The Department of Forests & Park Services (DoFPS) held a week long virtual project supervision mission meeting starting from 31st July to 6th August, 2020 with the team from Word Bank offices based in Washington DC, New Delhi and the Bhutan Country Office. The supervision mission visit lead by Ms. Andrea Kutter, the Technical Task leader, World Bank, is held annually to follow up and review progress on the implementation of the Bhutan REDD+ Readiness Preparation Program.
The Project is financed through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of World Bank. The grant of US$3.8 million became effective on March 19, 2015 and closed in June, 2020. In March 2017, the FCPF Participants Committee (PC) approved the MTR (Mid-term Review Report) of the Project along with proposal for additional funding of US$4.8 million in support of Bhutan’s REDD+ Readiness Program. The RGOB and the World Bank signed the Additional Funding Grant Agreement on February 9, 2018. The Grant closes on December, 2021. The Project Development Objective is to build the national capacity of Bhutan to engage in REDD+ efforts at the national as well as international levels, through strengthened policies, increased knowledge on REDD+, and enhanced data availability on forests and forest management. The project is coordinated by the REDD+ Secretariat based in the Watershed Management Division of the DoFP.
During the weeklong virtual mission meeting, project’s progress reports (physical and financial) for the year 2019-2020 were reviewed and work plan for 2020-2021 were discussed. The financial management and procurement process were also reviewed. The final meeting on 6th of August, 2020 was chaired by Director, Department of Forests & Park Services. The Director on behalf of the Department and the Ministry, conveyed gratitude and appreciation for the support provided by the project team members of the World Bank Offices. Director underscored the impact of project particularly in terms of capacity building of the staffs within the Department as well as outside Department. The development of Forest Reference Emission Level by the officials of the Department was cited as one of the examples of how REDD+ project has built the capacity of the Department. With only 18 months left for the project to close, Director on behalf of the Department ensured that the remaining 25 % of the fund will be used effectively and efficiently so as to graduate successfully from the REDD+ Readiness phase to REDD+ implementation phase.
From the World Bank Team, Ms. Andrea Kutter & Mr. Rajesh Koirala (based in Washington DC), Ms. Sangeeta Patel (based in New Delhi, India), and Ms. Tenzin Lhaden & Mr. Rinzin Dorji (based in Bhutan Country Office) all commended the effort put in by the Department for successful implementation of the project activities with disbursement of 75% of the project fund within a span of two years. The team also congratulated the Department on the completion of the National REDD+ Strategy & Action Plan, the Forest Reference Emission Level and other achievements in the past year (2019-2020) despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Amongst several recommendations from the World Bank Office, the most significant is the development of R-Package which will amalgamate all project outputs in one document to showcase that Bhutan is ready to implement REDD+ activities with all the REDD+ Readiness components [ i) REDD+ Strategy and Action Plan, ii) FREL, iii) National Forest Monitoring System, iv) Safeguard Frameworks such as SESA, ESMF, SIS, FGRM and other REDD+ Readiness document] in place.
For details on REDD+ and achievements for the year 2019 to 2020 please refer to the attached document.
By WATERSHED MANAGEMENT DIVISION