Bhutan and UN’s FAO agree five year plan to improve food and nutrition security


Allan Dow, FAO Regional Communication Officer (Asia-Pacific)

Wangchuk Lhamo, Programme Assistant, FAO Bhutan

25/04/2019, Thimphu, Bhutan – The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) this week announced the development of a five-year Country Programming Framework (CPF) on technical cooperation and partnership to improve food and nutrition security.

The CPF is also designed to help safeguard and sustainably manage the uses of the Himalayan Kingdom’s natural resources as well as to combat climate change and improve resilience to  disasters.With the set target of Bhutan’s graduation to the status of lower middle income country by 2023, this CPF will also increase FAO’s support for profound economic growth, especially in agriculture transformation towards value chain-based, market-oriented, sustainable management systems, enhanced incomes, and livelihoods of rural farmers.

The formulation process of the CPF has considered major challenges faced by the Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) sector and involved iterative reviews of key national policies, development priorities as reflected in the 12th FYP (2018-2023). It also takes into account the FAO’s regional and global priorities. Other inputs for this CPF are relevant initiatives and programs of the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework for Bhutan (UNSDPF) 2019-2023 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The concept for the CPF, which was jointly prepared by FAO and RGoB, led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, was presented during a launching ceremony by Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, Minister of the Agriculture and Forests Ministry, and Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. The CPF was launched in the presence of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Lyonpo Tandi Dorji, Gerald Daly, UN Resident Coordinator, senior government officials, heads of other UN agencies, development partners and civil society organizations present in Bhutan.

“The CPF for Bhutan is a package of priority programmes that best translates FAO’s assistance to the government, ultimately leading to our critical global goal of SDG-2 – the Zero Hunger Goal, which is a global imperative set by the international community, including Bhutan, to achieve by 2030,” Kadiresan said.

Positioning farmers at the ‘business end’ of the market

FAO’s Assistant Director-General emphasized the importance of markets and linking production to markets. This is even more relevant to Bhutan where small farmers presently have limited influence on markets. However, markets can help farmers make better decisions on the choices of commodities they need to produce.

The CPF is expected to help Bhutan in preparing the 2045 RNR vision and supporting agricultural diversification through specialized operations – organic farming, Geographical Indications (GI) and GIAHS – that are suitable for Bhutan’s development model.

“While FAO continues to support human and institutional capacity building, and technical assistance, FAO and the Government can also focus on creative funding and new partnerships for selective programmes that can lead to even greater impact and results.

Related links:

 FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific  

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