The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked least developed country (LDC) in the Himalayan Mountains, with a population of 768,577, covering an area of 38,394 km². The area is mountainous, with steep slopes and 70% forest cover. The climate varies by altitude from alpine to subtropical and is strongly influenced by monsoons. The terrain limits agricultural productivity, but whilst agriculture contributes only 16% to GDP, it employs around 58% of the workforce.
For Bhutan, a tiny carbon-neutral country nestled in the Himalayas between India and China, climate change is not just an environmental problem but a serious challenge to sustainable development. Communities face a range of climate-related hazards: shrinking glaciers and water reservoirs; a higher incidence of diseases spread by mosquitos and floods; as well as more frequent flash floods, forest fires and landslides.
‘Protect landscapes to protect everything’: Bhutan announces national push for climate resiliency and conservation
11th November 2017, Thimphu: As COP23 international climate talks continue in Bonn, Bhutan has launched a ground-breaking US$13.9 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) project aimed at enhancing the resilience of communities and protecting the country’s unique and rich biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
This paper presents a conceptual framework for the study of the vulnerability of Bhutan, Maldives, and Nepal with a particular focus on the structural vulnerability.
Thimphu, March 2, 2017 — The Royal Government of Bhutan and the World Bank signed into effect today the preparation of the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR) Grant of US$1.5 million, which will support Bhutan to formulate a long-term plan to improve climate resilience.
With support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF), the government of Bhutan is now working to reduce climate change vulnerabilities and sustain community livelihoods and forests.
Initially, the project plans to open up access to green resource windows, “To deliver results beyond the climate and environment realm”, said Ms. Niamh Collier-Smith, the UNDP Resident Representative a.i.
If things go as planned, by early 2017, communities in 38 gewogs across 12 dzongkhags in central Bhutan will start their journey towards climate action- climate-resilience livelihoods options and better biodiversity conservation through effective biological corridors governance and management systems.
This will be facilitated by the project on ‘Resilient Communities, Effective Biological Corridors (RCEC) -Climate Action in Bhutan’s Central Belt’ with financing from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“If you want to action great ideas, you need to apply the strength of a Himalayan mountain.” - Bhutanese Proverb
A Change in Environment
Over half of the people living in the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan depend on agriculture to earn a living. But the small farms and the families that run them are coming under extreme pressure from climate change, with reports of crop damage from new pests and diseases, windstorms, untimely rainfalls and hailstones, in addition to the ongoing challenge of human-wildlife conflict.
The traditional practice for farmers in Bhutan is to follow the lunar-based calendar for planting and harvesting their crops.
by Yusuke Taishi, Regional Technical Specialist
In Bhutan, about 5,000 meters above sea level, meltwater trickles down from glaciers to form some of the greatest rivers in the world and provide freshwater and energy to nearly 1.3 billion people throughout the Himalayas.