6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are?

paddy fields
Landscape of Bhutan. Photo Sonam Tsoki Tenzin @UNDP Bhutan

As an outcome of the highest level of political and policy support for ensuring environmental sustainability and the active engagement of its development partners, Bhutan has enjoyed complete success in meeting its commitment to MDG 7.

Bhutan is fully on track to meet the various targets set under MDG 7 and can be regarded to be an early achiever. The country continues to maintain a healthy forest cover of 81% of the total land area with 28% maintained as protected areas. Bhutan's dense forests also act as effective carbon sinks and taking carbon sequestration into consideration actually has negative CO2 emissions per capita.

The 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) compiled by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy in conjuction with the World Economic Forum, ranked Bhutan in 4th place among the Asian countries in its environmental performance. The country is also an early achiever with regard to its targets for the provisioning of water and sanitation coverage in the country with levels envisaged to approach near universal coverage levels by 2015.

Targets for MDG7
  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest and proportion of species threatened with extinction
    • CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
    • Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
    • Proportion of total water resources used
    • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
    • Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
    • Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
  4. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of urban population living in slums