Dasho Pema
Dasho Pema Chewang Secretary National Land Commission Royal Government of Bhutan


Pema Chewang is the Secretary of National Land Commission of the Royal Government of Bhutan. A student of Economics Development from Australian National University, he has rich experience in the field of Bhutan’s national policies and programmes. Prior to joining the National Land Commission he served as the Deputy Chamberlain to His Majesty the King of Bhutan for more than four years, during which he initiated resettlement programme for the land less and socio‐economically disadvantaged communities in different corners of the country under the command of His Majesty the King.

Prior to that he worked in the Gross National Happiness Commission as the Chief Planning Officer. He also worked under the Ministry of Finance for almost ten years who was then the key negotiator for foreign aid to Bhutan through bilateral meeting and round table conferences.

In 2006 he was on secondment to the World Bank, Washington DC for one and half years during which he was responsible for facilitating most of the World Bank’s project in Bhutan. In 2004 he won UN’s recognition for best practice in the Aid Coordination Management among the Asia Pacific Region.

Currently, he sits as the Board Director in the Druk Holding and Investment (DHI), which is the Investment arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan and Chairman of the DHI‐Infra Ltd. As the Secretary of the National Land Commission he is also the Chairman of Bhutan’s National GIS Coordination Committee.


The earliest survey work concerning Bhutanese territory was perhaps performed by the British. The first topographic base maps of Bhutan were prepared in early 1960s with the help of India. These maps are still being used for different purposes. Bhutan has embraced geospatial technologies in early 1990s for land use planning and cadastre. Perhaps, its geopolitical and resources limitations triggered Bhutan to believe in the potentials of geospatial technology.

The National Land Commission is the sole surveying, mapping and land registration authority of the country. Over the years its mandate has evolved with the changing technologies from the originally envisaged role as provider of analogue topographic maps and land registration to the development of spatial data infrastructure for meeting the diverse needs of the ever widening geo-information client base. It is also entrusted as the focal agency for coordination of Geographic Information System (GIS). The Centre for GIS Coordination has 31 members representing government agencies, institutes, corporations and non government organizations.

The Geo- information community of Bhutan has adopted a standard mapping system and resolved to work towards a seamless geographic information system framework, with open access policy and free of redundancies. Towards this end, the national geospatial data policy is already drafted and metadata prepared and put in public domain. Bhutan envisages to mainstream national spatial data infrastructure development initiatives and facilitate effective use in the areas of disaster management, natural resources management, climate change studies and governance. However, even after two and half decades Bhutan has not been able to make significant strides in due to lack of dedicated resources, capacity and a commonly adopted policy