Country Programmes

Advancing the rights of people with disabilities in Bhutan

Start DateOngoingEnd Date
28 Jun 201830 Apr 2021
Programme Status
Programme Budget
US$ 400, 000
Thematic focus: Disability Policy and/or Law, Political participation

Implementing Partners

UN Agencies

  • WHO
  • UNDP

Government Organizations

  • National Statistics Bureau (NSB)
  • CSO Authority
  • National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC)

Organizations of Persons with Disabilities

  • Draktsho Vocational
  • Disabled Person’s Association of Bhutan

The Programme

This initiative focused on supporting a new policy environment in Bhutan conducive to the fulfillment of the rights and principles enshrined in the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It promoted and supported the meaningful engagement of people with disabilities in the development and implementation of that policy environment. Though a modest investment, in this small nation of less than one million people, this project binded together the impact of political will to consider Treaty ratification, improved, real-time data, and policy reforms focused on leaving no-one behind, to advance the rights of people with disabilities.


An evidence-based policy framework for people with disabilities was developed and implemented. This intervention includes:
Technical, consultation, and advocacy support to the development of Bhutan’s first National Disability Policy, and to the consideration of women with disabilities in the development of Bhutan’s first Gender Equality Policy;
Development of a strategy to implement the national disability policy, and provide technical support to take forward priority actions related to women and children. The decision on which elements to prioritize will be determined as the policy development progresses, and in the inception phase of this project;
Strengthened policies, programmes and coordination related to early identification of children with disabilities for improved evidence for policy-making, with technical, research, and consultation support.
Harmonization and analysis of the existing data and identify gaps to support effective mainstreaming of disability in the 12th Five Year Plan and the UN Development Assistance Framework.
Second, people with disabilities participate meaningfully in the development and implementation of the policy framework. This intervention included:

Support to the civil society working with and for people with disabilities, including to develop their membership and institutional capacities towards more formalized DPOs.

Strengthened capacity of coalitions and networks, particularly women’s networks, enhanced peer support, participation, advocacy, and awareness raising both in the development of the policy, and in how it is implemented.

Development of a national priority list of assistive technologies skills and standards for procurement, distribution, repair and maintenance, to facilitate the improved engagement of people with disabilities in development and decision-making.
Development of a strategy to improve access to public spaces for engagement in decision-making, including developing a “model accessible meeting space” as a demonstration to decision-makers of feasible and affordable access measures. This intervention aimed to influence future infrastructure at the design – such as the design of a network of central schools to be built in the coming years – to improve the access of people with disabilities to take part in development.

Programme Documents