Ministry of Agriculture and Forests
Royal Government of Bhutan
P.O. Box 252, Taschichhodzong
Dasho Tenzin Dhendup
Tel: 975 2 322379, 322129
Direct:975 2 326735 (office)
Fax: 975 2 326834, 323153
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small, mountainous, landlocked country in South Asia, located in the eastern Himalayas. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India. Bhutan`s capital and largest city is Thimphu. According to the National Portal of Bhutan, the country lies between latitudes 26' 45N & 280" 10N, and longitudes 88' 45'E & 92' 10E. Bhutan has a total area of 38,394 square kilometers. It`s physical geography consists mostly of steep and high mountains interlaced by a network of rivers, which form deep valleys before pouring into the Indian plains. The land rises from 200 in the southern foothills to 7000 meters high northern mountains. Bhutan`s highest peak Jhomo Lhari, overlooking the Chumbi Valley in the west, is 7,314 meters above sea level. About 72.5 % of the area is under forests, and the law requires the country to maintain 60 % forests cover for all times to come. Southern Bhutan has a hot, humid sub-tropical climate that is fairly unchanging throughout the year. Temperatures can vary between 15-30 degrees Celsius. According to the World Bank, the per capita gross national income (GNI), is one of the highest in South Asia, and has consistently increased from $730 in 2000 to $2,070 in 2011. Agriculture is the backbone of the Bhutanese economy which contributes about 33% of the GDP and about 70% of the population depends on it for livelihood.
The fifth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck acceded to the throne on December 14, 2006 and was crowned on November 6, 2008. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected from the ruling political party. The 4th Druk Gyalpo, in 1972, declared that Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than GNP should be the nation’s principal index for measuring progress. According to the Gross National Happiness commission, GNH is a “multi-dimensional development approach that seeks to achieve a harmonious balance between material well-being and the spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of the society”. GNH has been classified into nine domains and they are: psychological wellbeing, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards.
As per Human Development Report 2013 UNDP, Bhutan’s HDI value for 2013 is 0.584, which is in the medium human development category positioning the country at 136 out of 187 countries and territories. According to the Ministry of Tourism Bhutan, the Bhutanese name for the country is Druk Yul which means "Land of the Thunder Dragon". Druk, the thunder dragon is the national symbol for Bhutan which even appears on the national flag. Bhutan is a Buddhist country and its national language is Dzongkha. One of the most distinct features of the Bhutanese is their traditional dress, distinctive garments that have evolved over thousands of years. Women wear the Kira, a long, ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a Tego. Men wear the Gho, a knee-length robe somewhat resembling a kimono. In terms of Bhutanese cuisine, rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals and spicy chilies are an essential part of almost every dish. Bhutan's national sport is Dha, or archery. At festivals in Bhutan, masked dances and dance dramas accompanied by traditional music is a common sight. The major religious festivals are called tshechus. They last three to five days and people engage in music, dance and drinking.
The Kingdom of Bhutan
27 30 N, 90 30 E*
1.1 male(s) / female (2014 est.)*
0-14 years: 27.3% (male 102,196 / female 97,923)
15-24 years: 20.1% (male 75,327/female 72,472),
25-54 years: 40.8% (male 159,868 / female 139,236)
55-64 years: 5.8% (male 22,769 / female 19,699)
65 years and over: 6% (male 23,153 / female 21,000) (2014 est.)*
Sharchhopka 28%, Dzongkha (official) 24%, Lhotshamkha 22%, other 26% (includes foreign languages) (2005 est.)*
Ngalop (also known as Bhote) 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas - one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%* Religion Lamaistic Buddhist 75.3%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 22.1%, other 2.6% (2005 est.)* National flag National Flag of Bhutan is divided diagonally with a white dragon in the center of the flag. The dragon is snarling and clutches jewels in its claws.*)
Lamaistic Buddhist 75.3%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 22.1%, other 2.6% (2005 est.)* National flag National Flag of Bhutan is divided diagonally with a white dragon in the center of the flag. The dragon is snarling and clutches jewels in its claws.*
National Flag of Bhutan is divided diagonally with a white dragon in the center of the flag. The dragon is snarling and clutches jewels in its claws.*
There is a jewel on all sides with two dragons on the vertical sides. The thunderbolts represent the harmony between secular and religious power while the lotus symbolizes purity. The jewel signifies the sovereign power while the dragons (male and female) represent the name of the country DrukYul or the Land of the Dragon.*
Dong Gyem Tsey' or Takin
Blue Poppy, the National Flower of Bhutan, is known locally as 'Euitgel Metog Hoem’. Its biological name is Meconopsis grandis.
