At its 23rd Board Meeting held on 7th July, 2019, the GCF approved USD 25.3 million in support of Bhutan’s efforts to prepare and adapt to climate change and ensuring that Bhutan is heading towards low carbon and climate-resilient developments.
“As a mountainous agricultural country, climate change is proving extremely disruptive and expensive for Bhutan. Flooding and landslides during monsoon have caused extensive damages to vital infrastructure like roads, access to market, and rural livelihoods. Conversely, during the dry season, there has been an increasing pressure on drinking and irrigation water” said Mr. Thinley Namgyel, Secretary of Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and GCF National Designated Authority (NDA) in Bhutan.
He added the financing support has come at the right time in helping to bridge the resource gap of the 12th plan and addressing climate change issues, particularly in the Agriculture sector, which is one of the priority sectors in the 12th plan.
The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) accessed the above fund. “GNHC acknowledges GCF Secretariat, UNDP and all other relevant government agencies, including RGoB Mission Offices for the solidarity and team work in successfully securing the fund,” the commission said.
“Bhutan’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) highlights that the rural poor will be hit the hardest by climate change and its related impacts. This project, therefore, directly responds to the rural communities’ needs and address their challenges in the agriculture sector,” said Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative of UNDP Bhutan.
“With a long history of strong partnership with the GNHC, both at the policy and community levels, UNDP is pleased to support this project and concretely contribute to the Government’s top priority and Sustainable Development Goals.”
The project would primarily benefit the rural communities through provision of sustainable land and water management, more climate-resilient irrigation and agriculture, and climate-resilient roads. The project will also work with government agencies to mainstream climate change risks into land and water management planning.
In addition to supporting the 12th plan, the project is in coherence with the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs – including no poverty (SDG 1), gender equality (SDG 5), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), climate action (SDG 13) – and aligns well with Bhutan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the global Paris Agreement.
By the end of the project, it is anticipated that over 400km of roads will be climate-proofed, 8,000 hectares of farmland will have reliable climate-resilient irrigation schemes, and crop yields would be increased by 30%.
GNHC and UNDP will provide strategic and oversight roles to the project while local governments and agencies like the National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology, Department of Agriculture, Department of Industry, Department of Forest and Park Services, and Department of Roads will implement the project.
The project implementation is expected to begin from January 2020 and complete by 31st December 2025.