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Sixth National Report

  published:31 Dec 2018

Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level

Bhutan

National Target 1: By 2018, at least 60 percent of the population is aware of values of biodiversity and steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.

Currently, about 66 per cent of the population interacts with Protected Areas (PA), where environmental education is part of the PA management as mandated by environmental legislations. However, these programmes are ad hoc and limited to raising awareness on environmental rules and regulations or basic understanding of the environment and environmental problems. There are also a number of on-going Environmental Education programs targeting different sections of the population. However, what has been lacking quintessentially is an institutionalized mechanism to ensure that the public understanding of the importance of biodiversity and their role in conserving it, as well as environmental legislations are elevated. Thus, as a first step, it is crucial to ascertain the proportion of the population aware of biodiversity and its values, which will guide in assessing of the efficacy of the existing awareness initiatives, and identify gaps and target groups. In targeting 60 per cent of the population, efforts will be focused primarily on the population living within the PAs. Existing Environmental Education programmes will be strengthened to target the general population, including schools, institutions, private and corporate sectors.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
1. Awareness of biodiversity values
People are aware of the values of biodiversity
People are aware of the steps they can take to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity
 
1. Awareness of biodiversity values
2. Integration of biodiversity values
3. Incentives
4. Use of natural resources
5. Loss of habitats
6. Sustainable fisheries
7. Areas under sustainable management
8. Pollution
9. Invasive Alien Species
10. Vulnerable ecosystems
11. Protected areas
12. Preventing extinctions
13. Agricultural biodiversity
14. Essential ecosystem services
15. Ecosystem resilience
16. Nagoya Protocol on ABS
17. NBSAPs
18. Traditional knowledge
19. Biodiversity knowledge
20. Resource mobilization
Relevant documents and information

The National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan 2014 was developed by a National Task Force through rigorous consultations. During the stakeholder consultations, this target received the highest rating considering it as an extremely important target at the national level. This is also based on the premise that this target cuts across all other national targets.  

EN

National Target 2: By 2018, establish national capacity for valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services to integrate into national development planning and policy making process and national accounting system, as appropriate.

Currently, the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services is limited to national capacity building initiatives for REDD- readiness, Payment for Environmental Services (PES), National Forestry Inventory, and ad hoc valuation of some protected areas and ecosystem services. However, there is a lack of systematic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the country. This has been mainly due to inadequate national capacity and institutional mechanism to coordinate and lead programs for valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Therefore, the focus of this target is to build national capacities for valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and incorporation of these values into the national planning and policy making process and accounting system, where appropriate.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
2. Integration of biodiversity values
Biodiversity values integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies
Biodiversity values integrated into national and local planning processes
Biodiversity values incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate
Biodiversity values incorporated into reporting systems
 
14. Essential ecosystem services
Relevant documents and information

The adoption of the National Targets rated this target as extremely important. During the preparation of the NBSAP, several initiatives on the valuation of ecosystem services had begun. This is also because the economic sector recognized the value of natural capital in the development of economic policies and poverty reduction strategies,  

EN

National Target 3: By 2020 incentives harmful to biodiversity are reformed and positive incentives are enhanced.

The different forms of incentives provided in the renewable natural resources sector (RNR) are mainly targeted at realizing the goals of food and nutritional security, enhancement of rural livelihood and reduction of the high import dependency. Even though, these incentives are relatively small, they are considered positive in terms of their contribution but their impacts on biodiversity are yet to be assessed. In the Forestry sector, subsidized timber and the right to collect NWFPs are generally perceived to be harmful since these resources are extracted on an ad-hoc basis from unmanaged forests. The Integrated Conservation and Development Progammes is seen as a positive incentive, albeit with sustainability issues. Therefore, the focus of this target is on ascertaining the impacts of incentives on biodiversity for appropriate interventions.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
3. Incentives
Incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity, eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize of avoid negative impacts
Positive incentives for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity developed and applied

National Target 4: By 2020, relevant stakeholders adopt the principles of sustainable production and consumption of natural resources and keep have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.

