Country

Bhutan

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Bhutan.

Adaptation

The Kingdom of Bhutan has taken proactive methods to initiate planning for climate change adaptation.  National Environment Commission is the main high-level, multi-sectoral, governmental body that regulates environmental issues at the highest level and serves the role of National Climate Change Committee. A Climate Change Coordination Committee provides a forum for further coordination among fifteen members from different government agencies, the private sector, and civil society. These actors provide recommendations to the National Climate Change Committee. Bhutan also has a Multi‐sectoral Technical Committee on Climate Change, who will play a lead role in coordinating actions to achieve Paris Agreement commitments. Ministries in sectors that are particularly affected by climate change such as energy, agriculture, and agencies that oversee disaster risk management, have sectoral level policies. National priorities communicated in Bhutan’s Nationally Determined Contribution include, but are not limited to, water resource management, resilient agriculture toward food and nutritional security, sustainable forest management, conservation, strengthening resilience to climate change induced hazards, climate resilient energy, adaptation assessment planning, and climate resilient- low emission strategies for urban and rural settlements.

Key Adaptation Policies & Reports

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors

  • Priority adaptation areas include: climate resilient agriculture toward achieving food security and nutrition security, climate resilient livestock farming toward poverty alleviation, enhancing climate information systems, strengthening resilience to climate change hazards, water security through water resource management, and climate proofing transport infrastructure against landslides and flash floods.
  • Adaptation measures identified in Bhutan’s third national communication consider changing type and location of crops, and improving water and pest management, particularly for crops that are highly sensible to changes in precipitation and temperature like maize and rice.
  • Changes in climate can also lead to urban migration, which can impact gender dynamics, often increasing workloads for women. Measures that consider the gender implications of climate change on agriculture can be incorporated in adaptation strategies.
  • Additional adaptation options include: introducing climate resilient crop varieties, institutionalizing surveillance of crop and pest diseases, establishing cold storage facilities at sub-national regions, increase investment in irrigation systems, and initiating crop insurance programs.
  • Diversifying the energy matrix is important to reduce dependence on hydropower. The government’s 2016 Economic Development policy includes several provisions to promote solar and wind electricity production.
  • Bhutan’s Nationally Determined Contribution considers investments in small hydroelectric projects, wind projects, and using biomass as opportunities to diversify the country's energy matrix.
  • Ensure energy security through increased efficiency and increased storage during winters when less precipitation is associated with reduced energy capacity.
  • Sustainable land management along catchment areas for watersheds that support hydroelectric power generation is critical, as well as the protection of forests to ensure continued ecosystem services.
  • Establishing a robust baseline to monitor climate change impacts on ecosystems and species, and re-evaluating protected area management, sustainable use of biodiversity, and prevention of species loss, are identified adaptation priorities.
  • Developing and implementing forest fire management programs particularly during winter months when there is less precipitation and supporting agro-biodiversity as well as sustainable forest use by local communities.
  • Increasing institutional capacity to research the impact of climate change on forests and improve conservation efforts is also essential to preserving forest health and biodiversity.
  • Improvements in water and sanitation as well as rainwater management in growing urban centers could help mitigate environments that support vectors which carry diseases.
  • Adaptation strategies to address climate impacts on health should focus on both strengthening existing health systems and investing in resilience to climate-related risks.
  • Strategies to minimize climate related health risks from natural disasters must include risk monitoring, early warning systems, and improved emergency response.
  • Bhutan identified the following as adaptation needs through their Nationally Determined Contributions: integrating water management approaches should include increased capacity to monitor and estimate water use, discharge rates, resource monitoring, and mapping.
  • Adaptation strategies that consider climate proofing water distribution systems and integrating watershed and wetland managements, and adopting appropriate technologies for water harvesting and efficient use of water resources.
  • Improving water storage capacity could also allow improve the ability to store excess water during monsoon season to use during dry month.
  • Strategies should also incorporate disaster risk management as extreme weather events and changes in glacier melt can create hazardous conditions for populations living on water systems.

Gaps and Needs

  • Agricultural extension work and research on crop diversification and new climate resilient crops
  • Impacts of climate induced migration on gender dynamics in rural agricultural regions
  • Research on risk mitigation instruments for natural disasters
  • Improve limited meteorological network in the country, number of stations outside inner and southern Bhutan, and automation for weather and data collecting stations
  • Invest in agricultural and rural statistics that include information on crop and livestock, environmental data, a renewable and natural resources census, and information on labor c
  • Improve baseline assessments to use in monitoring and evaluation systems
  • Develop and institutionalize surveillance for crop pests, diseases, and epidemic outbreaks
  • Create a baseline assessment of water resources
  • Strengthen institutional capacity to support in-country national adaptation planning
  • Strengthen and form increased inter-sectoral coordination
  • Translating national and regional adaptation initiatives at local levels, particularly in rural regions of the country
  • Improving disaster risk management and early warning systems
  • Improvements in coordination between industries and sectors