The areas in focus will be marine and coastal areas as well as a tourism sector
Representatives from the German and the Thai governments yesterday celebrated Thailand’s milestone accomplishment to advance its climate action and implementation in five key sectors during the closing of the Thai-German Climate Programme (TGCP), which has provided technical support to Thai officials over the past five years.
Head of the International Climate Initiative Division, of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), Dr. Philipp Behrens, applauded Thailand for the successful delivery of its revised Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy and the submission of the second update to Thailand’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), seen as the crucial work out of the cooperation.
Thailand has stepped up its GHG emission reduction targets up to 40% in the next six or seven years if receiving support while aiming to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050 and net-zero emission by 2065 under the latest long-term strategy.
Dr. Behrens then revealed the next ambition that Thailand and Germany will work together in the next phase under the so-called new Climate, Coastal, and Marine Biodiversity (CCMB) project. This, he said, will function as the new backbone of Thai-German cooperation and support to Thailand in its climate ambitions set through the NDCs and NAPs (National Adaptation Plans).
For the first time, he added, the project will also act to address the climate-biodiversity synergy in the marine and coastal as well as tourism sectors in support of sustainable and biodiversity-friendly development and growth.
Throughout the past five years, Thailand has received support from Germany to accomplish its climate action, notably its development of long-term climate policies and planning in key sectors, including the “Long-Term Low-Emission Development Strategy” and the updated national climate goals (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDC).
Aside from these key policies, Thailand has successfully developed the Action plan for the Agriculture Strategic Plan on Climate Change (ASPCC) 2017-2021, the Integrated Provincial Energy Planning Platform (IPEPP), the national action plan for NDC implementation in the waste sector, the policy brief on integrating climate change adaptation in the water sector and guidelines for Climate-Sensitive River Basin Master Plan development, and the application of ecosystem-based adaptation.
“As a result of the five-year implementation across all related sectors, Thailand has made progress in transforming the results of international climate negotiations into national policies. The Thai-German cooperation, particularly the Thai-German Climate Programme, has greatly contributed to our goal to fight climate change,” said Dr. Phirun Saiyasitpanich, Secretary-General, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) during his opening remarks.
“The Thai-German Climate Programme was designed to support Thailand in the creation and strengthening of national framework conditions for the implementation of its climate targets and the transition towards a climate-resilient and carbon-neutral society. We are proud that after five years, Thailand has a stronger foundation for ambitious climate action than ever before. This transformation will bring positive changes in all sectors of the economy and society,” said GIZ’s Country Director for Thailand and Malaysia, which implemented the TGCP.
H.E. Georg Schmidt, Ambassador of Germany to Thailand, emphasised the significant success of the capacity building and development programme.
“The economic development of the last decades, the related consumption of natural resources and energy, as well as recent events following Russia´s invasion of Ukraine put pressure on not only Germany but also Thailand to support a global framework that aims for more resilience, sustainability and more efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emission throughout the whole economy.
“We are united in a sense of urgency and a strong commitment to achieving sustainable development goals. Over the past years, the Thai-German Climate Programme has been the flagship of our cooperation. It has supported Thailand in building a strong foundation for the implementation of ambitious climate action,” said H.E. Schmidt.
Sustainable rice farming
The event also saw the showcase of the successful project implemented on the ground, including sustainable rice farming under the TGCP-Agriculture. Under the project, the first Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system for the rice sector has been developed to allow rice researchers to systematically assess the potential for and monitor the progress of mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rice farming while helping the sector adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Throughout the five-year (2018-2022) implementation period, a series of training sessions on sustainable rice practices were held. More than 30,000 agricultural officers and smart farmers in the six central provinces of Chainat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathumthani, and Suphanburi, regarded as the nation’s rice bowl, participated in the trainings. These experts form the core of a knowledge network that will continue to scale up the adoption of sustainable rice practices in Thailand.
The TGCP-Agriculture project also procured and installed four gas chromatographs for the provincial rice research centres to support researchers on precision GHG data collection and laboratory analysis.
The partners also developed and launched a publicly owned voluntary Thai Agricultural Standard for Sustainable Rice to integrate and mainstream climate change-related practices into rice farming, and as a tool to scale further public sector and industry initiatives.
According to Thailand’s Second Biennial Update Report (SBUR), rice farming generated the largest amount of GHG emissions within the agriculture sector, mainly due to traditional rice cultivation practices of flooding paddy fields. This includes a 55% share of methane, which has a global warming potential 28 times higher than Carbon Dioxide.
Sustainable rice farming emits an estimated 30% less methane and uses significantly lower inputs of water, energy, fertiliser and pesticides, which in turn leads to lower environmental impacts and higher returns for farmers, according to GIZ.
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