rural womanRural livelihoods comprise of weaving activities for Bhutanese women. Photo Sonam Tsoki Tenzin © UNDP Bhutan

Poverty is a reality in contemporary Bhutan. The Poverty Analysis Report 2012 indicates that about 12.0% of the country's population is poor and that poverty in Bhutan is predominantly a rural phenomenon.

The Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB), however, has always been aware and concerned about the circumstances and conditions of rural population, which, though free from destitution and hunger, is far from comfortable. Accordingly, the RGoB continues to strategically focus its development efforts towards improving the lives and the well-being of its people and eradicating poverty in all its dimensions in Bhutan.

Poverty reduction was identified as the core development theme in the 10th Five Year Plan (2008-2013) with poverty to be mainstreamed into all development initiatives along with the implementation of targeted sustainable livelihoods interventions. In view of the fact that most remote mountainous communities remain as pockets of poverty, the 10th Five Year Plan pointed out the need for more targeted approach to poverty reduction. The RGoB was therefore able to reduce national poverty to below 15% by the end of the 2012, achieving its poverty MDG target three years ahead of time.

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