Overview of SDG progressBhutan has come a long way in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals since their adoption in 2015. Except for targets linked to SDG 14 on life below water, 134 of the 143 relevant SDG targets were aligned with the indicators of the 11th Five Year Plan. Three goals were prioritized in the implementation in the 11th five-year plan; Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Bhutan still faces challenges, such as enhancing social outcomes, economic resilience, coping with climate change consequences, and developing collaborations. More information here.
National planning, implementation and budget commitmentsAs of now there is no separate national plan for funding 2030 Agenda. The resources allocated for 12th FYP will serve as funding for SDG implementation which are well embedded within the 12th FYP. However, plans are there to carry out costing exercises in collaboration with MoF for SDG implementation. Bhutan aims to keep unemployment under 2.5 per cent, increase share of national revenue from non-hydro sectors to over 75 per cent and attract approximately Nu. 10 billion ($150 m) in FDI into non-hydro sectors in the 12th FYP period (Bhutan NSDGR, 2018). Bhutan for Life project was launched in 2017 and is dedicated to permanently protect Bhutan’s network of protected areas, which constitutes 51% of the country. It is a USD $43 million fund and is/will be combined with USD $75 million from the Royal Government of Bhutan, which will be contributed over a 14-year period, to properly manage Bhutan’s protected areas.
Progress since last VNRThe government has started with the initial plan however there is no national action plan developed for the follow up activities. 1st VNR – HLPF 2018 (July) 2nd VNR – HLPF 2021 (July). When Bhutan undertook its first VNR in 2018, all the SDGs with the exception of SDG 17 were reported to be on track. Since the 1st VNR, progress was made in terms of engaging more CSOs in the consultation process. The GNHC had also carried out sensitizations for CSOs during the formulation of the reports and workshops for the local government at the district level. The SDGs are in line with GNHC policy and 12th Five Year Plan. As per the last Bhutan’s Voluntary National Review Report 2018, Bhutan is well on track implementing SDGs. 30 percent of Bhutan’s economic activity is highly susceptible to impacts of climate change. Cost of recovery from post-monsoon infrastructure damage is rising.
Key communities who face being left behindPersons recovered from Covid-19 positive (Data: Available ) Victims of rape and domestic violence (Women, children & young adults). Persons with disabilities People from LGBTQI community (Data: Available) Marginalized population affected due to NCD’s (Data: Not Available, P&P: Not included). Older Persons (Data: Available) Marginalized Farmers Urban / rural poor (Data: Not available)
How have you engaged across communities?Persons recovered from Covid-19 : At an organization level, relevant organizations sensitize the general public not to discriminate if anyone gets infected with Covid-19. And even for those suspected cases where for contact tracing purposes the names of the location, shops, restaurants etc. has to be announced in the public forums. Victims of rape and domestic violence (Women, children & young adults): In case of domestic violence survivors and rape cases, if they are in need of shelter, Respect Educate Nurture Empower Women(RENEW) provides them with shelter at Gawaling Happy Home, Wangsisina, Thimphu. Morover, they have Community Base Support System (CBSS)volunteers in 20 districts, who render any kind of support such as referral and basic counseling to those survivors. For the school students, they have Druck Adolescents Initiative for Sexual Awareness (DAISAN) in 29 schools that advocate on behalf of RENEW and also act as young ambassadors. RENEW also provide numerous livelihood skill programs such as tailoring, weaving, baking and waste management training to women and children and the survivors of the domestic and sexual violence to reintrgrate them back as independent citizens of the country. RENEW saw 53% increase in reported domestic violence cases in the year 2020. Recently a 24x7 toll free Women and Child Helpline was also launched to help improve access to counselors and also lodge grievances. Phone no: 17126353(RENEW) The National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) takes the lead role to promote and protect the rights of women and children in Bhutan. Under the leadership of NCWC, Child Care and Protection Rules and Regulations of Bhutan 2015 and Domestic Violence (DV) Prevention Rules and Regulations 2015 are framed. NCWC coordinates the Women and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) with the police, RENEW and medical services to respond to the issues of women and children. Persons With Disability (Data: Available, P&P: included): The Government endorsed the Ministerial Declaration on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities: 2013-2022. Currently, there are CSO’s providing specific services to special groups of PWDs. They are also actively advocating for policy changes and decisions through advocacy , lobby and awareness programmes. People from LGBTQI community (Data: Available, P&P: included) The Government has strongly acknowledged their existence by way of amending acts that have direct implications on this group. The group operates openly in the public as LGBTI group and has not faced any objections from any authority of the state. However, the members of the group experience suppression and harassment from the society due to lack of understanding and knowledge about LGBTI, indirectly forcing the community underground. The other vulnerable groups includes: Marginalized population affected due to Non-convertible debentures (NCDs) Providing facilitation to the NCDs infected populations by providing them basic needs and taking care of those NCDs infected populations who are abandoned by their families. Older Persons Marginalized Farmers (Data not available ) Urban / rural poor (Data: Not available, P&P: Not-included).
Overview of climate changeThe impact of climate change is felt by people at various levels across the different sectors. For instance, drying up of water sources, dealing with invasive plants in the agriculture field and the change in cultivation and harvest periods for different crops led by the change in the temperature and rainfall pattern is a common impact felt by all the farming communities. For the nomads dwelling up in the mountains, change in the snow fall pattern is increasing the mortality of their yaks as they go through the natural course of shedding their coats, and this impacts their livelihoods severely. Most of the household chores are done by women and girls in general and as water becomes scarce it impacts their efficiency. Health and hygiene is compromised with water scarcity, especially femenine hygiene. Water scarcity also impacts food production, the kitchen garden initiative for every rural household to meet the nutritional requirements of the family is also negatively impacted.
Civil society prioritiesFrom the CSO sector, the following are the proposals for the government:
- Develop an inclusive national Steering committee for SDGs
- Develop a mechanism to retrieve and update data for better impact assessment
- Strengthen the capacity of the CSOs to further enhance their effectiveness and engagement in the SDG processes Development of a guideline for CSOs to work with the Government towards achieving SDGs (Currently a generic Government- CSO collaboration guideline is being developed upon the command of His Excellency The Prime Minister)
- Strengthen coordination and collaboration between various agencies
- Need to have contingency plans.