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The views expressed in this presentation are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the

views or policies of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), its Board of Directors, or the
governments they represent. ADBI does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB
official terms.

Policy Dialogue Session on Sustainable Sanitation in Asia
21-22 September 2018

Country Presentation

“ Bhutan”

“ Ugyen Wangchuk”
“ Engineer, Ministry of Works and Human Settlement ”

1) Bhutan
2) Sanitation Status in Bhutan
3) Policies and Strategies for Sanitation
4) Institutional Arrangement
5) Programs for Sanitation
6) Planned Activities
7) Capacity Building
8) Financing
9) Issues and Challenges


§ Is a landlocked country located between China in the North and India in the South.
§ Has a population of 735,553 (PHCB 2017).
§ 62.2 % of the total population resides in rural area.
§ Thimphu is the capital city and is the third highest capital city in the world at 2648 meters above sea level.
§ Has a total land area of 38,394 square kilometers.
§ Has 72% of its land under forest cover as mandated by the Constitution of the country, out of which 42.7% are
protected areas.
§ Has a rich water resource availability of 100,000 cubic meter per capita per annum.
§ Is the only Carbon-Negative Country in the World.

Sanitation Status in Bhutan

JMP 2013 Report on Sanitation JMP 2017 Report on Sanitation
National Rural Urban National Rural Urban
Safely Managed - - - - - -
Basic Service 45 29 74 63 57 72
Limited Service 26 28 21 8 4 15
Unimproved Service 26 38 5 29 39 13
No Service 3 5 0 0 0 0
Source : JMP 2013 and 2017 report

Sanitation Status in Bhutan

National Rural Urban
Proportion of Population with Improved Service 71 61 87
Proportion of population with Improved Facilities
like the following excluding shared ones;
Sewer Connection 5 1 10
Septic Tank 45 33 62
Latrines and Others 14 23 0
Source : JMP 2017 report

Policies and Strategies for Sanitation
1. Gross National Happiness
The holistic and sustainable development Philosophy of Bhutan which maintains harmony between economic
developments, spiritual and cultural values and environmental conservation.

2. The Constitution of Bhutan
Obliges the Royal Government of Bhutan to ensure a safe and healthy environment for Bhutanese citizens.

3. The Royal Decree of 1992
Established Royal Government of Bhutan investment in water supply through three subsequent Five Year Plan.
Outlined the obligation of households to provide and maintain their won household sanitation.
Emphasized the responsibilities of the Local Government to promote sanitation.

4. Water and Sanitation Rules 1995
Ensures accountability, equitable access to safe and reliable water supply, and a clean and healthy living environment
in the urban areas.

5. National Health Policy 2010
Explicitly emphasizes the need for multi-sectoral coordination in delivering universal access to water supply,
sanitation and hygiene services.

6. Environmental Discharge Standards 2010
The standard provides a benchmark for treatment of effluent before discharge to waterways. 6
Policies and Strategies for Sanitation
7. Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy
Developed to support the national scaling up of the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Programme(RSHP) and strive to
achieve the rural population’s universal access to improved sanitation within the 12th Five Year Plan(FYP).

8. Sanitation and Hygiene Guideline 2014
Provides guidance for all the stakeholders in planning, budgeting and implementing water supply, sanitation, hygiene
and public health initiatives.

9. Guideline for Differently-Abled Friendly Construction 2017
Guide to design and construct barrier free built environment facilities and structures considering the needs of people
with Disabilities.

10. National Education Policy(Draft)
States that schools shall have adequate number of toilet facilities for teachers and students that are clean and
separate for girls and boys. Schools shall have safe and reliable water supply with adequate and functioning facilities.

11. National Sanitation and Hygiene Policy(Draft)
It holistically addresses safely managed sanitation and hygiene in alignment with the national and SDGs and
contributes towards meeting broader commitments such as the Royal Government of Bhutan’s(RGoBs) ratification of
the “Right to Sanitation and Hygiene” along with regional commitments in SACOSAN.

Institutional Arrangement
• Bhutan follows a five year planning cycle for socio-economic development which started with the 1st Five Year Plan(FYP)
in 1961.
• The FYP are guided by the developmental philosophy of GNH, which is four pillars.
• The first and the second pillars of GNH namely, sustainable and equitable socio-economic development and
conservation of environment are those areas within which most to the SDGs are directly related to.

