UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubota (third from left) and GEF-SGP National Coordinator Tshering Phuntsho (first from left) with Zhenphen Group, a Community Based Organization led by young persons with blindness. Zhenphen's project 'Nature for All' will create an inclusive nature garden at the Royal Botanical Garden in Thimphu.


11 February 2021: The GEF-Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan, has approved 11 projects worth Nu. 23.6 million with average project grant size of Nu. 2.14 million.

These 11 projects are the first lot of projects approved under the SGP-UNDP’s Operational Phase 7 (2020-2024). They were selected from a total of 37 project proposals received by the GEF-SGP Secretariat.

The projects will be implemented by eight grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) and two civil-society organizations (CSOs). The Memorandum of Agreements were signed between UNDP and the grantees virtually on 1st February 2021.

While some projects seek to conserve biodiversity, others are focused on sustainable land and forest management. Some projects will address climate change and related issues including water shed management.

Besides environment focus, most of the projects will also contribute towards COVID-19 recovery efforts. It will do so by addressing the root causes of vulnerability and enhancing resilience to help the communities build back better.

“I am glad that the projects are linked with the priorities of the Royal Government. I hope that these grants will benefit the communities with which the grassroots CBOs and CSOs are working together,” GNHC Secretary Thinley Namgyel said.

“I am happy and excited that we are signing 11 memorandums of agreements with grassroots CBOs and CSOs,” UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubota said. “This unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic crisis has unequally and more severely affected vulnerable groups: urban and rural poor, women, persons with disabilities, and others.  I am confident that these projects will proactively address the impacts of the pandemic and help the communities to recover and build back better.

The projects will be implemented in six districts over periods ranging from 6 to 24 months. Four projects have national coverage. The projects were able to garner co-financing of Nu. 12.5 million in cash and in-kind from the CSOs and CBOs.


The list of approved projects are as follows:

  1. Reverting degraded fallow land into climate smart agriculture in Thrimshin
  2. Young environmental advocates initiative for Bhutan
  3. Attaining food self-sufficiency for women through organic farming during COVID-19 situation in Chubjekha
  4. Capacity building for citizen science and ecological restoration of Important Bird 
  5. Water catchment management to provide 24x7 water supply for community vitality at Jagathang
  6. Nature for all - an inclusive nature garden for persons with disabilities (PWDs)
  7. Fishery development for rural livelihood and conservation of fish species in Sarphu
  8. Watershed management of Tamshing Chhu through integrated water resource management (IWRM) to enhance ecosystem services, Bumthang
  9. Improving Peling wetland and agricultural lands through integrated community-based conservation approaches in Dechhenling, Pema Gatshel
  10. National policy dialogues regarding the sustainability and upscaling of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLs) conservation approach
  11. Community-Based Aquaponic Agriculture, Virtual Tourism and Community Awareness in Panbang, Zhemgang

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