United Nations In Bhutan Committed To Combating Climate Change


The UN in Bhutan plans to make the agricultural sector more resilient to climate change.

(Source: UNDP Bhutan)


By Phub Gyem BBS

To assist Bhutan in combating climate change and to mitigate its impact, the United Nations (UN) in Bhutan will be spending 40 per cent of their resources to work on climate action. Agriculture is at the forefront of the various projects planned under climate action. This is highlighted in the UN in Bhutan’s annual result report which was released on 26 July 2019.

The report highlighted that Bhutan has been exposed to the ill effects of climate change through erratic weather patterns, fast receding glaciers and risks of Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) despite its commitment to remain carbon negative for all time.

Making Bhutan’s agricultural sector more resilient to climate change

The UN in Bhutan plans to make the agricultural sector more resilient to climate change. To this effect, the UN in Bhutan has been able to secure 25.3m USD from the Green Climate Fund.


As Climate Change causes shortage of irrigation water, a project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), supported by UNDP Bhutan, and initiated and implemented by the Royal Government of Bhutan, is helping to address the problem in parts of Bhutan. The project helped construct pressurised piped irrigation channels in select water-scarce villages. The result being improved crop yield and livelihood. The pressurised piped irrigation system is not only climate resilient but also requires little or no maintenance unlike the conventional open irrigation channels. Moreover, it ensures uninterrupted water flow. 

Source: Facebook/UNDP Bhutan


UN officials in the country said that there are various projects in the pipeline to help Bhutan’s agricultural sector mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“We also have been able to work to mitigate landslides in Phuentsholing and we are working with the national weather centre to make weather forecast more predictable. We all know that farmers have been affected by the changing weather patterns. On the mitigation side, we are working with the Royal Government of Bhutan on making the transportation sector more green and clean by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first activity is that 300 taxis will become electric and it’s a new project with funding from the Green Environment facility,” said Jurgen Nagler, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Bhutan.


In Bhutan, UNDP supports the government in its efforts to switch over to Electric Vehicles (EV) to reduce fossil fuel emissions through a Global Environment Facility financed low-emission transport project. Implemented by Ministry of Information and Communications, Royal Government of Bhutan, the project aims to have taxi operators trade in their fossil-fueled vehicles to electric ones within three years. The goal is help Bhutan maintain its carbon negative state. In this video, Chencho Norbu, a taxi driver from Paro, who has been driving EV taxi for over three years now, shares his experiences and why other taxi drivers should also opt for EV cars. 

Source: Facebook/UNDP Bhutan


Managing rural-urban migration

“If we don’t adapt to climate change, then one of the concerns some people have is that the rate of rural-urban migration could increase. We already have too many gungtongs here in Bhutan. By adapting wisely to climate change, we can anticipate and we can ensure that those people who live in rural areas live well,” added Gerald Daly, the Resident Coordinator of UN in Bhutan.

Building the capacity of Bhutanese scholars to study climate change

UN in Bhutan also aims to help Bhutan address and tackle climate change and its impacts by building the capacity of Bhutanese scholars to study climate change and to secure funds from international communities for this pristine nation to combat climate change.


Photo: Facebook/UNDP Bhutan


“How can those young students in Bhutan who are studying anything to do with climate studies, how can we make sure that they have the best resources possible so that not only are they creating or having BA Degrees, but over the time Masters Programmes and it may seem very optimistic today in 2019 but we need to be anticipating that someday we will also have PhD programmes in Climate Studies,” Gerald Daly said.

Other entities involved in preparing Bhutan to combat Climate Change

The UN in Bhutan is also working very closely with the Royal Government of Bhutan, the Gross National Happiness Commission, the National Environment Commission and the Agriculture Ministry to come up with a national adaptation plan.

“So it is important that we do know how we can better prepare for the expected climate change to happen and to develop new innovative proposals to secure additional funding from the international community to Bhutan,” Jurgen Nagler said.

In 2018, the UN in Bhutan spent over US$15m to support Bhutan in achieving its developmental priorities and the major chunk was spent on climate action.


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


Related Posts

Bhutan Implements National Adaptation Plan To Counter Adverse...

The new project builds on work already underway to identify and respond to climate change impacts.

Jun 21, 2019 23:58

Workshop Held In Bhutan To Tackle Climate Change In The Hindu...

“Bhutan had great examples such as promoting organic farming, protecting biodiversity and building ecosystem...

Jun 03, 2019 21:28

International Climate Initiative and WWF Germany To Support...

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

May 22, 2019 11:48

Bhutan To Implement Three Initiatives As Chair Of LDC Group To...

“Climate change impacts are growing and countries are facing more extreme climate events,” said Manjeet Dhakal (Head of...

May 18, 2019 20:08

Bhutan Addressed Climate Change Concerns With Foreign Delegates...

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering said at the Round Table Meeting that climate change is real and efforts must be made...

Mar 22, 2019 18:45

Global Warming And Its Adverse Impact On Yak Herders In Bhutan

The study seeks to evaluate the vulnerabilities of yak herding in Bhutan due to climate change.

Apr 01, 2019 15:38



Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was sufficient to support...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other rights of women and girls

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable positions, burdening them...

May 12, 2020 16:46


Things to Know about the Queen of Bhutan- Ashi Jetsun Pema Wangchuck

The king of Bhutan told reporters. "She is a wonderful human being, intelligent," "She and I share one big thing in common: a love and...

Jun 01, 2020 23:39

One of the Inspiring Bhutanese Artists to Watch This Summer- Pema Gyeltshen

Pema is a rising artists producing paintings with diverse theme including region, tradition, culture, everday life, abstracts and self...

May 29, 2020 17:20


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08


Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 06, 2020 11:48

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58


Wangdue Phodrang - The gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan

Known as Sha or east to the Bhutanese, Wangduephodrang district is an important gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan. The region, the...

May 27, 2020 08:47

Reasons Why Dagala Trek is Every Trekkers Dream

May 13, 2020 11:30


Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!