What we do


The Development Action Framework for Bhutan


The UN operates in its partner countries through the UNDAF One Programme 2013 – 2018, a programme document agreed between the Government and the UN Country Team which defines the collective actions and strategies to be taken to assist the country achieve its national development goals. The One Programme is fully aligned with 11th Five Year Plan and structured around the four pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH). The main benefit of the One Programme is to respond to national priorities through joint analysis, prioritization and joint budgeting. Joint programming draws the mandate, expertise and experience of all UN agencies – including non-residential agencies – to address Bhutan’s development needs.


The United Nations support in Bhutan is largely guided by the current UNDAF One Programme which outlines four outcomes and 23 measurable outputs with an estimated five-year budget of $86,6 million;

  • Sustainable Development: Sustainable and green economic growth that is equitable, inclusive, climate and disaster resilient; promotes poverty reduction; and enhances employment opportunities, particularly for vulnerable groups, by 2018.
  • Essential Social Services: Increased and equitable access, utilization and quality of inclusive essential social services for all with a focus on sustaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and addressing emerging challenges, by 2018.
  • Gender Equality and Child Protection: Communities and institutions strengthened at all levels to achieve enhanced gender equality, empowerment and protection of women and children, by 2018.
  • Good Governance and Participation: Governance institutions and communities exercise the principles of democratic governance at national and local levels with a focus on inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and evidence-based decision making, by 2018.


Joint Programme


SDGs, Data and Support to the 12th Five Year Plan Formulation


Programme aim: The programme supports the government to develop a result-oriented, inclusive and financially sustainable 12th Five Year Plan based on data for evidence-based decision making through three outcomes: the 12th Five Year Plan is inclusive and results-oriented, mapping progress to advance Gross National Happiness (GNH) while also measuring SDG impact where relevant; a data ecosystem is in place in Bhutan that supports evidence-based decision-making; and the public and sectors are familiar with SDGs and how to leverage them as a tool to achieve GNH.

Status: This programme was initiated in 2016. The most significant achievement so far is support to the formulation of the Guidelines for Preparation of the 12th Five Year Plan. With this programme support, the guideline has a high level of integration of the SDGs into the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) of the 12th Five Year Plan and their Key Performance Indicators (KPI). The 16 NKRAs are closely related to 16 of the 17 SDGs, and close to 100 targets and indicators of SDGs have been integrated into NKRAs and KPIs.

Implementation period: Jan 2016–Dec 2018

Participating UN Agencies: UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WFP

Managing agent: UNDP

National implementing partners: GNHC and National Statistics Bureau (NSB)

Total budget: USD 587, 419. Available: USD 467,050 / Shortfall: USD 120, 369


Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment


Programme aim: To support gender equality in Bhutan, this joint programme aims to address fragmented support and enhance transparency for greater synergy to increase programme effectiveness, not only amongst UN agencies, funds and programmes but also together with development partners who are committed to supporting gender equality in Bhutan.

Status: The programme document was prepared and resource mobilization is on-going.
Implementation period: July 2014–June 2018
Participating UN organizations: UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women
Managing agent: UNDP
National implementing partners: GNHC, National Centre for Women and Children (NCWC), Government Agencies and NGOs
Total budget: USD 1,995,500. Available: USD 426,390 / Shortfall: USD 1,569,110




Programme aim: In 2016, the government put an inter-ministerial taskforce in place to prepare the groundwork for Bhutan to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This programme will create an enabling environment for UNCRPD ratification by enhancing evidence-based policy-making supported with appropriate data/analysis, and foster behaviour change by raising the awareness of duty bearers and service providers to ensure no-one is left behind.

Status: The UN Disability Task Team (IATT) prepared an expression of interest to apply for the third UN Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) funding round. The expression of interest was accepted and a full proposal is under development. The project, if approved, will be implemented based on each agency’s (UNDP, UNICEF and WHO) mandate and comparative advantage, with joint implementation as appropriate.
Implementation period: July 2017–July 2020
Participating UN organizations: UNICEF, UNDP and WHO
Managing agent: UNDP
National implementing partners: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, civil society organizations/ CSOs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and GNHC
Funding: Up to USD 400,000


Emergency Preparedness and Response


Programme aim: Considering Bhutan’s risk profile, there is an urgency to develop an earthquake contingency plan. Responding to this need, the programme is holding consultations with the RGoB and other development partners and stakeholders to align national and international emergency response; to develop a UN Inter-agency Contingency Plan for Earthquakes that clearly delegates the roles and responsibilities of various partners and actors; and to conduct earthquake simulation exercises to test contingency plans and coordinate mechanisms to identify possible gaps in the plan.

Status: The Emergency Preparedness and Response IATT has started developing the UN Inter-Agency Earthquake Contingency Plan in collaboration with the RGoB, and humanitarian and developments partners. The Emergency Preparedness and Response IATT prepared the concept note, ‘United Nations Support to Earthquake Preparedness in Bhutan’, to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the RGoB, as the first step for the development of the Inter-Agency Earthquake Contingency Plan. This plan will help in effectively coordinating emergency response through a clear delegation of the roles and responsibilities of different actors as spelled out by the Disaster Management Rules and Regulations, 2014.
Implementation period: Mid 2017 – Mid 2018
Participating UN organizations: WHO, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP
Managing agent: WHO
National implementing partners: Department of Disaster Management
Funding: N/A

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