May 26, 2021
This series is a collaboration between NEC, RUB, BES, UNDP, Bhutan Foundation, WWF, and UNCDF to bring climate issues to the forefront and to shape collective consciousness for actions that can translate into climate wins, not just for Bhutan, but for the world
Aimed at creating broader awareness on the impacts of climate change and calling for action, the National Environment Commission, in partnership with UNDP, Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan Ecological Society, Bhutan Foundation, WWF Bhutan, and UNCDF launched a Climate Series titled “Raising Climate Ambition: Voices from Bhutan” on Friday, May 21, 2021.
The five-part virtual series targets both local and international audiences and will run from May – October 2021. The events will be organized at various locations, including institutes and colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan, with COVID protocols in place and the most participants accessing the events virtually.
The first event was themed “Witness to Warming: Local Stories, Needs and Solutions” and investigated how climate change manifests on the ground and in communities.
Owing to its small economy, dependence on farming and agriculture, and nature of its topography, Bhutan is one of the most climate change vulnerable countries in the world.
But Bhutan’s commitment to addressing climate change is unwavering, even as it prepares to graduate from a Least Developed Country to a Middle-Income Country. With Gross National Happiness (GNH) as its guiding development philosophy, nature, climate change, and conservation are in agreement with its development agenda.
The Climate Promise, made as part of the Paris Agreement, is only strengthened with the country’s commitment to raising climate ambition with the formulation of 2nd Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS), and the first National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
The Resident Representative of UNDP, Azusa Kubota, said, “As for our humble contributions, UNDP in Bhutan has been privileged to support the Royal Government in advancing climate actions. We firmly believe in the power of science and data in formulating strategies and policies. Therefore, we sincerely hope that Bhutan’s next Nationally Determined Contributions will raise its benchmark, based on Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS), National Adaptation Plan (NAP), sustainable climate financing while being in full alignment with the country’s ambition towards its green recovery from the pandemic and the 21st Century economic development.”
“Please know that our commitment goes directly to the communities. So far, we have jointly implemented adaptation projects through the NAPA and the climate adaptation in the agriculture sector, funded by the Green Climate Fund. We are also committed to supporting mitigation and nature-based solutions. The examples are promoting electric vehicles to realize a low emission transport system in Bhutan and the upcoming eco-tourism project, demonstrating the nature-based solutions at the grassroots. Water will remain our central focus. With support from the GEF-LDCF funding, we will be supporting the local communities to adapt to the ever-increasing climate-induced water problems.”
The Climate Series comes during the “super year for nature” and ahead of COP26 scheduled in November in Glasgow, Scotland. The series aims to bring to the fore Bhutan’s climate voices and actions, as countries are expected to ramp up support for accelerated efforts to limit global temperature rise to below 2º Celsius or preferably below 1.5º Celsius.
During the launch event, three reports were also released.
1. Roadmap & Strategy for Strengthening Climate Change Research in Bhutan
The Climate research roadmap will provide an overview of what research and curriculum needs exist for climate action in Bhutan and identify critical steps, resource needs, organizational re-structuring, research areas, and timeframes for implementation.
2. Gender and Climate Change in Bhutan
The study deep dives into the gender-climate nexus in Bhutan in the sectors of agriculture, energy, and waste, focusing on gender roles and gender-differentiated impacts of climate change. The analysis is evidence-based with a sample size of 600 households and provides recommendations on policy, planning, and governance with action plans for mainstream implementation. The National Commission led the study for Women and Children (NCWC) with support from UNDP.
3. Biodiversity User List
The NEC has developed a Biodiversity User List that brings together all the information on critical biodiversity in Bhutan. The Biodiversity User List is geared to raise awareness and enhance service delivery for regulating agencies.
The upcoming Climate Series events, with tentative dates, are:
- Series II: Keeping the Promise: Low Carbon and Resilient Development (June 4)
- Series III: Taking Stock: Climate Fairness, Capacities and Finance (6 – 7 July)
- Series IV: Youth matters: Voices and Action in Climate Change (August 12)
- Series V: Climate Action Week (mid-October)