Opening Note of BTFEC Director (CEO) at Grant Agreement Signing with Royal Government of Bhutan
Hon’ble Chairman and Members of the Board, Directors, GNHC and Dept. of Forests and Park Services and Honored guests and my dear colleagues.
May I thank everyone gathered here today to this grand signing of MOU. I would also like to take the opportunity to say a few words on Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation. As we all know that BTFEC is one of the world’s first environmental trust funds, established in 1992 under the guidance and vision of our Monarchs as an innovative mechanism to finance conservation in a sustainable way. BTFEC has indeed been an effective conservation grant-making organization that has supported more than 200 projects worth over Nu. 1158 million (24 USD) as of June 2019.
Ladies and Gentleman, Allow me to highlight a few key achievements,
BTFEC has initially funded and assisted to establish almost all of the 10 protected areas in the country, and recruited more than 140 technical staff that were later formalized into RGoB’s recruitment system. Similarly, it supported the human resources development of more than 600 Bhutanese in conservation arenas through short and long-term studies.
In terms of assessment of biological resources in the country, it has supported first ever survey and development of management plans for key species like Snow Leopard, Elephant, White-bellied Heron, Musk deer & Takins. In addition, it has supported and provided platform for the first ever National Forest Inventory in the country. Another milestone is the documentation and development of guidebook of local fish diversity in all major river basins of Bhutan. SMART-patrolling is yet another initiative which BTFEC has rigorously supported through the GEF project, which in long-run would assist in informed-decision makings. It also supported numerous innovative technology adoption projects for wood industries and climate change.
For promotion of environmental-values for future generation, BTFEC has been successfully mainstream environmental science curriculum into school education from class 9 till grade 12. Similarly, BTFEC established recreational parks such as Royal Botanical Garden, Ludrong Memorial Garden, Thimphu Ecological Park and Changjiji Recreational Area. Numerous creational parks are under development at Dechencholing Dangrina, Babesa, Babena and Trashicho Dzong Garden project.
In recent years; we have collaborated with GEF, Climate Investment Fund, Work Bank, Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund. Thus, BTFEC is exploring funding mechanisms beyond its endowment fund. In 2018, BTFEC has become the only National Implementing Entity for Adaptation Fund in Bhutan and we are also 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 see a steady growth of its endowment fund, which as of today stands at 70 millions US$. This is an exponential increase from initial endowment of 20 million US$.
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.
As envisioned in the Constitution of Bhutan to maintain 60% of the country under forest for all times to come, the establishment of BFL provides a golden opportunity for BTFEC to explore options and focus in the strengthening management and conservation outside protected areas for equ-distribution of the conservation effort in the rest of the 49% of the country.
I wish the Department of Forests and Park Services and BFL a successful implementation of conservation programs in the Protected Areas (PAs).
Tashi Delek and Thank you!