The Raven is the Bhutan's national bird.
Cypress or Cupressus torulosa is the National Tree of Bhutan. Locally, it is known as ‘Tsenden’. It is also referred to as Bhutan Cypress or Himalayan Cypress.
Major Economic Statistics
|GDP (purchasing power parity)||$5.867 billion (2014 est.)|
|GDP composition by sector of origin||Agriculture: 14.4%|
Services: 44% (2014 est.)
|Gross national saving||26.6% of GDP (2014 est.)|
|Labor force by occupation||Agriculture: 56%|
Services: 22% (2013 est.)
|Unemployment rate||2.9% (2013 est.)|
|Inflation rate (consumer prices)||8.6% (2014 est.)|
|Population below poverty line||12% (2012)|
|Export||$650.3 million (2014 est.)|
|Export Commodities||Electricity (to India), ferrosilicon, cement, calcium carbide, copper wire, manganese, vegetable oil|
|Imports||$980.6 million (2014 est.)|
|Import commodities||Fuel and lubricants, passenger cars, machinery and parts, fabrics, rice|
|Exchange rates||ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar - 60.42 (2014 est.)|
Brief on Economy of Bhutan
Mountain PeaksPhysically, Bhutan may be divided into three regions from north to south: the Great Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the Duars Plain. The northern part of Bhutan lies within the Great Himalayas; the snowcapped peaks in this region reach an elevation of more than 24,000 feet (7,300 metres). High valleys occur at elevations of 12,000 to 18,000 feet (3,700 to 5,500 metres), running down from the great northern glaciers. Alpine pastures on the high ranges are used for grazing yaks in the summer months. To the north of the Great Himalayas are several “marginal” mountains of the Plateau of Tibet that form the principal watershed between the northward- and the southward-flowing rivers. Spurs from the Great Himalayas radiate southward, forming the ranges of the Lesser Himalayas (also called Inner Himalayas). The north-south ranges of the Lesser Himalayas constitute watersheds between the principal rivers of Bhutan. Differences in elevation and the degree of exposure to moist southwest monsoon winds determine the prevailing vegetation, which ranges from dense forest on the rain-swept windward slopes to alpine vegetation at higher elevations. Several fertile valleys of central Bhutan are in the Lesser Himalayas at elevations varying from 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500 to 2,700 metres). South of the Lesser Himalayas and the foothills lies the narrow Duars Plain, which forms a strip 8 to 10 miles (12 to 16 km) wide along the southern border of Bhutan. The Himalayan ranges rise sharply and abruptly from this plain, which constitutes a gateway to the strategic mountain passes (known as dwars or dooars) that lead into the fertile valleys of the Lesser Himalayas.
|Major Mountain Peaks||Brief Detail|
|Gangkhar Puensum||Gangkhar Puensum is the highest mountain in Bhutan and a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world with an elevation of 7,570 metres and a prominence of over 2990 metres.|
|Liangkang Kangri||Liangkang Kangri is a 24,718 ft / 7,534 m mountain peak near Chāpar, Assam, India. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 2nd highest mountain in Bhutan.|
|Jomolhari||Jomolhari is a 23,996 ft / 7,314 m mountain peak in the Himalaya Range in Bhutan. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 3rd highest mountain in Bhutan|
|Jomolhari||Jomolhari is a 23,996 ft / 7,314 m mountain peak in the Himalaya Range in Paro, Bhutan.|
|Kangphu Kang I||Kangphu Kang I is a 23,688 ft / 7,220 m mountain peak near Jamālpur, Bangladesh (general), Bangladesh. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 5th highest mountain in Bhutan|
|Tongshanjiabu||Tongshanjiabu is a 23,645 ft / 7,207 m mountain peak near Mathba, Barisāl, Bangladesh. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 6th highest mountain in Bhutan|
|Kula Kangri||Kula Kangri is a 21,195 ft / 6,460 m mountain peak near Gyangzê, Xizang, China. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 25th highest mountain in Xizang|
|Black Mountain||Black Mountain is a 15,005 ft / 4,574 m mountain peak near Tongsa, Tongsa, Bhutan. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 1st highest mountain in Tongsa and the 9th highest mountain in Bhutan|
|Gyemo Chen||Gyemo Chen is a 13,386 ft / 4,080 m mountain peak near Xarsingma, Xizang, China. Based on peakery data, it ranks as the 10th highest mountain in Bhutan|
