Rural Development and Climate Change Response Programme in Bhutan

At a glance

Active programmes
Royal Government of Bhutan
Total budget
21,50 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

The Royal Government of Bhutan is successfully implementing the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) for 2013-2018 which defines specific policies for the so called Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) sector. The sector comprises agriculture, i.e. crop production, livestock and forestry management.

The sector is characterised by low competitiveness of the production which results in a high volume of imports. Due to its geography and economic base, Bhutan is vulnerable to climate change which in particular affects the RNR sector. More irregular and higher rainfalls and drier winters are predicted as results of climate change. In addition, threats are often posed by floods including the Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF).

The overall objectives of the Bhutan 11th five year plan in the RNR sector are: (i) enhanced food and nutrition security; ii) accelerated growth of the RNR sector; iii) enhanced sustainable rural livelihoods, and iv) improved sustainable management of natural resources. The specific challenges of climate change are defined in the Sector Adaptation Plan of Action and the National Adaptation Plan of Action both of which are coherent with the sector FYP. 

The reforms presented in the 11th FYP require a long-term strategy and fiscal space to be extended and ensured for the subsequent FYP. Sector reforms include improving public service delivery at the local level and achieve results such as more effective and efficient extension services, mechanisation centres, marketing support, improved planting material, improved breeding stock, investments in irrigation facilities, renewable energy technologies such as small biogas facilities and other climate change resilient technologies as well as better risk reduction management mainstreaming into the 11th FYP and 12th FYP.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is implementing the sector policy in cooperation with the local governments. Development partners such as World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and International Fund for Agriculture Development provide technical and financial support. The EU has supported the renewable natural resources sector in Bhutan extensively in the past. An EU sector budget support program supporting the RNR sector has recently been completed in mid-2015. The EU considers the sector a priority under the multi-annual indicative programme 2014-2020. 

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
21,500,000.00 €

Overall objective
The overall objective of the present action is to assist Bhutan in reducing poverty and inequality by developing sustainable rural livelihoods resilient to climate change impacts and by facilitating the key objectives of Bhutan's 11th and 12th five year plans in the RNR sector.

Objectifs spécifiques

To provide fiscal space and improve the financial capability of the RGoB to enable the MoAF to address and improve RNR sector policy reforms in the priority areas defined in the 11th FYP and future 12th FYP:

  • Enhanced food and nutrition security ;

  • Improved sustainable rural livelihoods and generate employment opportunities; 

  • Accelerated and sustainable growth of the RNR sector;

  • Sustainable management and utilization of natural resources;


The expected results of the intervention are:

  • Improved implementation of the RNR 11th FYP (2013-2018) and the design and the implementation of the subsequent 12th FYP;

  • Improved RNR related public service delivery at the local level, notably with respect to the implementation of crop production, livestock, forestry, sustainable rural livelihoods, rural employment opportunities, and in particular climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as gender sensitive services;

  • Improved achievement of results in terms of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and the environment including climate change resilience.

 A complementary support for technical assistance and studies will serve to enhance the climate change component of the proposed action by: mainstreaming climate change adaptation and RNR in the preparation of the 12th FYP; improving Bhutan's climate finance readiness; improving RNR and climate change statistics system (already started under the current GCCA programme); conducting  an RNR public expenditure review; integrating climate change and best practices across the region with a component related to research; increasing better evaluation and monitoring.