Some of the natural resources that are under severe consumption pressures are timber and fuel wood for construction and energy. The over harvesting of Non-wood Forest Products has exerted pressure on landscapes due to unsustainable agricultural practices, overgrazing by domestic animals and concentration of mines in certain areas.. These pressures, if left unchecked, will have severe ramifications on the fragile ecosystem and biodiversity. The lack of relevant data and knowledge to ascertain the safe ecological limits of these vulnerable production sectors is a well-known gap. Therefore this target will focus on assessing the operation of key natural resources-based production sectors within safe ecological limits and sustainability where necessary to encourage adoption of sustainable production by these sectors.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
4. Use of natural resources
Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve, or have implemented, plans for sustainable production and consumption
Have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits
 
7. Areas under sustainable management
Areas under agriculture are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity
Areas under forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity

National Target 5: By 2018, high-biodiversity value habitats are mapped, the rate of losses is accounted, trends monitored and overall loss and fragmentation reduced.

Many of the high-biodiversity value habitats such as primary forests, high altitude wetlands, and home-range of flagship species fall within the protected area system. However, some other high-biodiversity value habitats such as Important Bird Areas (IBA), Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA), Ramsar Sites, Areas rich in crop-wild relatives are yet to be mapped in order to understand their status and to implement appropriate conservation measures. Currently, there is no concrete data to ascertain the rate of habitat loss although land use conversion and forest fire are considered as leading factors. Therefore, the focus of this target is to firstly map the high-value biodiversity habitats and assess the extent of degradation and fragmentation for appropriate interventions.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
5. Loss of habitats
The rate of loss of forests is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero
The loss of all habitats is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero
Degradation and fragmentation are significantly reduced
 
At least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas are protected.
Areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services protected
Protected areas are ecologically representative
15. Ecosystem resilience

National Target 6: By 2020, baseline for fish and key aquatic biodiversity established for implementation of sustainable management plans, as appropriate.

There are only a few scientific studies carried out till date to determine fish and other aquatic species composition of natural water bodies in Bhutan. The imminent threat to aquatic biodiversity arises from the large hydropower projects in the major rivers of Bhutan due to destruction of habitat, spawning ground and disturbance to migration route. Given the current threat and inadequate knowledge of Bhutan’s ichthyofaunal diversity, more extensive freshwater fish diversity surveys including habitat and biology, migratory pattern and spawning /breeding habitats, is necessary. Similar studies also need to be initiated for other key aquatic species. Once the baseline information is established, efforts will be made to develop sustainable management plans as appropriate.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
6. Sustainable fisheries
Relevant documents and information

Since there are no large scale fishing or fisheries, the national target focuses on developing baseline for fish and aquatic diversity and associated management planning. 

EN

National Target 7: Areas under agriculture and forestry, including rangeland are managed through the adoption of sustainable management practices, ensuring conservation of biological diversity.

Forestry legislations require all areas under state forest to be strategically guided by sustainable management plans. However, as of now, only 6.4 per cent under Forest Management Units and Working Schemes and 2.2 per cent under community forest have well formulated resource management plans. Although resource allocations for rural uses are also done within the protected areas, the management plans are conservation-centric and lack resource management strategies. The overall impact of the lack of sustainable management plans leaves these areas highly vulnerable to degradation due to factors such as over-extraction of forest resources, land use conversion and overgrazing. Therefore, the progressive inclusion of unmanaged forest areas under a sustainable management regime still remains one of the key challenges. In agriculture, the National Action Plan to Combat Land Degradation addresses unsustainable agricultural practices through appropriate management strategies which are harmonized under this target. Therefore, this target is to focus on strengthening sustainable management practices in the areas under forests and agriculture to ensure the conservation and sustainable utilization of biological diversity.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
7. Areas under sustainable management
Areas under agriculture are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity
Areas under aquaculture are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity
Areas under forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity
 
4. Use of natural resources
Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve, or have implemented, plans for sustainable production and consumption

National Target 8: By 2020, pollution from different sources, including from use of fertilizers and agro-chemicals affecting biodiversity and ecosystem functions are maintained within the national environmental standards.

Currently except in areas around main industrial estates and localized water pollution, the ambient air and water quality at macro level is found to be in good state. However, increasing sediment loads in the rivers and streams due to developmental activities, impacting the aquatic biodiversity as well as hydropower plants, is becoming one of the emerging environmental issues. Although agro-chemical and fertilizers are potential sources of pollution of both land and water, especially if used without proper management practices, currently there is no report on the extent of the impacts of these agro-chemicals on land and environment in general, except for sporadic observations. The country has legal measures in place to address pollution from all sources but the overriding issue of concern is the weak implementation and enforcement of environmental standards and inadequate monitoring. Therefore, this target is to focus on strengthening national mechanism to implement and monitor standards for all sources of pollution, including agro-chemicals and fertilizers.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
8. Pollution
Pollutants (of all types) has been brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity
Pollution from excess nutrients has been brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity

National Target 9: By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.

