International Climate Initiative and WWF Germany To Support Living Landscapes Project In Bhutan


A team from WWF Bhutan and Germany visited seven of the nine targeted districts in the country’s Southwestern region to plan the project.

A typical village farm in Bhutan. (Source: Druk Asia)


By Tshering Namgyal Kuensel

At the first project consultative workshop with national stakeholders held last week, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and WWF Germany have indicated financial support of €9m and €1m respectively for the “Living Landscapes – Securing High Conservation Values in South-Western Bhutan” project.

A team from WWF Bhutan and Germany visited seven of the nine targeted dzongkhags (districts) in the country’s Southwestern region to plan the project.

Photo: BBS 

While the majority of the activity is still at the preparatory stage, three stages of output at the national, regional, and the ground have already been presented.

Plans presented for the national, regional, and ground levels

At the national level, a key institutional actor for engaging in an integrated planning approach, and incorporating data on high conservation values in planning processes across all sectors will be identified.

At the regional level, a good management plan for division forest, including capacity building to enhance service provision, enforcement and biodiversity conservation will be developed. At the community level, the livelihood options will be taken care of.

Some of the opportunities which the project presented includes:

  1. the promotion of human-wildlife co-existence,
  2. securing water resources for local communities,
  3. development and implementation of environment-friendly livelihood strategies,
  4. and creating environment-friendly community-based business cases for alternative income

While some of the suggestions made by the participants are:

  1. a wholesome way of addressing the human-wildlife conflict,
  2. land use management,
  3. identification of high conservative areas and mitigation plan to conserve the values,
  4. keeping the local governments on board,
  5. genetic diversity of traditional crops and livestock, c
  6. ommunity incentives, f
  7. forest protection and climate vulnerability assessment

Source: Druk Asia 

Some participants suggested that some dzongkhags from central and eastern Bhutan could also be included as part of the project. The project could be replicated in other dzongkhags if it was successful.

Threats and opportunities on Bhutan’s biodiversity and ecosystem services

The Country Representative of WWF Bhutan, Dechen Dorji, who chaired the workshop, highlighted that the threats and opportunities on biodiversity and ecosystem services were manifold and multi-dimensional in Bhutan’s landscapes outside the protected areas system.

“This project aims to enhance the capacity of sustainable management and conservation of Bhutan’s important natural capital and ecosystem services across the project landscape by working with key stakeholders and promoting dialogue between private and public agents on the value and potentials of effectively managing Bhutan’s biodiversity treasure,” he said.

Dr Teresa Leyens from the IKI Secretariat said that the IKI project would be the first bilateral project between Bhutan and Germany.

“Compliance of the IKI project’s objectives with Bhutan’s 12th Plan as well as other national priorities is of great importance to IKI. In this context, the strong participation of governmental agencies and CSOs during the workshop was highly appreciated.”

Since 2008, the IKI of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) have been financing climate and biodiversity projects in developing and newly industrialising countries, as well as in countries in transition. 

The IKI is a key element of Germany’s climate financing and the funding commitments in the framework of the Convention of Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The detailed report of the project is expected to be ready this August. The WWF Bhutan and Tarayana Foundation will be the key implementing partners.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


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