What we do


This United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDPF)


This United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDPF) articulates the collective vision of the UN system in Bhutan for 2019-2023. Achieving Agenda 2030 and graduating from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category in a sustainable manner requires continued partnership between the Royal Government of Bhutan, its development partners, key stakeholders, as well as between UN agencies. Focusing on sustainable development as Bhutan becomes a Lower Middle-Income Country (LMIC) will help ensure a smooth transition and avoid a reversal of results already achieved.


The overall goal of the United Nations’ support to Bhutan from 2019 to 2023 is to support A Just, harmonious and sustainable Bhutan where no one is left behind. Based on a theory of change, the UN aims to mobilize and invest an estimated USD 120 million to achieve results in four outcome areas, by 2023:


Outcome One: Enhanced access to and use of reliable and timely data for inclusive and evidence-based policy and decision making.

Total Planned Budget: USD 5,260,000


Outcome Two: Vulnerable and unreached people access and receive quality health, nutrition, protection, education, water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Total Planned Budget: USD 34,821,656


Outcome Three: National stakeholders strengthened to provide equal opportunities for all, particularly women, and vulnerable groups.

Total Planned Budget: USD 9,781,101


Outcome Four: Bhutan’s communities and its economy are more resilient to climate-induced and other disasters and biodiversity loss as well as economic vulnerability.

Total Planned Budget: USD 71,016,800


These four outcomes will help implement the 2030 Agenda in Bhutan, as part of a universal action to leave no one behind, end poverty in all its forms and dimensions, and heal and secure our planet. The UN contributions are building on Bhutan’s international human rights commitments. Further, the four outcomes directly support the RGoB’s 12th Five Year Plan 2019 – 2023 and ten of its sixteen National Key Results Areas.


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 2019–Dec 2023

Managing agent: UNFPA

Participating UN Agencies: UNDP, UNICEF and WFP

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


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 among 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: Jan 2019–Dec 2023

Managing agent: UNDP

Participating UN organizations: UNFPA and UNICEF

National implementing partners: GNHC, National Centre for Women and Children (NCWC), Government Agencies and NGOs




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: Jan 2019–Dec 2023

Managing agent: UNICEF

Participating UN organizations: UNDP and WHO

National implementing partners: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, civil society organizations/ CSOs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and GNHC


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: Jan 2019–Dec 2023

Managing agent: WFP

Participating UN organizations: WHO, UNICEF and UNDP

National implementing partners: Department of Disaster Management

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