Coinciding with the Climate Change Summit in Paris (COP21), Annete Dixon, the World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region held a joint session with Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture and Forests yesterday.
The World Bank will be increasing its support and provide up to an additional $3.8 million to mitigate climate change and prevent natural disaster in Bhutan. The global lender will be also increasing its support to other South Asian countries.
The main agenda for the support comprises a new weather and disaster improvement project to strengthen weather forecasting and natural disaster early warning in Bhutan and South Asia region as well as a Bhutan-specific pilot program for climate resilience funded through a grant from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). This grant will help Bhutan develop a comprehensive climate resilience strategy and pave the way for additional international financing from other multilateral development banks.
“The region is susceptible to the global climate change and we can witness it from the changing weather, untimely rainfall or other water related hazards or disasters which has caused crop damages.” said Dixon.
According to her statement, the Hydromet project is going to do two things, firstly it is going to help weather forecasting systems which will actually benefit everybody but especially farmers and secondly it will strengthen disaster preparedness. That way it will be helpful for Bhutan to mitigate some if the issues it faces due to climate change. Not only this, the improved hydromet system will help in predicting weather for other south Asian countries.
World Bank will be mainstreaming its support to adaptation and mitigation to climate change whereby it will work closely with the Ministry for improvements in areas such as effective irrigation, sustainable land management, effective cultivation etc. The Bank’s support will also comprise of ICT roadmap to provide clean, green, cheap and reliable source of energy. There will be technical assistance which will result in increasing access to urban bus transport.
According to Dixon, in the field of Hydropower, Bhutan could expect social and sustainable interventions which are resilient to climate change.
“Bhutan takes pride in being the carbon sink of the region and combination of all these initiatives would reduce climate change not overnight, but steadily.” said Lyonpo.
The session had a brief discussion where Lyonpo said that in any policy implementation; water shed has been given a greater importance as most of the country’s water source is from water sheds. To this, Dixon added that protecting water sheds is a broader agenda towards water management as integrated water management is important for Bhutan and the countries in the region.
“The Bank stands ready to support Bhutan manage the next stage of its economic and social development,” said Dixon. “The country has strong economic fundamentals and has the potential to stimulate entrepreneurship and provide more and better jobs for its population,” she concluded.
Dixon met with his Majesty the King and the leadership of Bhutan and learned about the country’s development progress, and discussed new areas for collaboration to promote further social cohesion, regional integration, further develop the private sector, and better manage urbanization.