Bhutan has undergone massive changes in recent decades. Its economy - based on forestry, hydroelectric power and tourism - has expanded. Major steps have been taken towards establishing a democratic system of governance.
The country’s original development philosophy is based on the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). This seeks to balance spiritual and material advancement through sustainable and equitable economic growth and development; protection and sustainable use of the environment; preservation and promotion of cultural heritage; and good governance. The renewable natural resources sector is the main focus of EU support to Bhutan.
The details of EU support for Bhutan 2007-13 are contained in the EU-Bhutan Strategy Paper 2007-13. An €8 million sum has been allocated through the multi-annual indicative programme for the period 2007-10 for development of renewable natural resources and good governance.
A further €2 million has been allocated for trade-related assistance (2011-13). By creating income-generating activities at the rural level and improving farm-to-market access, rural poverty is reduced.