The Adaptation Fund, with committed US$ 462 million to support 73 countries, has accredited the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environment Conservation (BTFEC) as Bhutan’s first national implementing entity (NIE) under direct access in January this year.

BTFEC is the Fund’s 28th NIE to become accredited around the world with the capability to develop effective adaptation projects for the most vulnerable communities.

The accreditation means Bhutan could raise international donors’ confidence and trust, leverage for raising funds, building national human capacity, and filling-up the financial resources gap for climate change.

“This is great news not only for the BTFEC but for the nation as well, as it will go a long way in supporting the nation in its quest to combat climate change and its adaptation issues in the country,” BTFEC director, Dr Pema Choephyel, said.

The NIE accreditation process, according to BTFEC, helps countries build their capacities to adapt to climate change over the long term by enhancing local capabilities.

“It also helps countries identify and manage effective, localised and country-led projects, as well as apply principles of the Adaptation Fund’s environmental, social and gender policies, which foster human rights, gender equality, vulnerable and marginalised groups and biodiversity conservation in Fund’s projects in a transparent manner,” a press release from BTFEC stated.

It also stated that in Bhutan’s case, the accreditation process was very fast and took less than 15 months from the time BTFEC submitted its application to the Adaptation Fund in November 2016.

“This was possible because BTFEC had good legal status and financial discipline alongside the safeguards such as risk mitigation, corruption and fraud, social and environmental, and gender safeguards,” the press release stated.

Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) is the national designated authority (NDA), which will confirm that the endorsed project or programme proposal is in accordance with the government’s national or regional priorities in implementing adaptation activities to reduce adverse impacts of, and risks posed by climate change in the country or region.

“Bhutan is already firmly committed to addressing climate change; 60 percent of its land is protected as forest and it sequesters more carbon than it emits. It also is very committed to adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. But as an LDC, international support is key for Bhutan, so we are very pleased with this result,” the chair of the Adaptation Fund board, Michael Kracht, said. “We also see BTFEC as having the potential to become a role model down the road through activities such as our NIE south-south cooperation program.”

Staff reporter