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Reviewing the management plan of Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site




Phobjikha, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan

Date & Time

18 March 2024 to 19 March 2024

Organisers: Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Bhutan, ICIMOD

About the event

This workshop will bring together key stakeholders, including government agencies, local communities, non-governmental organisations, and experts to review the existing management of the Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site, identify key issues, and threats, and collectively identify areas and strategies for its improvement. The outcome of the consultation workshop will be used to revise and update the management plan.


  • Understand existing policies, plans and socio-economic environment impacting the management of the Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site
  • Identify key issues and threats facing the Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site
  • Facilitate discussions among stakeholders on the management gaps and opportunities
  • Agree on key action areas for a revised management for Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site


Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site wetland, located at an altitude of 3,000m in Wangdue Phodrang district in Bhutan, has been designated as a Ramsar Wetland Site of international importance in 2014 due to its unique ecological features, rich biodiversity, and cultural significance. The wetland plays a crucial role in supporting migratory birds, including the endangered, Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), and provides essential ecosystem services to the local communities. It is important to manage and conserve these sites for their multiple values. After the acceptance of the area as a Ramsar Site, a management plan is under preparation. Simultaneously, management activities are ongoing to address immediate conservation needs and safeguard the wetland ecosystem. However, in recent times, the Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site wetland is under threat mainly due to unregulated tourism, infrastructure development, pollution by heavy use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and overgrazing by livestock. The ongoing climate change also added further complexity and challenges to the management of the area. It is therefore necessary to understand the new issues and challenges faced by the wetland, review the effectiveness of the existing management activities, and revise the management plan so that it can address the new challenges.

ICIMOD’s Strategy 2030 and Medium-term Action Plan V (MTAP 2023-2026) has included high-altitude wetlands as an important subject within intervention – on ‘Managing rangelands for multiple benefits under Action Area on Restoring and Regenerating Landscapes’. As an effort of knowledge generation, it plans to conduct mapping and rapid assessment of the management status of the important wetlands (mainly Ramsar Sites) and peatlands of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region to advocate policy changes and increase investments from the member countries for the management of such areas and identify areas for regional collaboration.


Time Programme
 18 March 2024, Monday
08:30–09:00 Registration
09:00–10:30 Session 1: Opening

  • Welcome remarks
  • Objectives of the workshop
  • Overview of Gangtey-Phobji Ramsar Site
  • Land use land cover change in Phobjikha valley
  • Remarks by guests
  • Introduction of participants
10:30–11:00 Group photo and tea break
11:00–12:30 Session 2: Identifying value, threats and risks of Ramsar site


Group work

12:30–13:30 Lunch
13:30–17:00 Field visit
19 March 2024, Tuesday
09:00–09:15 Recap of Day 1
09:15–10:15 Group presentation
10:15–10:30 Tea Break
10:30–11:15 Stakeholder existing policies and plans
11:15–12:30 Session 3: Visioning exercise and opportunities

Group work

12:30–13:30 Lunch
13:30–15:00 Session 4: Identifying action plan and roadmap for management plan

Group work

15:00–15:30 Tea break
15:30–16:30 Plenary sharing and discussion
16:30–17:00 Session 5: Closing session