Climate: Bhutan’s fight against climate change just got stronger. The World Bank will pump in another USD 3.8 million to help the country combat climate change and prevent natural disasters.

The Bank’s vice president for South Asia, Annette Dixon announced the decision on the last day of her first visit yesterday.

“Bhutan has long been a champion and a global leader for climate change adaptation and disaster resilience. With this new funding, we’re initiating a transformative low-carbon strategy, which will embrace all sectors of the economy and could become a model for the rest of South Asia,” Annette Dixon said.

The support is for a new weather and disaster improvement project. This would strengthen weather forecasting and natural disaster early warning system. It also includes a grant to develop a climate resilience strategy, which is expected to pave way for additional international financing from other multilateral development banks.

“Bhutan is setting the stage for an ambitious agenda to tackle climate change and protect the people of Bhutan and South Asia from the risks of a warming climate and extreme weather,” the vice president said.

National Environment Commission’s vice chairperson and agriculture minister, Yeshey Dorji said the hydro-mett forecast would help farmers and in minimising loss to disasters.

The minister leaves with a team for a 10 -day meet at the Convention of Parties 21 in Paris today. Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said the country has four expectations from the summit.

One of the expected outcomes are to get endorsed a legally-binding agreement which will limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees or lower, and all countries making ambitious and legally-binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

“We would like to see a support mechanism to support the least developed and vulnerable countries meet their commitments,” he said.

The last is a transparent review mechanism to ensure countries stay true to their commitments, which can be upgraded and enhanced over time.

“I hope I’ll return with vigour and confidence from the summit,” he said.

The country committed to remaining carbon neutral in 2009 and has since embarked on initiatives in agriculture and sustainable land management, green energy, and green urban transport system among others.

Among Bhutan’s many achievements is its impressive progress in addressing climate change, she said. “It has lessons to teach many other countries in adapting to climate change in South Asia and around the world,” Annette Dixon said.

She said these lessons are highly relevant as the world negotiates a new pact on climate change at the International Climate Change Summit in Paris. “We hope these talks will mark a turning point that moves the global economy to a low carbon and more resilient path.”

By Tshering Palden