WWF-Bhutan Launch Ambitious $30 Million Conservation Plan

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, together with Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), unveiled WWF-Bhutan’s Strategic Plan for 2025 – 2029. The ceremony marked the beginning of a forward-looking $30 million project aimed at blending conservation efforts with sustainable development over the next five years.

The plan, set to kick off in July 2024, reflects a deepening of Bhutan’s nearly half-century partnership with WWF, an alliance that has brought significant environmental initiatives to the forefront of national priorities. “I am delighted to see this transition from nature to people for prosperity benefiting over 130,000 people in the next four years through your partnership in Bhutan which we needed in our rural community,” remarked Lyonchhen Tobgay during the event.

The strategy emphasizes a shift from traditional conservation methods to a more integrated approach that includes community engagement, innovative conservation techniques, and sustainable economic practices such as ecotourism and responsible forest utilization. “This plan gives me faith to continue to conserve what we treasure, while at the same time guaranteeing the prosperity of the people,” the Prime Minister added.

Carter Roberts highlighted the economic aspects of the new plan, noting that it will bolster Bhutan’s ecotourism sector and teach local communities how to utilize forest resources without causing environmental damage. “I would be partnering with the government of Bhutan in financing conservation of nature which is the fundamental foundation,” said Roberts.

The strategic blueprint aims to position Bhutan as a model for sustainable and equitable development, aligning with the nation’s vision of a ‘Sustainable and Just Bhutan for Nature and People.’ It addresses the complex drivers of environmental degradation with a people-centered strategy that leverages diverse conservation financing mechanisms.

Key components of the plan include cultivating stewardship, implementing integrated programs, pursuing conservation financing shifts, and securing connected transboundary landscapes. This integrated approach is expected to support national priorities by fostering opportunities for collaboration with the government of Bhutan and a diverse range of partners, enabling innovative projects and solutions.

Additionally, WWF-Bhutan, in collaboration with other WWF offices in the Eastern Himalayas, aims to secure interconnected landscapes to safeguard the region’s rich biodiversity and foster resilient ecosystems and economies.

This comprehensive approach not only emphasizes conservation for “people, prosperity, and progress” but also aims for a harmonious co-existence between nature and the communities that depend on it. By engaging communities and promoting nature-based solutions, the plan seeks to enhance societal, economic, environmental, and biodiversity benefits, thereby aligning with Bhutan’s overarching development goals.

The launch of this strategic plan marks a significant milestone in Bhutan’s conservation efforts, setting a new paradigm for how biodiversity and natural resources are managed and preserved in the face of modern challenges.

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