Reducing climate change-induced risks and vulnerabilities from GLOFs

About the project

A project site worker with the glacial lake in background. Photo © UNDP Bhutan

The most significant climate change impact in Bhutan is the formation of supra-glacial lakes due to the accelerated retreat of glaciers with increasing temperatures. The risk of potential costly economic damages on key development sectors such as agriculture, hydropower, and forestry by Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) is mounting. Climate change is attributed as the primary reason that water levels in glacial lakes approach dangerous thresholds. This poses a new dimension to the existing range of threats to lives, livelihoods, and development.

Expected results

The project will demonstrate practical measures to reduce climate change-induced GLOF risks from the potentially dangerous Thorthormi glacier lake, and facilitate replication of the respective lessons learned in other high-risk GLOF areas, both within and outside Bhutan.

Complementary to this risk reduction effort, the project will ensure that early warning mechanisms for the Punakha-Wangdi Valley are expanded to incorporate coverage of this growing threat.

  • Improved national, regional and local capacities to prevent climate change induced GLOF disasters in the Punakha-Wangdue and Chamkar valleys 

    Reduced risks of GLOF from Thorthormi lake through an artificial lake level management system

    Reduced human and material losses in vulnerable communities in the Punakha-wangdue valley through GLOF early warning systems (EWS)



Donors Amount USD
UNDP $ 52, 950
GEF $ 628, 926
USAID $ 149, 800
UNICEF $ 3, 000
WFP $ 1, 000
Project start date
April 2008
Project end date
December 2013
Geographic coverage
Punakha-Wangdue Valley
Focus area
Crisis prevention & recovery
Ensure environmental sustainability
UNDP Focal Point
Mr. Pema Dorji
Climate Change Policy Specialist
Energy and Environment
UNDP Bhutan
Implementing Partners
Ministry of Economic Affairs
Ministry of Works and Human Settlement
Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs
Development Partners
Related Document
Project Document

Reducing climate change-induced risks and vulnerabilities from GLOFs