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Bhutan Country Strategic Plan (2019-2023)

Operation ID: BT02

CSP approved at EB.1/2019

For more than 40 years of partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan, WFP has supported the country in making progress towards many of its educational goals, including full school enrolment and attendance. Investments in education, health and other sectors have produced rapid economic growth and important gains towards achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Not all Bhutanese have benefited equally from the progress, however; this is recognized in the Government’s 12th five-year plan, which incorporates the country’s plans for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, and the United Nations’ goal, articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework for Bhutan (2019–2023), of fostering "a just, harmonious and sustainable Bhutan where no one is left behind", including poor people, children, elderly people, women and persons with disabilities.

With this goal in mind, WFP is responding to the Government’s request for support as Bhutan travels the "last mile" in graduating sustainably from least developed country status. Although food security and nutrition have improved overall, health problems related to a lack of balanced diets, including micronutrient deficiencies, and lifestyle changes continue to pose challenges to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2, and non-communicable diseases are a growing health concern that affects all age groups. In addition, as a result of climate change, the country’s topography and geotectonic movements, natural disasters threaten to reverse Bhutan’s progress to date. The 2015 earthquake in Nepal, which claimed more than 9,000 lives and inflicted severe economic damage, focused attention on the urgent need to enhance the Government’s.

preparedness to respond to emergencies. The 2018 literature review on food and nutrition security in Bhutan, which complements Bhutan’s 2018 voluntary national review, takes stock of these issues and includes a series of recommendations for addressing them.

Building on its partnership with the Government in the education sector, WFP is well placed to help Bhutan implement several of the most important of these recommendations through this country strategic plan. Recognizing the Government’s achievements and plans for assuming full ownership of the school feeding programme by the end of 2018, WFP will shift its role to that of an "enabler" and will work towards the following two strategic outcomes:

  • School-age children, women and vulnerable groups in Bhutan have improved nutrition in line with national targets by 2023.
  • Government has strengthened capability to address food security and nutrition challenges and prepare for and respond to crises, including those resulting from climate change, by 2023.

Under strategic outcome 1, which contributes to outcome 2 of the United Nations sustainable development partnership framework, WFP will provide technical assistance for the transformation of the existing school feeding programme into a national school nutrition programme through which the Government can address nutrition issues by connecting the provision of school meals to nutrition education, health and agriculture activities. WFP will also provide the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests with technical and policy advice for the establishment of a regulatory and compliance framework for fortified foods, which will enable the wider Bhutanese population to benefit safely from fortified foods.

Under strategic outcome 2, which contributes to outcomes 1 and 4 of the United Nations sustainable development partnership framework, WFP will work with the Government on building capacities, particularly in the Department of Disaster Management, by strengthening disaster risk management practices, including through strengthened preparedness and response capacities, enhanced forecasting and analysis of disaster impacts, the development of standard operating procedures and capacities for supply chain management in emergencies, and the coordination of supply chains, emergency logistics and telecommunications and food security among government ministries and military, civil society, United Nations and private sector organizations. WFP will contribute to the achievement of this strategic outcome through integrated multisectoral programming and joint programmes with partners in critical areas, including the SDGs and providing more reliable and timely data for guiding and monitoring work towards the SDGs, as articulated in the United Nations sustainable development partnership framework.

WFP’s approach is coherent with the Government’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and with its 12th five-year plan, which guides the Government’s efforts in the short term as Bhutan graduates from least developed country status. Implementation of the country strategic plan will contribute to the achievement of three of the four outcomes in the United Nations sustainable development partnership framework. In its new role as an enabler, WFP will be in a position to convene various stakeholders and to broker knowledge sharing, including through South–South cooperation, in support of Bhutan as it travels the "last mile" towards graduation from least developed country status, protects progress to date, reaches the people who are at risk of being left behind and achieves SDG 2 and the broader goals of the 2030 Agenda.