Representatives from government, non-government organisations and the UN agencies in the country discussed the draft common country analysis (CCA) report yesterday.

The CCA will provide the evidence base for the development of the 2019 – 2023 UN development assistance framework (UNDAF). The document, along with others, will help guide the UN country team to engage in and support Bhutan’s development efforts in the 12th Plan.

The report identifies four key thematic issues that have the potential for joint programming, on climate resilience and disaster risk management, gender equality, food and nutrition security, and SDG data for evidence-based decision-making.

Some of the key issues in climate resilience and disaster risk management are coordination across multiple sectors and agencies; shortage of appropriately skilled manpower to effectively deal with disasters; barriers including limitations in basic data, financial resources, knowledge and information and institutional capacities.

The draft, developed in consultation with various agencies, points out the need for an effective disaster management institutional framework, improved coordination, hazard zonation and vulnerability mapping, disaster management plans and contingency plans at national and local levels, additional efforts to prevention, preparedness and rehabilitation, and critical infrastructures.

In gender equality, maternal and reproductive health issues such as enrollment and completion in tertiary education, job quality, low participation in public decision-making and political spheres, and gender-based violence are the challenges.

However, there is a need to strengthen gender mainstreaming process, implementation of key legislation, collection and use of sex-disaggregated data (and capacities), and need to address remaining gender gaps.

The challenges to the RNR sector affect food and nutrition security and there is a need to revisit the whole agriculture system as it evolves.

For a robust data collection, awareness among decision-makers on the importance of data, coordination within data producers, institutional capacities, the legal framework governing official statistics, and a culture of evaluation is essential.

National Statistical Bureau director, Chimi Tshering said that the bureau is working on strengthening data collection at the local level.

An official from National Environment Commission, Karma Tshering, said that a lot of activities are planned at the local level but needs capacity building.

The UN Resident Coordinator (RC) Gerald Daly said that over the next few months, the UN system would continue the discussion with the government before finalising its own framework for the next five years.

“It also needs to be thinking about 2030, so areas such as capacity building are where we need to help the government,” the UN resident representative said.

He said that it was time to look at the future and ongoing challenges of Bhutan and start to think about what could be the solutions.

“For instance, we need to be thinking about what could be the impact of climate change. If climate change is going to have some of the disadvantages that many people are predicting then, how can the UN help,” he said.

“As Bhutan becomes stronger, we need to think about helping the vulnerable section of the society such as the elderly and disabled.”

Tshering Palden