The overarching objective of the project is to increase national, local and community capacity to prepare for and respond to climate-induced multi-hazards to reduce potential losses of human lives, national economic infrastructure, livelihoods and livelihood assets. This objective is fully aligned with the development priorities of the RGoB as set out in Bhutan’s tenth 5-year plan, which is in turn underpinned and guided by the long-term development vision of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and Bhutan 2020: A Vision for Peace, Prosperity and Happiness. Under the four pillars of GNH (i.e. sustainable and equitable socio-economic development; environmental conservation; preservation and promotion of culture; and good governance), the 5-year plan places a strong emphasis, among others, on balanced rural-urban development for poverty alleviation, expansion/maintenance of key economic infrastructure including road infrastructure that connects rural and urban centers, and strengthening of the agricultural sector which continues to employ the majority of Bhutanese and be the backbone of the rural economy.
This project will implement priority interventions addressed in Bhutan's National Adaptation Programme of Actions corresponding to the following objectives, in part or full, as outlined in NAPA profile:
- Disaster management strategy
- Weather forecasting system to serve farmers and agriculture
- Landslide management and flood prevention
- Flood protection of downstream industrial and agricultural area
- Rainwater harvesting
- Promote community-based forest fire management and prevention
Situated on the southern slope of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan’s landscape is mountainous and rugged with elevations ranging from 100m in the southern foothills to 7500m towards north. Due to its topography, habitable and arable areas are limited to approximately 8.3% and 2.9%, respectively, of the landmass. Agriculture, which employs 69% of the population and accounts for 78% of monetary income in rural households, and industrial activities are largely practiced in this highly confined space that its topography permits. While Bhutan is in general endowed with abundant water resources from the four major rivers and their tributaries, most of the large rivers are at the bottom of valleys and gorges rendering these rich water resources largely inaccessible for agriculture or domestic use. As a result, irrigation is limited to areas near small perennial streams that exist above main rivers and majority of farmers rely primarily on monsoonal rains, which account for 60-90% of annual precipitation.
Bhutan is one of the most disaster prone countries in the Asia-Pacific region, irrespective of the presence of climate change. The country is exposed to multiple hazards, most prominently flash floods, landslides, windstorms, earthquakes, forest fires, and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). In terms of relative exposure to flood risks (as % of population), Bhutan ranks fourth highest in the region. Although the direct human risks of landslides, windstorms, and forest fires are not particularly higher compared to other countries, the socioeconomic repercussions from these events are thought to be high due to the baseline poverty prevalence.
Climate change is likely to magnify the intensity and frequency of these hazards. In fact, according to the International Disaster Database, among the top 10 natural disasters in Bhutan between 1900 to 2012, in terms of the number of casualties and number affected, all of them occurred in the last two decades (except epidemic outbreaks), which makes certain degree of attribution of climate change to the increasing magnitude of such hazards plausible. The most pronounced consequences of climate change in Bhutan are two folds: disruptions in the monsoonal system and increasing/intensifying trends of extreme hydro-meteorological hazards, both of which are obviously closely linked. These disturbances will amplify the socioeconomic challenges for the Bhutanese society, especially in rural areas where the majority of the population is engaged in rain-fed agriculture and rampant poverty makes them least equipped to adapt to creeping changes in climate.
Monsoon rains generally arrive during the summer months (from late June to late September). Downscaled simulations undertaken in Bhutan’s SNC indicate that the mean annual rainfall will increase by 26-30% by 2069 compared to the baseline year of 1980. This increase occurs primarily during the summer monsoon season while the dry winter season rainfall is projected to decline slightly. In addition, accelerated melting of glaciers, which act as a gigantic natural water retention and dispensing mechanism to communities downstream, is disrupting the hydrological regime of the perennial river systems in the region. All in all, climate change will increase the uncertainty of water availability throughout the year, and rural farmers are likely to have to better manage high fluctuation of rainfalls – increasing volume of monsoonal rain so that they can sustain longer dry periods. This poses significant risks to development when built rural infrastructure to alleviate water shortages, such as communal rainwater harvesting, is minimally available.
Source: UNDP Bhutan Project Identification Form (May 1, 2012)
There are no related resources for this project.
Financing Amount1,1491,200 (As of March 18, 2011)
Cofinancing Total45,798,000 (As of March 18, 2011)
Rural communities in Bhutan