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UNDP Human Development Report for Bhutan Highlights Climate Change Threats

UNDP1 September 2011: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has released the third National Human Development Report for Bhutan, titled “Sustaining Progress: Rising to the Climate Challenge.” The report notes that climate change is threatening the economic and human development gains that contribute to Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNH) and that building resilience is crucial to safeguard the livelihoods of about a quarter of the Bhutanese population who depend on subsistence farming and natural resources.

Bhutan has committed to environmental conservation and to remain a carbon neutral country. The report underlines that due to an export ban on unprocessed forest timber and the constitutional protection of 60% of the country's forest cover, Bhutan has maintained its status as a net sink for greenhouse gases (GHGs). Nevertheless, it warns that melting of the country's glaciers can lead to water shortages in the future and jeopardize the hydropower sector, which the economy is dependent on.

In order to increase climate resilience, the report recommends integrating climate policies, strategies and action plans into national poverty reduction strategies and development plans. It calls for the promotion of a green development and for further control of potentially harmful activities, such as logging, mining, mass tourism and the use of pesticides. The report further recommends: establishing baseline climate information and data; expanding ongoing climate financing mechanisms; and improving management systems in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, forests and water resources. The Bhutan National Human Development report is the result of a collaboration between UNDP and the GNH Commission Secretariat of the Government of Bhutan. [Publication: Bhutan National Human Development Report 2011: Sustaining Progress – Rising to the Climate Challenge] [UNDP Press Release]