The Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) is the world’s first environmental trust fund, established in 1991 as a collaborative venture between the Royal Government of Bhutan, and bilateral/multilateral partners. An endowment of US$20 million was set as target for an innovative mechanism for sustainablefinancing of conservation programs in Bhutan. Donors to the trust fund include the World Wildlife Fund, Global Environment Facility, the governments of Bhutan, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
BTFECwas granted the Royal Charter in 1996 which was updated in 2021 “keeping the present needs and ensure relevance and role of BTF to meet the future challenges”
The BTF management is governed by a high-level Board of Trustees, while the day-to-day business is conducted through a small Secretariat. Today, it is an effective conservation grantmaking organisation, autonomous of the government with the endowment fund reaching US$75 million as of June 2023. Since inception, BTF has awarded more than 239 projects amounting to over US$25 million. Projects are granted through Request for Proposals process with an overall budget of US$1.5 to 2 million annually.
BTF has improved substantially in terms of its governance, grant-making, investment and financial management, and monitoring & evaluation practices. With further strengthening in its human resources, BTF’s program management and business operation has developed considerably over the years.