UNDP supports update of Bhutan’s National Transport Policy

Nov 23, 2016

From top left: MoIC Secretary addressing the participants, group work and participants.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) and UNDP Bhutan held a multi-stakeholder consultation to update the National Transport Policy on November 23 in Thimphu.

The national transport policy, currently in force, was drafted in 2006. Hence, the policy does not fit into new emerging issues. The policy also does not cover the institutional structure, planning and coordination of the transport sector.

Therefore the Ministry reckons it timely to update the transport sector for which the policy needs to address inclusiveness, sustainability, safety, efficiency and environment-friendliness.

Dasho Karma Wangchuk Penjor, the Secretary of MoIC in his opening statement said that the new transport policy needs to address various aspects of the transport sector such as environmental measures to control pollution, fitness of old vehicles and congestion in towns like Thimphu and Phuentsholing.

He further added that drafting the policy will not be enough until it is implemented for which law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) and the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) need to be supported to enhance human resources and equipment requirements. Currently only 60 RSTA inspectors are monitoring 83,000 registered vehicles in the country.

Mr. Rajaji Meshram, Director of KPMG consultancy said that the firm’s objective is to assist the Government of Bhutan to make the National Transport Policy inclusive, sustainable and implementable. The work on the policy started in November 2016 and a final draft will be ready by May 2017

The workshop was attended by more than 45 participants from various government organizations, Civil Society Organizations, private sector and Insurance companies. During the consultation, participants worked in groups focusing on critical aspects needed for a good transport policy. The participants were divided into four groups on safety and regulation, environment and sustainability, inclusiveness and innovation.

Prem P. Adhikari, the Chief Transport Officer for Thimphu underlined the lack of vehicle standardization and clarification on the need to dedicate responsibility for the provision of certification and regulation of such policies. Participants also highlighted that the policy needs to be more inclusive to ensure that persons with disability, children, women and the elderly are not left out.

Chief Transport Officer Karma Pemba from RSTA said that the taxes must be charged on road users which can be used to maintain the road condition.

Hereafter, the ministry and UNDP Bhutan will be conducting similar consultations with various sectors. This initiative is supported under the Low Emission Capacity Building project with assistance from UNDP Bhutan, European Union, Government of Australia and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. 

For more information, contact;

Nawaraj Chhetri at: nawaraj.chhetri@undp.org

Sonam Rabgye at: sonam.rabgye@undp.org

Pushkar Chhetri at: pushkar.chhetri@undp.org