YK Poudel

The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) entered into a long-term collaboration and cooperation through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 5.

Bhutan is one of the founding members of ICIMOD since its establishment in 1983.

The MoU was signed between Karma Tshering, Secretary of MoENR, and Pema Gyamtsho (PhD), Director General of ICIMOD in the presence of energy and natural resources minister, Gem Tshering.

“The MoU represents our mutual commitment to collaborate, share knowledge, and drive meaningful progress. We look forward to a successful partnership that will contribute to the greater good of our society and the environment,” said Lyonpo Gem Tshering.

Secretary said that the ministry is delighted to formalise the collaboration with ICIMOD through this signing. “This partnership reflects our commitment to leveraging ICIMOD’s expertise and resources to advance sustainable development initiatives in Bhutan.”

Dr Pema Jamtsho said that ICIMOD as a leading regional and intergovernmental knowledge centre, emphasises the importance of regional cooperation and knowledge exchange.“Our partnership with MoENR underlines our dedication to addressing environmental challenges and fostering socio-economic resilience in the region.” 

Previously, ICIMOD collaborated with Bhutan through periodic Memoranda of Understanding, engaging with some of the agencies, the erstwhile Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF). 

After the civil service reforms of 2022, ICIMOD now enters a new phase of collaboration with the MoENR, establishing MoENR as the nodal agency for ICIMOD’s activities in Bhutan.

The signing of this MoU is a strategic partnership between MoENR and ICIMOD to deepen and strengthen ICIMOD’s portfolio in Bhutan. 

As per a press release from ICIMOD, the new strategy, 2030: Moving Mountains, and the 5th Medium-Term Action Plan (MTAP V), spanning 2023 to 2026, the collaboration aims to align with Bhutan’s development agenda, fostering targeted and impactful contributions to national priorities. 

“Strengthening Regional Member Countries’ (RMC) engagement stands as a cornerstone of ICIMOD’s strategy, endorsed by the Board of Governors of the eight regional member countries,” the press release states.

The understanding sets the stage for enhanced collaboration in critical areas such as reducing climate and environmental risks, shaping resilient mountain economies, and enabling sustainable regional mechanisms. 

The signing was followed by the establishment and  formalisation of the Bhutan-ICIMOD Coordination Committee and the Bhutan Country Desk, through which the partnership aims to streamline efforts and maximise impact.