THAILAND AND GERMANY PARTNER ON POLICY
AN INTERNATIONALLY funded climate policy project is now being implemented in all 77 provinces of Thailand, as Thailand and Germany partner to develop policies and plans around preventing climate change, relief and adaptation at the local and regional levels.
The latest phase of the Thai-German Climate Programme (TGCP) was officially launched last Thursday in a collaboration between Thailand’s Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) and Germany’s Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The latest mission is to assist the remaining 60 provinces, which were not included in the project’s first phase, to draft their own climate policies based on the local environment and circumstances.
Interviews with sources involved in the effort, as well as local people, found that the project’s road to success is a difficult one to navigate, as all stakeholders will have to overcome two major challenges.
One is the lack of constructive cooperation from other related official agencies, while the second is the reality that climate change is already impacting some areas.
GIZ Thailand country director Tim Mahler said the project supports the development and implementation of climate policy at the local level using four key approaches: institutional and individual capacity building, integration of local climate change policy, climate monitoring and evaluation, and support for financial mechanisms.
“The GIZ and ONEP are determined to move forward by scaling up our subnational implementation work to countrywide action, covering the remaining 60 provinces across the country by applying our pragmatic approach and lessons learnt from the previous phase,” Mahler said.
The main objective is to boost each locality’s ability to prepare, cope, and adapt to the impacts of climate change by developing climate policies that take into consideration the local conditions and environment.
He said the project’s operations are not limited to its main partners, GIZ and ONEP. They are looking forward to working with provincial stakeholders, especially the offices of governors and the Ministry of Interior, Mahler said.
The four-year project, which ends in 2021, is funded by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
In the first phase of the TGCP project from 2014 to 2017, the GIZ and ONEP focused on 17 pilot provinces to work out the bugs before expanding. It highlighted some challenges that needed to be addressed in the second phase.
Reflecting on the outcomes of the first phase, a senior ONEP officer, who asked not be named, said the results were not as fruitful as expected. The project experienced poor cooperation between related agencies at the provincial level, said the source.
“This problem was mainly caused by the lack of climate-change awareness among the officers in other agencies. Most of them saw climate change as a problem for the future and did not prioritise work on this issue,” the source said.
“The differences in organisational culture between the project’s various stakeholders and the complicated bureaucratic system of official Thai agencies were also big problems that made our work harder.”
The lessons from the first phase have been taken to heart by the project’s main partners, said the source. They are committed to working harder to raise awareness among officials and finding a way to resolve the differences between related agencies. Their aim is strong cooperation among all stakeholders, which is vital for dealing with as enormous an issue as climate change.
Many parts of Thailand have already felt the impacts of climate change, said the source, and people have started to suffer from the trend of increasingly severe natural disasters, unpredictable weather and environmental degradation.