World Bank Supports Sustainable Land
Management In Bhutan
Washington, D.C., January 17, 2006 -The World
Bank's Board of Directors today
approved a US$7.66 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
strengthen institutional and community capacity for anticipating and
land degradation in Bhutan.
"The Sustainable Land Management Project will provide approaches, tools, and
interventions to reverse damage to land due to weak policies, overgrazing,
forest degradation, and unsustainable agricultural practices of the past,"
said Malcolm Jansen, World Bank Senior Environmental Specialist and Task
Leader for the project. "The effort will also help support decentralized
decision making on land management issues and help broaden the sources of
livelihood and well being of selected local communities in Bhutan."
Land degradation is emerging as a key environmental problem in Bhutan
environmental conservation occupying a pivotal place in the national
development policies and programs. Factors such as increased pace of
infrastructure development, unsustainable agricultural practices,
overgrazing, and deforestation combine with natural factors such as the
country's inherently fragile geologic conditions, rugged topography and
heavy monsoon rains to exacerbate land degradation in many areas of the
Project success will be measured by showing (i) an increase in the number of
farmers practicing sustainable land management techniques and (ii) the
number of geogs (local government administrative areas) developing and
implementing land degradation prevention plans. In addition, the project
aims to see a 10 percent reduction of sediment flow in selected
micro-watersheds in project areas.
The project is designed around four main components:
• Pilot projects to demonstrate effective application of land degradation
• Mainstreaming of practices for protection against land degradation
• Policy support and guidance for mainstreaming land degradation prevention
• National-level support for coordination of implementation of land
The project supports the goals of the new Country Assistance Strategy (for
period FY2006-2009) by emphasizing the need to support environmental
In addition to the GEF grant of US$7.66 million , parallel financing will
enhance the project with approximately US$5.77 million from DANIDA and
US$2.46 million from the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF), established in 1991, helps developing
countries fund projects and programs that protect the global environment.
grants support projects related to biodiversity, climate change,
waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic
The World Bank Group is one of GEF's implementing agencies (along with the
United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Environmental
Program) and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and
supervising their implementation. The Bank plays the primary role in
the development and management of investment projects. The Bank draws upon
investment experience in eligible countries to promote investment
and to mobilize private sector, bilateral, multilateral, and other
and nongovernment sector resources that are consistent with GEF objectives
national sustainable development strategies.