Bhutan to receive USD 10.6 million to help spur the agriculture sector through FAO-led GEF projects


Bhutan will receive funds in the agriculture sector from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations-led Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) project.

Bhutan is among the 14 countries in Asia and the Pacific region that received the GEF Food Systems Integrated Program (FSIP) approved by the GEF Council earlier this month.

The two GEF projects worth USD 10.6 million (M) will be facilitated and implemented by the FAO Bhutan office in collaboration with the Bhutanese Government.

Titled, “Productive and Sustainable Food Systems in Bhutan for Environmental Benefits and Gross National Happiness”, the five-year project that ends in 2028 will target 35,000 hectares of agricultural land (22,616 ha is actively used) and areas of forest interspersed by small agricultural areas.

According to the FAO Bhutan office, the USD 9.3 M project will primarily help farmers and small and medium enterprises to mainstream sustainability through Nature-based Solutions that promote inclusive, gender-sensitive, and climate-smart food production.

The press release from the FAO Bhutan office states that Bhutan is among the 22 countries where FAO is leading 48 projects worth USD 2.9 billion to support National Food Systems Transformation Pathways or other government-led frameworks and meet environmental commitments, such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Agreement.

The FAO said that Bhutan’s agriculture sector is challenged by demographic changes causing rural outmigration, agricultural production constraints such as human-wildlife conflict and lack of viable markets, small and fragmented landholdings, and a high dependence on natural resources for livelihoods, among others.

The second project worth USD 1.2 M project, “Enabling Bhutan to prepare 4th National Communication and 1st and 2ndBiennial Transparency Report (BTR),” is expected to foster enabling conditions for mainstreaming mitigation concerns into sustainable development strategies through the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency.

It said the project will enhance Bhutan’s capacity in quality assurance or control mechanisms in the preparation and reporting of emissions inventories and evaluate and report on adaptation actions in the agriculture sector.

FAO Representative for Bhutan and Nepal, Ken Shimizu said that the project will strengthen the environmental sustainability of agri-food systems and the delivery of global environmental benefits (GEBs) through support for implementation of Bhutan’s national food system pathways.

The project, he said, is expected to contribute to the transformation of food systems at farm, landscape, and value chain levels, support enabling conditions for sustainable and healthy food systems, provide agri-food system actors with access to knowledge and technical expertise and promote evidence-and results-based adaptive management.

 “We very much look forward to supporting and closely collaborating with the Bhutanese Government to ensure the successful implementation of this project, which contributes to the global FSIP,” he added.

Globally, a total of 46 countries partnered with FAO to access finance from the GEF in this work programme.

Related Posts

About The Author