On 9 November 2020, more than 100 online and in-person participants from Thai government agencies, the German Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and international development organisations working on environment and climate topics in Thailand came together to exchange successes, challenges and political developments and pave the way for future cooperation and synergies in the International Climate Initiative (IKI) Cooperation Meeting 2020 in Bangkok organised by the Climate Policy Project under the Thai-German Climate Programme of GIZ Thailand
BMU, 9 international development organisations who have been commissioned by BMU through IKI and 16 Thai government agencies who are partners of IKI projects joined the hybrid meeting both in-person and virtually. The topics for this year included impacts of and the current situation of COVID-19 as well as climate and environmental goals based on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the National Adaptation Plan and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the opening remarks, Dr. Raweewan Bhuridej, Secretary-General, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning(ONEP) stated: “Over the past 11 years, we have collaborated on bilateral and multilateral projects and much of our cooperation has received support from the IKI programme. The efforts made, both in mitigation and adaptation, are significantly driving the progress of climate action in Thailand. With the Royal Thai Government working hard on economic growth, climate change is also prioritized and at the top of the national agenda.”
Dr. Philipp Behrens, Head of Division, International Climate Initiative of BMU, said:
“For over a decade now, Thailand and Germany have worked closely together in the framework of BMU’s International Climate Initiative and beyond. We very much appreciate this trust in our cooperation and look forward to its continuation. Given the aligned policy goals regarding carbon reduction and commitment to green recovery initiatives in the wake of the pandemic, there is much room for Germany and its partner countries to cooperate and share experiences. I firmly believe that there is a lot to come from the new transformative development.”
Mr. Stephan Contius, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, and Head of Divisionfor United Nations, Developing Countries and Emerging Economies, BMU said:
“We hope to continue the excellent cooperation we have with your country and we are very glad that Germany is part of this effort in your country to combat climate change and to move forward on several issues very much related to this effort. We very much hope that the next years will show that the two countries together are able to make a difference and to bring us closer to really reaching those important goals we have set ourselves in the year 2050. And I would like to inform you that the German government has decided to make climate policies one of the priorities in its bilateral and multilateral work with the Asian region and in the Pacific region.”
At the political level, Dr. Raweewan Bhuridej, Mr. Jan Scheer, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy Bangkok, Dr. Athipong Hirunraengchok, Monitoring and Evaluating in Economic and Social Expert of NESDC and Mr. Stephan Contius shared their insights in a panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Reinhold Elges, GIZ Country Director for Thailand and Malaysia. Highlights included the measures being taken in the water, waste, forest and tourism sectors, the stimulus package for Thailand’s economy and efforts on bio-economy, circular economy, green economy, German and European recovery packages as an impact of COVID-19, and ASEAN-German cooperation. Future cooperation between Thailand and Germany on the topics of emission reduction in the energy, transport and agriculture sectors as well as adaptation to climate change will continue.
Prior to the official meeting, the participating organisations shared the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 has brought to project implementation in a workshop. Topics included excessive food preservation, job loss in the tourism sector, increase in the single-use plastic and measures to protect and prevent further losses. The silver linings of the pandemic were identified as the digitalization in most sectors and the reduction in carbon emissions due to limited activities in the transport sector. Implementation by the organisations and Thai government agencies have been adapted to the new “normal” during these dynamic times.
Background The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) has commissioned so-called interface projects in its key partner countries to host regular meetings in the country twice per year. The Thai-German cooperation for climate and environmental protection, financed by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI). started more than 10 years ago. IKI Cooperation Meetings aim to facilitate knowledge exchange and learning among IKI-funded projects and political stakeholders under the guidance of the BMU and ONEP as the mandated Thai government agency for climate policies.