The Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat and Bhutan for Life (BFL) Fund Secretariat signed a grant agreement to put into operation the Bhutan for Life Initiative, yesterday.

Bhutan for Life is a ‘Project Finance for Permanence (PFP)’ mechanism to provide a sustained flow of fund to effectively manage Bhutan’s protected areas and biological corridors.

Representatives from BFL’s key partners – the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests were present during the signing ceremony.

A press release from the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) states that with the signing of the agreement, the BFL Fund Secretariat commits Nu 2.4 billion to the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB).

The fund would be released annually over the programme period of 14 years, in accordance with the BFL programme’s annual plans.

“The programme will ensure that there is adequate funding to properly manage Bhutan’s protected areas, which constitute over 51 percent of the country, the highest percentage of land designated as protected in Asia,” it states.

BFL Fund Secretariat’s Executive Director Pema Wangda(PhD), according to the press release,said, “Bhutan for Life is a true testament of our monarchs’ unwavering dedication to preserving Bhutan’s unparalleled conservation legacy. It is yet another gift to the people of Bhutan.”

Prior to the signing of the grant agreement, a three-day BFL/Green Climate Fund inception workshop was conducted from April 8 -10 in Thimphu.

GNHC’s Secretary Thinley Namgyel, said BFL is the first Green Climate Fund supported project for Bhutan in partnership with Bhutan government and WWF.

“This project will go a long way in financing climate change adaptation and mitigation actions of the 12th Plan and beyond,” he said.

Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen launched the Bhutan for Life initiative on November 11, 2017. The BFL fund secretariat was established through the Royal Charter granted by His Majesty The King on July 27, 2018.

The Bhutan for Life Fund is supported by contributions from the Green Climate Fund, Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation, individual donors, foundations, the WWF and co-financing from the Global Environment Facility and the Government of Bhutan.

Staff Reporter