Zhemgang and Wangdue dzongkhags will receive Nu 27M (USD 600,000) from the UN capital development fund (UNCDF) this year for a pilot project to build local resilience or adaptability to the effects of climate change.
Of the total fund USD 503,000 will go directly as capital grant to the two gewogs of Nangkhor in Zhemgang and Phobjikha in Wangdue to undertake climate adaptation activities.
“People at the local level will decide for themselves what they need to do to build in adapting to climate change,” UNCDF program analyst, Chencho G Dorjee, said. “They can use the fund for, say, greening activities, rainwater harvesting, or building retaining walls to make the farm road more climate proof.”
Chencho G Dorjee said the two gewogs were chosen, based on criteria that considered poverty, climate change and environment.
The project will be implemented by the department of local governance, home ministry. The department of local governance’s chief planning officer, Karma Galay, said that experts will talk to people at the local level and help identify possible projects.
Yesterday, officials representing the government of Bhutan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with UNCDF in Thimphu to support the pilot project. Bhutan is the first pilot country for UNCDF under the LoCAL program (2011-14).
The LoCAL program is the UNCDF’s facility for investment in local level climate resilience. The facility channels global adaptation finance to local governments, and enables them to invest in building local resilience.
UNCDF will, under the agreement, provide direct grants to the government for local climate resilience and adaptation, seek further adaptation resources, and provide technical assistance.
The program aims to consolidate the understanding that effective climate adaptation and resilience can be achieved by enabling local governments to use their mandate to plan, finance, procure and manage infrastructure. However, while local governments have the mandate to respond, they face a funding gap that limits their ability to do so.
The LoCAL facility seeks therefore, to demonstrate, that filling this gap through additional performance-based financing is an efficient and effective way to finance local climate resilience.
Since 1979, UNCDF has been a long-term development partner of the Bhutanese government. UNCDF assistance started initially with a focus on infrastructure and the agriculture sector.