Revision of Bhutan’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan underway

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A three day workshop on the revision of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Bhutan was held from 8th to 10th January 2013 in Phuentsholing with working group members from the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS), Department of Livestock (DoL), Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Services (BAFRA), Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN), United Nations Development Program’s Small Grant Program (UNDP/SGP), National Environment Commission (NEC) and the National Biodiversity Centre.

The workshop was organized in order to build capacity in setting national targets and indicators as well as to identify the key themes for incorporation in the revised NSBAP and the relevant inputs required from different stakeholders. The three day workshop saw intense deliberations on the 20 global biodiversity targets and their relevance in the national context, key issues surrounding biodiversity of Bhutan, strengths and weaknesses of the existing implementation and coordination mechanism, availability of data for setting targets and choosing indicators etc. The workshop ended with the distribution of the 20 biodiversity targets to different working group members for further review and analysis in order to identify targets and indicators which are of the greatest national relevance and significance. Each member will present their findings in the upcoming meeting scheduled in the first week of March, 2013. Once the working group formulates the draft BAP/NBSAP, along with tentative targets and indicators, the document will be thoroughly discussed with all the stakeholders.

The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), commonly referred to as the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) in Bhutan is a strategic document outlining the programs and action plans for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the country. Till date, Bhutan has formulated and revised three Biodiversity Action Plans with the first Biodiversity Action Plan in 1998 followed by two revisions in 2002 and 2009. However with the adoption of the revised Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010 at Nagoya, Japan, Bhutan needs to realign its National action Plan in line with the global strategic framework and the 20 time-bound biodiversity targets (referred to as Aichi biodiversity targets).

In order to build national competence and confidence in formulating national strategies and action plans, this revision of the BAP will be written by the working group with coordination and guidance by the National Biodiversity Centre. It will also be a holistic plan with strong participation, consultation and ownership by all relevant biodiversity stakeholders in the country.

WG in discussion

This workshop is second in a series of meetings and workshops scheduled for the working group till December 2013, which is the expected timeline to complete the task of revising the NBSAP. The first meeting was held on 6th December 2012 in Thimphu, where the terms of reference for the working group and the work plan were discussed and endorsed.

The revision of the NBSAP is funded through the GEF trust fund through the project “GEF Expedited Enabling Activity Support to Bhutan for the Revision of the NBSAPs and Development of Fifth National Report to the CBD” and is implemented jointly by the National Environment Commission Secretariat and National Biodiversity Centre.

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