Climate vulnerabilities: As a least developed, mountainous and landlocked country, Bhutan is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The country's infrastructures are regularly put to the test by landslides. The rise in temperatures puts strain on livestock, agriculture and biodiversity. Due to the rapid increase in melting of glaciers, there is an increased risks of glacier-lake bursting.

National Response: Bhutan is a carbon-negative country and has internationally pledged to remain carbon-neutral, embarking on a policy of green economic development. Bhutan’s intended nationally determined contribution priority adaptation actions include:

- increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change on water security through integrated water resource management.
- promoting climate-resilient agriculture to contribute towards achieving food and nutrition security.
- sustainable forest management and conservation of biodiversity.
- and, strengthening resilience to climate change–induced hazards.

Bhutan also is formulating its first national adaptation plan. Notably, the Local Governance Sustainable Development Programme initiated in 2013 assists local governments in implementing block grants allocated for sustainable local community development, while developing their capacity for good governance and improved public service delivery. LoCAL support is embedded in this programme.


Bhutan was one of the first countries to pilot LoCAL globally in 2011. Since then, LoCAL, though the Local Governance Support Programme, has rolled out to 100 gewogs (districts) across 16 of the country's 20 dzongkhags (provinces) as part of a national scale-up undertaken in partnership with the European Union and the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative. The LoCAL experience in Bhutan is used as a model that is being replicated in communities worldwide.


20 Dzongkhags

754,588 People



Gewogs Engaged


Adaptation Investments



US $1,697,241

Budget (up to 2019)

Since 2012, over 150 small-scale investments have been realized through PBCRGs in 100 gewogs, 53 of which in 2019. The following are among the core adaptation priorities financed to date:

- Infrastructure works aimed at improving farm roads for enhanced climate resilience – this involved slope stabilization of landslide-vulnerable areas, rectification/improvement of the drainage system and construction of a causeway.
- Construction of elevated bridges to overcome risks posed by swollen rivers and streams during heavy rain events.
- Improvement of rural water supply schemes – this involved tapping new/additional water sources, protecting water sources and their enhancement through planting water-conserving species, upgrading water tanks to increase storage capacity, and/or replacement of water supply lines with climate-resilient materials.
- Community water harvesting and improvement of irrigation systems by rehabilitating irrigation channels and installing climate-resilient pipes to distribute irrigation water more effectively and improve agricultural productivity and farm livelihoods.
- Soil conservation and landslide risk mitigation works, such as planting bamboo and hedgerows and contour binding to prevent soil erosion and protect agricultural lands.
- Development of stormwater drainage to mitigate flood and landslide risks to farmlands, schools, homes and other public and private properties in rural areas.


Stories from the Field

Our Team


Government Partners:

In Bhutan, LoCAL is implemented by the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and Department of Local Governance (DLG), Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs, Government of Bhutan.

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