Since there is no comprehensive inventory and assessment of invasive alien species (IAS) in the country, there is limited knowledge on IAS and its impacts. Therefore, this target will focus on understanding the diversity of IAS and its impacts, instituting measures for control and/or eradication of prioritized IAS and development of technical capacity.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
9. Invasive Alien Species
Invasive alien species identified and prioritized
Pathways identified and prioritized
Priority species controlled or eradicated
Introduction and establishment of invasive alien species prevented

National target 10: By 2020, potential impacts of climate change on vulnerable ecosystems identified and adaptation measures strengthened.

Although adaptation to climate change cuts across almost all the targets and actions are reflected accordingly in targets 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15; target 10 is identified separately with specific focus on enhancing understanding of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems. Currently, apart from a few scattered studies and community perceptions, there is still a huge gap in research and understanding on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems in the country. This drawback has been recognised and actions to address this issue prioritised in national documents such as Biodiversity persistence and climate change, 2011 and the Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Short-term adaptation measures have been implemented through the National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) under UNFCCC. Therefore, this target underscores, first, the need for strengthening national efforts in understanding the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems at the country level, and second, for enhancing resilience and adding value to regional and international efforts.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
 
11. Protected areas
13. Agricultural biodiversity
14. Essential ecosystem services
15. Ecosystem resilience
Relevant documents and information

Since marine ecosystems has no relevance for Bhutan, the National target has been replaced by climate change given that climate change actions will contribute to marine conservation downstream. 

EN

National Target 11: Maintain the current Protected Area System with enhanced management effectiveness and financial sustainability.

The key issue in protected area is incomplete physical zonation, resulting in ad hoc planning of services/ facilities and resource extraction often conflicting with conservation goals and Rules. Although biological corridors have been declared, they lack legal status and protection from development activities. The lack of sustainable financing mechanism to operate the parks at the highest standard while maintaining a balance between conservation and sustainable utilization is major challenge Therefore, the focus of this target is to maintain the current Protected Area System with enhanced management effectiveness and financial sustainability.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
11. Protected areas
At least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas are protected.
Protected areas are ecologically representative
Protected areas are effectively and equitably managed
Protected areas are well connected and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape
 
12. Preventing extinctions
14. Essential ecosystem services

National Target 12: By 2020, the information on conservation status of prioritized taxonomic groups available and actions are taken to improve the status of prioritized species.

Bhutan is yet to carry out a national-level evaluation of the conservation status of its biodiversity which has resulted in inadequate legal protection of threatened species and implementation of species-based conservation programs. Further, the lack of evaluation makes it difficult to understand the status of the globally threatened species at a national level and the actions that are required to improve its conservation status. It also limits national actions for those species which might be of concern at the national level. Therefore, the focus of this target is to understand the conservation status of the globally threatened species and of nationally important taxonomic groups and species in the country. Evaluation will be followed by development and implementation of species-based conservation action plans for prioritized species.

EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
12. Preventing extinctions
Extinction of known threatened species has been prevented
The conservation status of those species most in decline has been improved and sustained
 
11. Protected areas

National Target 13: By 2020, the genetic diversity of key cultivated plants and domesticated animals, including that of crop wild relatives are documented and conserved.

The documentation and conservation of the local diversity of cultivated plants and domesticated animals are far from being complete mainly due to the lack of technical and institutional capacities. Considering the significant role that local agrobiodiversity can play in developing resilient farming systems for adaptation to emerging challenges, this target focuses on strengthening the systematic documentation of local diversity of cultivated plants, including crop wild relatives and domesticated animals. This will be followed by development of strategic action plans, enabling policy framework and institutional mechanisms for conservation and sustainable utilization of local agro-biodiversity.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
13. Agricultural biodiversity
The genetic diversity of cultivated plants is maintained
The genetic diversity of farmed and domesticated animals is maintained
The genetic diversity of wild relatives is maintained
The genetic diversity of socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species is maintained
Strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding genetic diversity

National Target 14: By 2020, key ecosystems and ecosystem services are identified, assessed and safeguarded for human well-being.

