through January 20, submit your best wetlands photographs via Flickr.
- In 2012, U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the beginning of the Peace Corps program in Malaysia. From December 31-January 31, the embassy will gather via Facebook photographs and stories related to the Peace Corps era in Malaysia (1962-1983). Follow @usembassykl for updates, as some of the photographs and stories will be featured in a Peace Corps 50th Anniversary publication and photo exhibition.
In addition, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland will take questions from the public selected from the Department’s 10 official Twitter feeds (Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu) and answer them from the press briefing room each Friday during the month of January. Questions can be submitted using the hashtag #AskState.
Stay tuned to www.state.gov, the DipNote blog, @StateDept on Twitter and the U.S. Department of State’s official Facebook page for additional engagement opportunities on our social media platforms throughout 21st Century Statecraft month.