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



Co-Funded By The EU, [email protected] Project Launched To Provide High Speed Internet For Bhutan’s Research And Education Communities

A high-speed network called DrukREN for research and education communities in Bhutan was also launched.

Aug 21, 2019 09:58

Find Innovative Solutions For Every Challenge: Prime Minister Modi To Bhutan’s Youth

Prime Minister Modi said that he ‘sees dynamism and felt energised’ while meeting with the future of Bhutan.

Aug 18, 2019 23:58


Bhutan Women Parliamentary Caucus Launched To Promote Gender Equality

It is expected to address the need for women role models at leadership and decision-making levels in Bhutan.

Aug 20, 2019 17:08

Fulfilling His Majesty The King’s Vision, Digital Drukyul Is Set To Improve Public Service Delivery And Empower Citizens Digitally

Digital Drukyul will help create a digital ecosystem for citizens which is unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape.

Aug 19, 2019 15:28


Two Young Bhutanese Swimmers Competed In 18th FINA World Championship

The duo are proud to represent Bhutan and compete on a worldwide stage for the first time.

Jul 28, 2019 21:32

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 08, 2019 22:18


Southeast Asian Company Invests Over US$100,000 In Bhutanese Start-up Drukfood

The investment includes a mix of cash and investment-in-kind.

Aug 15, 2019 14:26

Bhutan’s First Crowdfunding Platform Gaining Traction, Opens Doors For Entrepreneurs To Raise Funds

So far, three promoters - Bhutan Alternatives, Freelancer Bhutan and Himalayan food have registered with the Bhutan crowdfunding platform.

Aug 05, 2019 22:10


7 Facts You Never Knew About Flying Into Bhutan

Druk Asia interviewed Namgyal Wangchuk, Senior First Officer with Drukair to find out what it's like to fly into Paro International Airport.

Aug 07, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert Teo

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58


Finding One’s Voice: Rapping In The Kingdom Of Bhutan

The lack of support for rappers stems from the general misconception that most people have about rap.

Aug 10, 2019 23:38

First Bhutan-Bollywood Film Collaboration - Rolong: Make the Dead Walk In The Making

The film is expected to hit the theatres by the middle of 2020.

Aug 04, 2019 23:58

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!