Water and EnergyTotal annual internal renewable surface water resources are an estimated 78 km3 (Table 3). Because of the mountainous character of the country, groundwater resources are probably limited and are drained by the surface water network, which means they are more or less equal to overlap between surface water and groundwater. Surface water leaving the country to India is an estimated 78 km3. Nearly every valley in Bhutan has a swiftly flowing river or stream, fed either by the perennial snow, the summer monsoon or both. Except for a small river in the extreme north, which flows north, all rivers flow south towards India. The river basins are oriented north-south and are, from west to east, the Jaldhaka, Amo (Torsa), Wang (Raidak), Mo, Puna Tsang (Sankosh), Mao Khola/Aie, Manas (Lhobrak) and eastern river basins, this last basin is composed of the Bada and Dhansiri rivers.Most rivers are deeply incised into the landscape and hence the possibilities for run-of-the-river irrigation are limited. There are only two wastewater collection and treatment projects in the cities of Thimphu and Phuntsholing. There are numerous natural lakes, many are located above 3 300 m and some above 4 200 m, which are primarily used to raise fish. Several large dams have been constructed to generate hydroelectric power. These include the 40 m high Chhuka dam (CHPP) on the Wang river in Chhukha district in the southwest, the 91 m high Tala-Wankha dam further downstream on the Raidak river near Phuntsholing town, the 33 m high Kurichhu dam on the Kuri river in Mongar district in the east, the Basochu dam (BHPP) near Wangduephodrang town in the centre-west. The 141 m high Punatsangchu dam on Puna Tsang river downstream of Wangduephodrang town is under construction.
LandBhutan is a mountainous country, with an estimated area of about 46 500 km2. It is bounded by the Tibetan plateau of China in the north, India in the east and south and Sikkim (now part of India) in the west. The country is normally classified into three geographical zones: the foothills, a 20 km-wide strip in the south, rising to an altitude of 1 500 m; the middle mountains, rising gradually to an altitude of 5 000 m; and the high mountains, with altitudes reaching over 7 500 m (Bhutan's two highest mountains are Jhumo Lhari at 7 541 m and Kula Kangri at 7 314 m). Flat land is limited to a few relatively broad river valleys in the mid country and a small section just below the foothills.
ForestAccording to the U.N. FAO, 69.1% or about 3,249,000 ha of Bhutan is forested, according to FAO. Of this 12.7% ( 413,000 ) is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest. Bhutan had 3,000 ha of planted forest. Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2010, Bhutan lost an average of 10,700 ha or 0.35% per year. In total, between 1990 and 2010, Bhutan gained 7.1% of its forest cover, or around 214,000 ha.
Wildlife and HabitatsBhutan pristine environment, with high rugged mountains and deep valleys, offers ecosystems that are both rich and diverse. Recognizing the importance of the environment, conservation of its rich biodiversity is one of the government’s development paradigms. The government has enacted a law that shall maintain at least 60% of its forest cover for all time. Today, approximately 72% of the total land area of Bhutan is under forest cover and approximately 60% of the land area falls under protected areas comprising of 10 national parks and sanctuaries. Each of Bhutan’s National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are an essential part of the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex – a system of national parks, protected areas and forest corridors covering 60% of the country. Each of these parks and sanctuaries has its own special character and are home to endangered animals, birds and plants. Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world. But its commitment to conservation is bigger than most.
FloraBhutan is the perfect destination for enthusiastic horticulturalists as it contains more than 60%of the common plant species found in the Eastern Himalayas. It also boasts of approximately 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Blue Poppies (the national flower), Edelweiss, Gentian, various medicinal herbs, Daphne, Giant Rhubarb, Pine and Oak trees are among the plants commonly found.
Other Major ResourcesOther major resources are timber, hydropower, gypsum and calcium carbonate.
Brief detailIn recent years, Bhutan, like other Himalayan areas, has seen an increase in landslides due to heavier rains, and some glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) as glaciers retreat. The GLOF threat is apparently Bhutan’s strongest climate change challenge so far. Bhutan’s 24 weather stations show a rise in temperature of about 1 degree C in summer and 2 degrees in winter since 2000. Recent studies show a reduction in irrigation water availability in some areas. Other global warming effects – shifting precipitation patterns, changing growing zones, more severe weather, worsening of air and water pollution and water scarcity -- are surely on the increase. So far Bhutan’s land protection and small population density are insulating it from the scale of damaging impacts on environmental and human health seen in neighboring countries.
