Sustainable development vis-à-vis environmental conservation is today well recognized as the key to welfare of the global community. Environmental conservation and sustainable development has been a major aspect of the Five Year Plans in Bhutan, and are also important components of Gross National Happiness (GNH).
This paper focuses on role of GIS as a media tool for gathering, storing, disseminating, reporting, analysing and sharing of quantitative and qualitative data, and information about the country’s natural and cultural resources.
This paper includes introduction of GIS & its components, latest developments in GIS technology and the role of GIS in sustainable development and environmental conservation.
The main findings of the paper are Bhutan has witnessed a rapid growth in the application of ICT within few years. Various sectors are involved in building their respective ICT infrastructure. Bhutan has so far been able to preserve their natural resources and maintain a healthy environment. The process of decentralization will transfer the functions, responsibilities, and powers to maintaining the ecological resources and the overall environment to the local communities. In Bhutan natural resources are controlled by the rural masses. The development of the information systems cannot be confined to the national level only but should also extend to the Dzongkhag (district) level, and eventually even to the geog (block) level. The most important prerequisites for sustainable development are the availability of accurate, reliable, up-to-date and standard data on natural and cultural resources of the country.
The author recommends that the establishment of a GIS-Database and the decentralization of information in the country can assist in planning, managing, monitoring, and disseminating information about natural and human resources, which is a prerequisite for attaining sustainable development vis-à-vis environmental conservation.