Search our website
Energy, Environment & Disaster Management
Bhutan has placed environmental conservation at the center of its development strategy. Conservation of the environment forms one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness, which underscores that development cannot be pursued on the premise of economic growth alone but has to take place in combination with the emotional and spiritual well-being of the people. In addition, the Constitution of Bhutan mandates that at least 60% of the country remain forested for all time (currently 72.5%). Bhutan is therefore one of the few countries in the world with net greenhouse gas sequestration capacity largely due to its vast forest cover and widespread use of hydropower and biomass energy.
Bhutan's enviable reputation in environment conservation thus far is testimony of its commitment of pursuing sustainable development. The country has one of the highest proportions of area under protected area system encompassing a continuum representation samples of all major ecosystems found in the country. The total area under parks and protected areas represent 51% (19,750 sq. km) of the country, of which close to 10% consists of biological corridors allowing free movement between the protected areas. Diversity in wild flora and fauna, which includes more than 5,600 species of plants, 778 species of birds and close to 200 species of mammals, is one of the highest in Asia.
One-third of the of the country's GDP is derived from renewable natural resources and employ 64% of the population. The revenue generation potential of hydropower and tourism is also directly linked to the state of the environment. Poverty alleviation as well as growth in Bhutan has a strong correlation with environmental resources. Thus, sound environmental management is critical for sustained poverty reduction and achievement of the MDGs.
While the country has already made great strides with regard to environmental conservation and is broadly recognized for its conservation initiatives, the Royal Government is facing the challenge of maintaining its pristine environment while at the same time ensuring the development of its rural population. Pressures are mounting in the form of rural-urban migration, infrastructure development, population growth and globalization. Bhutan is also vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, despite its very insignificant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, and highly vulnerable to the increasing frequency of natural hazards and seismic activity. In 2009, Bhutan experienced widespread floods caused by Cyclone Aila in May, and an earthquake shook eastern Bhutan in September.
To support the national priority of environmental sustainability, UNDP in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan, donors, UN agencies and civil society provides collective and integrated response to national needs and priorities.
The current UNDP assistance for Energy, Environment and Disaster Management in Bhutan provides support in the following areas:
The Mid Term Review (MTR) of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the common Country Programme Action Plan (cCPAP) was conducted in 2010 to assess the continued relevance and effectiveness of the UNDAF and cCPAP, as well as to assess the UNCT's progress toward the realisation of UNDAF Outcomes.
Karma Lodey Rapten
|Back to top|