Bhutan’s climate varies considerably from one area to another due to dramatic changes in topography. The country has three climatic zones: (a) the southern plains, which are subtropical and characterized by high humidity and heavy rainfall; (b) the central belt of flat valleys characterized by cool winters and hot summers, with moderate rainfall; and (c) high valleys with cold winters and cool summers (RGB, 2006). This complex climate is due mainly to the country’s situation at the periphery of the tropical circulation in the north and on the periphery of the Asian monsoon circulation in the south. Summer monsoons typically last from late June through to late September, at times causing flash floods and landslides; monsoons generate approximately 70 per cent of the annual rainfall in Bhutan.
Modeling of the projected impacts of climate change has not yet been undertaken for Bhutan due to a paucity of data and a lack of capacity (RGB, 2009). The meteorological network in the country is limited, with stations limited to inner and southern Bhutan; these stations require manual recording. Climate modeling in Bhutan also faces the additional challenge of handling its complex mountain topography and the implications this geography has on local climatic conditions (RGB, 2009). However, the country’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) anticipates that an increasing trend of precipitation will occur (RGB, 2006). This conclusion is consistent with climate modeling for South Asia as a whole, which project that the region will experience: a median increase in Temperature of 2.3oC by 2100; that the greatest amount of warming will take place at higher altitudes; precipitation during the dry season will decline by 5 per cent by 2100, but during the remainder of the year will increase by a median of 11 per cent (RGB, 2009).
Bhutan’s National Environment Strategy, “The Middle Path,” highlights hydropower development, industrial growth and intensification of agriculture as the three major avenues for sustainable development in Bhutan (RGB, 1998). Tourism is also an important economic sector. All of these sectors are highly climate sensitive and vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Hydropower critically depends on predictable and stable patterns of precipitation which will be perturbed due to climate change. Subsistence farmers will be directly affected by temperature changes and monsoon patterns that are less predictable as a result of climate change. Bhutan’s roads and other important infrastructure will suffer more damage from landslides and flashfloods. The rapid melting of glaciers, besides affecting the base flow of Bhutan’s rivers, will dramatically increase the risk of GLOFs. Bhutan’s extensive forest cover, rich biodiversity and clean water resources will also be affected by climate change, which will then negatively impact the tourism and service sectors.
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|Major International Agreements||Date||Direct Link|
|Convention on Biological Diversity||25 August 1995||https://www.cbd.int/doc/legal/cbd-en.pdf|
|UN Framework Convention on Climate Change||25 August 1995||http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf|
|Convention for Combating Desertification||Under process||http://www.unccd.int/en/about-the-convention/Pages/About-the-Convention.aspx|
|UN Convention on the Law of the Sea||signed in 1982||http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf|
|World Heritage Convention (WHC)||acceded to on 22nd October 2001||http://whc.unesco.org/en/convention/|
|Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal||acceded to on 26th August 2002||http://www.basel.int/Portals/4/Basel%20Convention/docs/text/BaselConventionText-e.pdf|
|CITES||acceded to on 15th August 2002||http://www.cites.org/|
Board Representative for BhutanDasho Sherub Gyaltshen
Partnership ArrangementsThe Royal Government of Bhutan is a founding member of ICIMOD, along with 7 other member states. The Royal Government of Bhutan contributes to core support to ICIMOD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) is the designated focal agency. The incumbent Secretary of the MoAF formally represents in the ICIMOD Board of Governors. The Ministry has made arrangement of a focal person to coordinate ICIMOD activities in Bhutan. The formal letter of agreements for ICIMOD programs is routed and approved through the Gross National Happiness (GMH) Commission in close coordination with MoAF.
Working ModalitiesICIMOD will collaborate closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests on activities related to ecosystem services, natural resource management, food security and livelihood improvement; the Ministry of Economic Affairs in matters related to water, the cryosphere, and hydrometeorology; and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and Ministry of Economic Affairs in matters related to disaster risk reduction and early warning systems. ICIMOD will work with the National Land Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, and Ministry of Economic Affairs in matters related geospatial solutions and the spatial database.
Focal AgenciesMinistry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan
Focal PointKarma Phuntso
Typology of PartnersTable
List of Partners