Press Release (BTFEC releases first tranche of Nu 32.500 million to BFL)

BTFEC releases first tranche of Nu 32.500 million to BFL
The Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC), and the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) today, 13 August 2019, signed Memorandum of Understanding as financial assistance of up to US$ 7,000,000. The BTFEC provides this amount for program financing of Bhutan For Life (BFL) as a ‘project finance for permanence’ in Protected Areas of Bhutan. This is as a support to contribution over the 14 years for the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Annually, BTFEC will release Nu 32.500 million in accordance with the annual work plan prepared and submitted to BTFEC by Project Coordination Unit. The first tranche of Nu 32.500 million is being released to the Royal Government of Bhutan, based on the work plan submitted for the activities that will be implemented during the period beginning 1st July 2019 through 30th June 2020. The grant will be used to fund protected areas and its corridors

At a simple ceremony, the Chairman of the Management Board, Kesang Wangdi the Cabinet Secretary said the project implementers should be mindful of the resources and the fund is used responsibly meeting specific targets.  Stressing on the importance of conserving the fragile environment of Bhutan, he said that climate change is real, environmental degradation is seen everywhere, where, often the effects are felt disproportionately.

In recent years, BTFEC has collaborated with GEF, Climate Investment Fund, Work Bank, Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund exploring funding mechanisms beyond its endowment fund. In 2018, BTFEC has become the only National Implementing Entity for Adaptation Fund in Bhutan and it is in the process of getting accredited to Green Climate Fund. Through such financing windows BTFEC is looking forward to support various climate projects in the country and at the same time see a steady growth of its endowment fund, which as of today stands at 70 millions US$ — an exponential increase from initial endowment of 20 million US$.

The Director of BTFEC said: “Today is yet another big step for BTFEC as it commits to provide Nu. 32.5 million annually till 2032 for taking the protected areas of Bhutan to the next level by supporting the Bhutan for Life conservation program. BTFEC takes pride to be able to support conservation initiatives that remains as a deep concern for Our Majesty, the Druk Gylapo.”

With the signing of grant agreement, the Director of GNH Commission said that the money would be complementing the implementation of Bhutan’s 12th Five Year. He added that all activities that will be funded under the BTFEC contribution are well aligned with the 12th FYP and the same will be initiated while going beyond 12th FYP. In 12 FPY alone, the contribution of BTFEC in all biological and protected areas could go up till Nu 162.5 million and similar contribution will be continued beyond the 12th FYP solely for the implementation of BFL program.

Thanking the BTFEC for its support, the Executive Director of Bhutan For Life said that the BFL is confident in ensuring effective and efficient implementation of BFL program activities in its pursuit to further fortify the conservation legacy of our Monarchs.

With BTFEC’s contribution of Nu 32.5 million, the government has entered into agreement for the BFL fund worth NU 2.725 billion.

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