Back to events

Scaling nature-based solutions for water and green mountain livelihoods in Bhutan: Multistakeholder interaction and engagement




Paro, Bhutan

Date & Time

15 May 2023 to 19 May 2023

Organised by: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL)
Supported by: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Government of the United Kingdom

Multistakeholder interaction and engagement


About the event

ICIMOD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL), the Royal Government of Bhutan, are co-organising a multistakeholder interaction and engagement to bring together all relevant stakeholders interested and engaged in sustainable land and water resource management, especially those supporting actions around springshed management, ecosystem management, energy-efficient irrigation, and sustainable livelihoods development.

The event also includes a two-day field visit with the aim to shed light on existing projects on springshed management, including irrigation systems; and bioprospecting for green mountain livelihoods, and will help examining them from the nature-based solutions (NbS) lens. How do these projects relate to the NbS criteria and standard? Are they gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) responsive? The field sessions will culminate in stakeholder consultations, where we will develop a shared understanding of NbS, explore key enablers and barriers to scaling NbS, and draft future engagement strategies to promote NbS for water and green mountain livelihoods in Bhutan.



This event aims to advance knowledge, practices, and policies on NbS.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Develop a shared understanding of GESI-responsive NbS
  • Understand existing interventions around NbS for water (springshed, use of renewable energy for lift irrigation) and for green mountain livelihoods through the NbS lens
  • Discuss enablers and barriers for scaling NbS (What is good? What needs improvement?)
  • Identify co-demonstration sites and partnerships landscape for generating proof-of-concept (Where can we start? Who can join hands and contribute?)


Expected outputs

  • Agreed plan and design for GESI-responsive springshed management in combination with energy-efficient irrigation
  • Agreed way forward plan for GESI-responsive NbS for green mountain livelihoods looking at the opportunities through bioprospecting



Today, it is imperative to look at development pathways from both climate and biodiversity lenses, especially in countries where climate vulnerabilities are high and where people depend on nature for their livelihoods. NbS have high potential to address both climate change and biodiversity loss. They are approaches to address environmental, social, and economic challenges that involve the conservation, restoration, or enhancement of natural or modified ecosystems.

The intervention on NbS will be supported by the Himalayan Resilience Enabling Action Programme (HI-REAP). HI-REAP is a seven-year programme, supported by the Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA) Programme of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), which aims to build climate resilience in five countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal. CARA aims to ‘deliver a major shift on resilience in Asia – moving from incremental and isolated investments to building systems resilience to climate change in Asia that unlocks action and finance needed for transformational adaptation’.

HI-REAP focuses on promoting regional cooperation and collaboration for policy influence and investment for scaling NbS and air pollution solutions. Wider adoption of GESI-responsive NbS is expected in three priority sectors: water, disasters, and green mountain livelihoods. The NbS in each context will be co-developed with national partners, based on country-specific programmes. In Bhutan, HI-REAP seeks to develop a partnership that collectively leverages resources for co-designing and co-implementing GESI-responsive NbS for water and for green mountain livelihoods. The idea is to highlight the government’s role and leadership in creating enabling policy and programmatic conditions, and strengthen implementation partnerships among various institutions in Bhutan, both state and non-state institutions. This programme will support the co-design and co-demonstration of GESI-responsive NbS, especially to garner support from a wider constituency for adoption and scaling.



Day 1: 15 May 2023

  • Arrival in Bhutan
  • Meeting to discuss field plan and modality of stakeholder consultation

Day 2 and 3: 16–17 May 2023

Field visits

Facilitation: Bhutan

Objective: Understand the interventions through the NbS lens promoting social learning on NbS and its criteria for assessing their effectiveness

  • NbS for water (springs revival and energy-efficient irrigation)
  • NbS for green mountain livelihoods (bioprospecting)

Reception dinner: 17 May 2023 in Paro

Day 4: 18 May 2023

Time Programme
08:3009:00 Registration
Opening session: Setting the context

Facilitator: Dago Retty, Country Support Officer, Bhutan, ICIMOD (Policy and Planning Division, MoAL)



Welcome remarks – Sonam Pelgen, Senior Planning Officer, Policy and Planning Division, MoAL (Member HKH High Level Task Force)
Brief introduction to ICIMOD’s new MTAP V programme portfolio and HI-REAP overview – Tashi Dorji, Senior Livestock and Rangeland Specialist, ICIMOD
HI-REAP NbS and objectives – Bandana Shakya, Action Area Coordinator – Restoring and Regenerating Landscapes, ICIMOD
Field visit summary: NbS for water – Sanjeev Bhuchar, Senior Water Management Specialist, ICIMOD
Field visit summary: NbS for green mountain livelihoods – Abid Hussain, Senior Economist and Food Systems Specialist, ICIMOD
Opening address – Thinley Namgyel, Hon’ble Secretary, MoAL (Member, ICIMOD Board of Governor)
Vote of thanks – Dago Retty, ICIMOD
Tea break/photo
10:30–11:30 Technical session I: Understanding nature-based solutions

Facilitator: Bandana Shakya, ICIMOD

All participants to express their views and opinion on what kind of actions can be considered as NbS, and what examples are there in Bhutan?

11:30–12:30 Technical session II: Exploring enablers and barriers

Facilitator: Tashi Dorji, ICIMOD

All participants to express their views about what can support the effective implementation of NbS, and what can hinder it?

12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30–14:30 Technical session III: Springshed management and energy efficient irrigation – action plan

Facilitator: Sanjeev Bhuchar and Mewang Gyeltshen, ICIMOD

All participants are to be familiarised with the springshed management/energy efficient irrigation concepts and the GESI responsive methodology for reviving springs and irrigation systems; discussion on provisional plan of action

14:30–15:30 Technical session IV: Bioprospecting-based green mountain livelihoods: Action plan

Facilitator: Abid Hussain, ICIMOD

All participants will be aware of opportunities through bioprospecting as GESI-responsive NbS for green mountain livelihoods; discussion on provisional plan of action

15:30–16:00 Tea break
De-briefing session to government authorities

Facilitator: Dago Retty, ICIMOD (Policy and Planning Division, MoAL)

16:00–17:30 Summary: HI-REAP NbS and field visit
Action plan submission on NbS water/energy efficient irrigation
Action plan submission on NbS green mountain livelihoods
Interaction and suggestions on delivery and partnership
Closing remarks – MoAL, Bhutan
Vote of thanks – ICIMOD


A climate-resilient future with nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore natural ecosystems that address environmental, social, economic, and gender-related challenges while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.