The Prime Minister delivered the keynote address at the First Meeting of the 7th Replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund this morning in Paris.
Lyonchhen appreciated the good work done by GEF and its partners in the past 25 years. He acknowledged that the GEF is a critical instrument for financing the conversation of the global environment. He commended GEF for investing USD 14.5 billion directly and leveraging USD 75.5 billion additional resources for approximately 4000 projects in about 167 countries, of which 1000 projects were geared toward mitigating climate change.
Prime Minister thanked the GEF for their assistance towards Bhutan’s efforts to conserve the environment particularly the establishment of the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation.
Prime Minister also commended the GEF for investing in low emission technology which has offset around 2.7 billion MT of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to keeping 516 million vehicles off the road. He noted that in Bhutan, the GEF and RGoB are working on a project to replace the public transport system vehicles with low emission technology vehicles.
Despite the good work, Lyonchhen said that there was still much the world collectively needed to do. He stated that the world is facing a situation of a “tragedy of the commons” with environment being a global common.
The world has recorded the highest temperature in 2016; and 16 of the 17 record high temperatures was recorded in the 21 century. In the last 25 years, the world’s forested area declined from 31.6 percent to 30.6 percent with a loss of 129 million hectares of land which is more than the combined land area of France, Germany and U.K. Further, 58 percent of wildlife species has been lost between 1970-2012 and during the same time, the world’s population has increased by 93%.
Lyonchhen stressed the urgency to address these global problems and urged the GEF member states to think big, aim big, be innovative and work differently as opposed to business as usual.
On the sidelines of the Meeting, Lyonchhen also met with the GEF’s CEO and Chairperson Ms. Naoko Ishii.
Representatives from about 30 countries and 28 intergovernmental organisations, non-government organisation and private sector are attended the meeting.