World Bank Supports Bhutan to Strengthen Climate and Disaster Resilience
Thimphu – The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) and the World Bank today signed a $3.51 million financing agreement to help the country improve risk-informed decision making and development planning in targeted sectors, leading to better public service delivery.
The Strengthening Risk Information for Resilience Project will generate nationwide climate and disaster risk information through the first-of-its-kind multi-hazard risk assessment. It will help develop an innovative and risk-informed decision support system by integrating risk information in targeted sectors such as infrastructure and construction.
“Through this project, we are pleased to deepen our partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan towards green, resilient, and inclusive development,” said Adama Coulibaly, the World Bank Resident Representative for Bhutan.
Due to its unique geographical location, Bhutan is highly vulnerable to natural hazards, including flooding, landslides, glacial lake outburst floods, earthquakes, and forest fires. Climate change is further increasing the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters and extreme weather events.
The project will help strengthen Hydromet and Agromet service delivery and provide agro-meteorological advisories to approximately 5,140 households in 11 gewogs. It will do so by increasing the Agromet Decision Support System’s weather forecast range from 3 days to 10 days, which will enhance pest advisories and disease forecasting, and organize Climate Field Schools for farmers.
Further, it will use drones to undertake a detailed survey of landslide hotspots along road networks. This will help the Department of Road make risk-informed transport planning and investment decisions. The project will identify and prioritize vulnerable dzongkhags and communities and strengthen their disaster risk management capacity.
Building on ongoing World- Bank financed operations, the project will also support the formulation of transformational policy and institutional reforms to strengthen the legal and regulatory foundations for long-term resilience in the country.
“The project is aligned with the 12th Five Year Plan and the Bhutan Economic Contingency Plan 2020. We are happy to partner with the World Bank to enhance disaster and climate resilience of the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has been unwavering for over a decade.” said Namgay Tshering, Finance Minister of Bhutan. “At a time like this when the country is already facing the COVID-19 pandemic, equipping Bhutan to respond to a high-magnitude natural disaster event is our national priority. The project will bring in cutting-edge technologies and build the capacity of our national staff to mainstream resilience as an integral part of the country’s development.”
The grant agreement was signed by Adama Coulibaly, World Bank Country Representative for Bhutan on behalf of the World Bank and His Excellency Namgay Tshering, Finance Minister of Bhutan on behalf of the RGoB.
The project is funded through three grants from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience under the Strategic Climate Fund, the Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries, and the European Union-South Asia Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Management.