1. The Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) leads the development of the FYPs which includes setting national
targets and budget allocation for Sanitation and Hygiene Programmes.
2. The National Environment Commission is responsible for establishing and ensuring compliance with the standards,
code of practice and regulation of effluent discharge, septic tanks and water quality.
3. The Ministry of Works and Human Settlement is responsible for urban sanitation and hygiene at the national level.
4. The Ministry of Health is responsible for rural sanitation and hygiene at the national level.
5. WASH in schools in the country is led by the School Health and Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Education.
6. WASH in monastic institutions including nunneries is led by the Religion and Health Project of the Council of Religious
7. The Local Governments are responsible for preparing their annual targets, work plans and budgets for sanitation
within their jurisdiction.
8. The Private Sectors assist in the construction and management of the sanitation facilities and provide easy access to
sanitation services.
9. The Civil Society Organizations(CSOs) in collaboration with the line agencies play a vital role in promoting safe
sanitation and hygiene practices.
Programs for Sanitation
§ B-WASH Cluster
To strive towards one Water, Sanitation and Hygiene plan and not work in silos anymore, the Water, Sanitation and
Hygiene stakeholders in the country met for the first time in 2014.
There was more diverse participation in 2016 where the need for a common dedicated forum i.e. the B-WASH Cluster
was echoed.
Provides platform for inclusive and participatory collaboration and coordination among the stakeholders to address
WASH issues and to exchange knowledge, information and expertise.
Facilitates advocacy to seek greater attention and resource allocation in WASH at all levels.

§ Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Programme(RSHP)
A subsidy free and demand driven community-led approach to total sanitation in rural communities.
Implemented by the Public Health Engineering Division, Ministry of Health in collaboration with SNV, UNICEF and
Swiss Red Cross.
It uses integrated approach which recognizes the importance of demand creation for sanitation with households,
increasing access to sanitation products and services , promoting safe hygiene behaviors and the importance of
governance and leadership in sanitation and hygiene.

Planned Activities
1. Set clear baseline for SDG 6.2
2. Institute an inclusive and participatory National Sanitation and Hygiene Conference to facilitate knowledge sharing and
3. Strengthen the existing national coordination mechanism- the B-WASH Cluster.
4. Consolidate the existing institutional arrangement for effective and efficient coordination and service delivery in the
WASH sector.
5. Develop appropriate infrastructure and adopt appropriate technology for safely managed sanitation systems.
6. Develop an inclusive national road map for sanitation and hygiene services.
7. Develop guidelines for tariff regulation and exploring sustainable and efficient financing models.
8. Provide technical backstopping for design, construction, rehabilitation and augmentation in sewerage and wastewater
treatment systems.
9. Develop behavioral change communication strategies for different target groups for increased awareness and
ownership by the end users.
10. Encourage partnership of sanitation and hygiene professionals with local research institutes, colleges and training
institutes for knowledge and skill sharing in the sanitation sector.
11. Strengthen the regulatory environment for compliance.
12. Strengthen monitoring mechanisms.

Capacity Building
• The government and development partners play a vital role in the development of human recourse in the country.

• In the 12th Five Year Plan, 50% of the national budget will be allocated to the Local Government where by the Local
Government will need to set aside dedicated budget for human resource development in all important sectors
including sanitation and hygiene.

Resource Allocation ( % of total allocation)
2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
Education 18 % 20 % 18 %
Health 8% 8% 8%
Communication 4% 3% 3%
RNR 11 % 11 % 12 %
Road 12 % 12 % 9%
Water 1.31% 1.12% 1.66%
Sanitation and Hygiene 0.43% 0.79% 0.73%
Source : National Budget Report for Financial Year 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18

Issues and Challenges
§ Lack of baseline data at national level for safely managed sanitation.
§ Scattered settlement and challenging terrain.
§ Low priority for sanitation sector and lack of coordination between the center and the local government during budget
• Inadequate infrastructure facilities
• Inadequate fund for O and M of the existing treatment systems.
• Absence of O and M budget for WASH in Schools and WASH in healthcare facilities.
§ The priority for networked sewer system is very low compared to other basic amenities.
§ Lack of proper fecal sludge management practices and infrastructure facilities.
§ The sector is faced with no active private sector and community participation and limited CSO engagement.
§ Currently there is no collaboration with technical training institutes leading to mismatch of skills and market demand in
development of certain critical sanitation services.
§ Lack of expertise in exploring and adoption of treatment systems that are locally appropriate and affordable, cost
efficient, disaster resilient, environment friendly and sustainable.
§ Lack of sample testing practice for most of the treatment plants due to the absence of laboratory facilities.
§ The standard for discharge from septic tanks is not covered by the Environmental Discharge Standard 2010.