Bhutanese Knowledge for Indigenous Development
Bhutan is arguably unique in its innovative approach of measuring development with a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index. The country supports the conservation of biodiverse ecosystems, preservation of cultural practices, low-carbon development, and ambitious national policies towards nationwide organic agriculture by 2030.
Despite its pioneering path of holistic development, Bhutan faces numerous challenges. As the world’s only carbon-negative country, it did not contribute to climate change, but is, nonetheless, directly impacted. A small land-locked country surrounded by global powers, its reliance on food imports challenges local systems, food security, and self-sufficiency. While women play a significant role in contributing time, labour, and knowledge to agriculture, food security, and climate adaptation, they are often invisible in these roles, have limited control over resources, and are excluded from decision-making processes. In order to document and inform responses to these challenges, it is critically important to strengthen Bhutan’s emerging yet fragile culture of trans-disciplinary research.
This project aims to enhance adaptive capacities and resilience of economically vulnerable rural women, men, and youth in Bhutan by developing rigorous evidence-based research that informs policies on climate-resilient food systems, sustainable rural livelihoods, organic farming, healthy food culture, gender equality, and GNH. Bhutanese Knowledge for Indigenous Development (B-KIND) takes a trans-disciplinary approach to address the climate change-agriculture-food systems nexus by: generating systematic evidence; piloting best available gender-transformative adaptation practices; engaging in policy processes; and strengthening trans-disciplinary scientific capacities and gender opportunities for researchers, citizen farmer-researchers, and knowledge-sharing networks in Bhutan. The project will train MSc and the initial cohort of Bhutanese PhD students on trans-disciplinary research and will contribute to the scarce literature on organic farming and resilient food systems in the country.