Even though the Bhutanese have upheld strong environmental conservation ideals recognizing the values of ecosystem and its services for their well-being and sustenance putting monetary value to ecosystem services, especially to non-monetary services, has neither been a tradition nor a strong research focus. This has led to the undermining of the actual value of various ecosystems and ecosystem services and thereby the lack of identification and protection of these ecosystems. Therefore, this target in synergy with Target 2 will focus on identifying key ecosystems and assessing their status and valuation of the services provided. An important element will also be to identify poor and vulnerable sections including women and children dependent on these ecosystem services. Subsequently, appropriate strategies will be put in place to safeguard these ecosystems and ecosystem services for the well being of Bhutanese as well as regional neighbors.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
14. Essential ecosystem services
Ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded
Taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable
 
2. Integration of biodiversity values
Biodiversity values integrated into national and local planning processes
Biodiversity values incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate

National Target 15: By 2020, priority degraded ecosystems and habitats are identified and rehabilitated through landscape approach.

While there is baseline information on the acreage and location of degraded and bare areas in the country, what is lacking is information on stages or degree of degradation as well as the kinds of ecosystems which are degraded. The lack of this crucial information has implications on the existing restoration and rehabilitation programs. There is also no institutional mechanism in place to oversee habitat and ecosystem degradation issues in a holistic approach. The National Action Plan (NAP) to combat land degradation is mandated to address the issue on land degradation, therefore the actions proposed in this target are envisaged to complement the NAP on land degradation. In view of the economical costs as well as natural barriers to rehabilitate all degraded ecosystems and areas in the country, this target will focus on understanding the degree and causes of degradation for implementation of appropriate and feasible rehabilitation measures in prioritized degraded areas and ecosystems.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
15. Ecosystem resilience
Ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks have been enhanced through conservation and restoration
At least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems are restored, contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to combating desertification
 
5. Loss of habitats
7. Areas under sustainable management

National Target 16: By 2015, the Nagoya protocol is implemented through ABS legislative, administrative and institutional frameworks, which are consistent with the Nagoya Protocol.

Bhutan became the 24th country to ratify the Nagoya Protocol in 2013 and is in the process of finalizing its ABS policy, in line with the Nagoya Protocol. While efforts are underway to establish the policy and regulatory framework for the implementation of the ABS regime in Bhutan, progress has been slow due to the limited understanding of ABS in the country coupled with inadequate institutional, legal and technical capacities. Therefore there is an urgent need to prepare for the effective implementation of the NP through the harmonization of national legislations and strengthening of national capacities for the implementation of an ABS regime that ensures the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the sustainable utilization of biological resources in the country.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
16. Nagoya Protocol on ABS
The Nagoya Protocol is in force
The Nagoya Protocol is operational, consistent with national legislation

National Target 17: By 2015, revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP) adopted for implementation as a national guiding document for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Acknowledging the drawbacks of the past Biodiversity Action Plans, the focus of this target is to ensure that the current revision is taken up in an inclusive, interactive and consultative manner with relevant stakeholders in the country for identification and prioritization of actions and ownership of the document. To achieve the national targets, the NBSAP will be adopted as national guiding documents for biodiversity planning and management with an effective coordination mechanism for NBSAP implementation, including systematic monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
17. NBSAPs
Submission of NBSAPs to Secretariat by (end of) 2015
NBSAPs adopted as effective policy instrument
NBSAPs are being implemented
 
1. Awareness of biodiversity values
2. Integration of biodiversity values
3. Incentives
4. Use of natural resources
5. Loss of habitats
6. Sustainable fisheries
7. Areas under sustainable management
8. Pollution
9. Invasive Alien Species
10. Vulnerable ecosystems
11. Protected areas
12. Preventing extinctions
13. Agricultural biodiversity
14. Essential ecosystem services
15. Ecosystem resilience
16. Nagoya Protocol on ABS
17. NBSAPs
18. Traditional knowledge
19. Biodiversity knowledge
20. Resource mobilization

National Target 18: By 2020, TK and customary practices of communities, relevant to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use are documented and used, and where appropriate revived and protected.

In general, there is political good will and government support for an inclusive and participatory approach to the integration of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and customary practices held by communities in biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization. However, the process has been slow due to limited human, technical, legal and financial resources. In line with the increasing importance of TK associated with genetic resources, this target identifies the programme of work required to document, protect and utilise TK and customary practices of communities, relevant to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
EN
Level of application
National / Federal
Relevance of National Targets to Aichi Targets
18. Traditional knowledge
Traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities are respected
Traditional knowledge, innovations and practices are fully integrated and reflected in implementation of the Convention
With the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities
 
16. Nagoya Protocol on ABS
19. Biodiversity knowledge