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Project signed to develop the first business continuity plan for a Bhutan organization

On December 20th 2017, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan in Thimphu for the ‘Project for Development of Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for Disaster Control’, a technical cooperation project.

The project will strengthen the capacity to formulate a business continuity plan (BCP) for Bhutan Telecom, the government-affiliated telecommunications company, to reduce the risk of a communication interruption during a disaster.

About half of the land of Bhutan is rugged topography more than 3,000 meters in altitude, and many regions are characteristically isolated due to the difficulty of physical movement among them. Natural disasters are also a common occurrence and include earthquakes, glacial lake outburst floods and landslides. It is therefore essential to ensure stable means of communication that are reliable between isolated regions even during a disaster.

During disasters such as the September 2011 Sikkim earthquake and the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, communication was hindered in Bhutan due to telecommunications line congestion and service was interrupted even for mobile phones and emergency lines. Ensuring stable communication is therefore a priority.

To ensure stable communication, not only must the communications infrastructure itself be strengthened, but a business continuity plan must be created that includes an operation structure for Bhutan Telecom and that designates communication lines that need to be secured with priority during a disaster. In addition, the organizational capacity to actually execute the BCP during a disaster must be strengthened.

The business continuity plan, which will be the outcome of the project, will be the first in Bhutan, and it is expected that the executing agency Bhutan Telecom will serve as a role model for formulating BCPs not only for the telecommunications sector but Bhutan as a whole.

The project will commence in April 2018 and is due for completion in September 2019.

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