The global community faces many challenges which correspond with the focal areas of the GEF, which has been a key financial mechanism supporting developing countries, and ones with economies in transition, in addressing global environmental issues since 1991 and serves as the financial mechanism for several international environmental conventions. Thailand recognizes the need to cooperate with the global community to address these challenges and therefore has become party to many conventions. We are happy that, with GEF support, we can enhance our work at the national level as well as cooperate with other countries to address global environmental challenges.
The GEF’s 25th anniversary takes place at a crucial time after world leaders adopted the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 and the Paris agreement on climate change that December. This year is the beginning of a global community effort in to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also the year in which we start ratifying the Paris Agreement. Recently, Thailand has formally ratified the Paris Agreement as we want to be part of the global community's attempts to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
Over the past 25 years, the GEF has provided USD 107.25 million for 38 national projects - including ones by the Small Grants Programmme, in Thailand and USD 226.11 million for 35 regional and global projects in which the country has participated. The GEF has supported Thailand in carrying out many projects and activities to address environmental degradation and conserve natural resources. Such projects also strengthen community capacity and participation in managing natural resources and the environment, while improving the quality of life of local people. They help us move toward sustainable development.
Thailand has put the most effort into managing GEF funding effectively and efficiently by establishing the GEF National Steering Committee, consisting of representatives of government, communities and the private sector with economic, social, natural resource and environmental expertise. The committee is responsible for determining policies and guidelines on implementing GEF projects and for endorsing projects, according to GEF criteria, Thailand's policies and plans, and responsiveness to the country’s need.
As well as enhancing the country’s capacity to cope with biodiversity conservation, chemicals and waste, seas and the ocean, and the impacts of climate change, the projects supported by GEF have had positive effects, provided benefits and enhanced the capacity of all including project owners, academic researchers, experts, and most importantly the public and individual people. GEF projects have built effective inter-agency coordination and cooperation, while increasing public participation toward achieving common goals. They promote the exchange of knowledge and experience on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and this leads to sustainable development and people’s well-being.
Thailand welcomes the GEF2020 strategy, which emphasizes the need to support transformational change and achieve impacts on broader scale. The strategy calls for the GEF to focus on the drivers of environmental degradation, and addresses the importance of supporting broad coalitions of committed stakeholders and of innovative and scalable activities. We are proud to be a member of GEF family and look forward to seeing GEF becoming a champion of the global environment facility.