The Government of Bhutan, in partnership with WWF, announced the creation of a USD $43 million fund—the first of its kind in Asia—to permanently protect Bhutan's network of protected areas. The program, which is supported in part by the Green Climate Fund, will ensure that there is funding forever to properly manage Bhutan's protected areas—which constitute 51 percent of the country, the highest percentage of land designated as protected in Asia.
This funding will be combined with USD $75 million from the Bhutan government, which will be contributed over a 14-year period, to support a new program called Bhutan for Life (BFL).
Proper management of the protected areas means the country's 2-million-hectare network of forests and rivers will be protected against poaching, illegal logging and other threats. Forests will be able to absorb carbon so Bhutan can maintain its commitment to being carbon neutral forever. Bhutan's rivers, which are part of a network of rivers that provide water for one-fifth of the world, will remain clean. The country's natural resources will support the livelihoods of much of the country's rural population, and help people be more resilient against the impacts of climate change. And iconic wildlife, such as Bengal tigers and Asian elephants, will be allowed to thrive in their natural habitat.