Bhutan and Cambodia share lessons on climate resilient development through a South-South Exchange Programme

Established in 2008, the programme has steadily partnered with the Royal Government of Bhutan to realize its vision of an ecologically secure, inclusive and happy future for its people. 

The Poverty-Environment Initiative supports in-country efforts in Bhutan to mainstream poverty, environment, climate change and disaster resilience in national and local planning and budgeting processes through the establishment of a Mainstreaming Reference Group for eco-resilient, socially inclusive planning. The group works on building awareness and capacity of ministries, local governments and other relevant sectors and engages with grassroots organizations and communities to ensure that mainstreaming is effective and sustainable in the long run.

Over time, the Government has amassed expertise, specialized knowledge, tools, handy lessons and brought champions to the forefront to advocate for innovative solutions to meet poverty-environment challenges.

The Government of Bhutan had the opportunity to share these lessons with the Government of Cambodia in a recent visit from the latter to Thimphu. A 14-member delegation from Cambodia headed by H.E. Ngan Chamroeun, Under Secretary of State Ministry of Interior and Deputy Executive Head of National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat, along with members from other relevant ministries, provinces and UNDP participated in a week-long exchange programme facilitated by PEI Bhutan and the Department of Local Governance from 19-25 April 2015.  

The focus of the south-south exchange programme was to learn and share experiences of integrating climate change and disaster risk reduction into national and local policies, aligning national and regional policies and allocating funds from national sources to local bodies to implement projects in this regard. Participants discussed important factors like engaging key cross cutting sectors and promoting ownership at the grassroots.

Both delegations identified many commonalities in their country like how a majority of their population live in rural areas and rely primarily on agriculture and natural resources for livelihood and how similar their respective financial and planning systems were in their operations.

His Excellency, Ngan Chamroeun, from the Government of Cambodia, said that capacity building for policy makers, the role of the private sector and financing local governments were the key takeaways from the exchange programme.  Recognizing that one of the biggest strengths of Bhutan’s approach was how deeply integrated climate change and disaster issues were in policy, planning and financing at every administrative level, the Cambodian delegation committed to adopting these lessons in strengthening their own sub-national bodies and processes.

Speaking about the event, Mr. Tshering Dorji, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Home & Cultural Affairs said

“I feel proud and honoured to host this delegation which is not only the first of its kind, but also for the reason that the delegation is here in the country on a noble pursuit to address a global issue threatening the humanity that is climate change. Collaboration between individuals, development actors and countries is very important to address this common issue.”


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