UNCDF’s Executive Secretary a.i, Ms. Christine Roth, visited Bhutan for the first time last week. During her permanence in Bhutan she visited Thimphu and Wangduephodrang, meeting officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan and Development Partner Agencies to discuss the future strategic joint programming of UNCDF support.
Currently, UNCDF supports the ongoing joint Local Governance Support Programme (LGSP, 2008-2013) implemented in 20 districts and 205 gewogs throughout Bhutan. It is a joint programme with other development partners who have agreed to coordinate and harmonise support in the field of decentralisation and local governance to support the 10th FYP target of poverty reduction to 15 % by 2013.
UNCDF has also been a primary development partner in the area of microfinance through support to rural credit through the Bhutan Development Finance Corporation (BDFC) from 1987-1992. Currently, UNCDF supports BDFC to develop Savings-led Market Leaders for Inclusive Finance (2009-13).
In 2011 the collaboration between UNCDF and the Royal Government of Bhutan was further deepened by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL), making Bhutan the first pilot country for the global LoCAL programme.
LoCAL is UNCDF’s facility for investment in local level climate resilience, which channels local climate finance to local governments who are at the frontline of dealing with the effects of climate change therefore enabling them to invest in building local resilience.
The LoCAL pilot in Bhutan is implemented through ‘Performance Based Climate Resilience Grants’ under the Joint Support Programme coordinated by the Gross National Happiness Commission. Ms. Roth visited the LoCAL project site in Wangduephorang district and Phobji gewog to meet local government partners and discuss with them the local climate adaptation investments made so far through the LoCAL facility. These include rain water harvesting, environment friendly farm-roads and climate proof bridges.
In Thimphu, Ms. Roth met with the officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan and Development Partner Agencies to discuss the future strategic joint programming of UNCDF support. Ms. Roth was accompanied by Mr. David Jackson, Head of the UNCDF Regional Office in Bangkok and Mr. Gerry O’ Driscoll, Chief Technical Advisor, UNCDF.