Receiving 37.86% of the total funds that have been released, the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) of the agriculture ministry received the maximum grants so far from the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC).
The other beneficiaries include the government, ministries, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), autonomous agencies, monastic bodies, institutions and private sectors in the country. While the CSOs received 8.51% of the funds, Department of Livestock (agriculture ministry) and the Royal Civil Service Commission have received 6.86% and 6.11% respectively. The rest of the funds have been given to other agencies.
BTFEC’s Program Officer, Ugyen Lhendup, during the BTFEC’s Annual Stakeholders’ Workshop that was attended by project managers and finance focal persons in Phuentsholing last week, reasoned that DoFPS is the highest receiver of the funds as the department mandated for forest protection has many things to do and is directly linked with nature unlike other agencies.
He said with numerous works to be done from patrolling, surveying and other environmental management activities, DoFPS does not receive sufficient funds from the government and that BTFEC mandates to fund for the department’s activities.
“Their roles and activities are directly linked with environmental conservation unlike others who take initiatives,” he said.
Meanwhile, BTFEC funds agencies that propose activities for environmental conservation across the nation. BTFEC has so far funded 209 projects worth over Nu 1bn under three categories. It has funded 127 major projects worth more than Nu 938mn and 68 small grant projects worth over Nu 19mn. Also, the agency has funded 14 projects worth more than Nu 188mn with the support from the Global Environment Facility, World Bank. Thirty-one BTFEC funded projects are still underway across the country, according to BTFEC official.
BTFEC, as an environmental grant making agency, provides grants for environmental conservation efforts after assessing proposals. The agency thoroughly reviews the proposals using its technical experts before approving the proposal.
“We select the best proposals and select only 20% of the total proposals that we receive. We fund them based on the quality of the proposals and the impact it could bring in the environment,” Ugyen Lhendup.
The agency funds up to eight proposals annually. Each project is entitled up to Nu 15mn based on the type of project. Annually BTFEC allocates Nu 100mn for project funding.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing