GCF heralds innovative ‘Bhutan for Life’ partnership at launch ceremony

GCF announced a USD 43 million partnership to permanently preserve Bhutan’s protected areas, which comprise 51 percent of the country’s territory.

  • Article type Press release
  • Publication date 11 Nov 2017

The Green Climate Fund announced a USD 43 million partnership to permanently preserve Bhutan’s protected areas, which comprise 51 percent of the country’s territory.

Bhutan for Life is the Green Climate Fund’s first project with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). GCF’s contribution of USD 26.6 million was approved by its Board last month to support the commitment of the Royal Government of Bhutan to remain carbon neutral.

The project will provide funding to prevent threats to Bhutan’s forests, preserving their role as a carbon sink. Bhutan for Life will also support adaptation measures to improve the resilience of rural Bhutanese communities threatened by the impacts of climate change.

“Bhutan’s protected areas are essential to the country’s goal to remain carbon neutral and preserve its biodiversity,” stated Javier Manzanares, GCF Deputy Executive Director a.i., who spoke at a ceremony to mark the launch of the partnership in Thimphu, Bhutan.

“Today’s launch, only one month after the GCF Board approved the project proposal, reflects how the Green Climate Fund is moving rapidly during its ‘year of implementation’ to build an innovative portfolio that now amounts to USD 2.65 billion,” Manzanares highlighted.

“Bhutan for Life shows GCF’s commitment to protecting forestry, and complements the Board’s recent decision to establish a USD 500 million REDD+ programme,’ concluded Manzanares.

This initiative is the first in Asia to use the ‘Project Finance for Permanence’ approach, which provides a sinking fund to support improved management of the protected areas. This will allow time and resources for the Royal Government of Bhutan to put in place long-term revenues that will permanently secure the future of over two million hectares of land in the protected areas.

“It is in this protected areas network, and the wildlife corridors that connect them, that most of the country’s treasured natural resources can be found,” said Bhutan Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay. ‘However, these natural resources are at risk, as the country is changing fast. To address the increasing threats to our pristine environment, Bhutan needs a solid new conservation-friendly business plan: one that will not just protect, but will help grow the initial capital Bhutan has put into its incredible conservation efforts; and one that will allow both conservation and economic development to occur in a balanced, sustainable way, in perpetuity. That plan is in the form of Bhutan for Life.”

“Our natural resources are our most important asset,’ said WWF Bhutan Country Representative Dechen Dorji. ‘They are the foundation for our livelihoods, spiritual connectivity, happiness and our commitment to being carbon neutral. The Royal Government of Bhutan’s leadership in adopting an innovative solution that guarantees permanent protection as well as effective management of our protected areas secures Bhutan’s future and will enable Bhutan to serve as a powerful model for the world.”

Watch the WWF project video here.

More information about the project can be found on the Bhutan for Life project page on GCF’s website.