HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn advocates for biodiversity finance in Thailand

PRINCESS Thailand
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At an event for International Day of Biological Diversity, Thailand’s Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn recognised the importance of conserving and better managing the country’s biodiversity to build a sustainable economy and prosperous society.

The Princess has sustained interest and built on her involvement in the BIOFIN Day events in 2017, bringing widespread interest and support for biodiversity finance issues to the general public, various government departments and the private sector in Thailand.

“We all know that both physical and biological resources are regarded as wealth and strengths of various nations. But the use of these resources without adequate knowledge and understanding may cause damage to the nation and the world in the long term,” the Princess said in her opening speech at the event.

The event was organised by UNDP-BIOFIN Thailand together with the Royal Thai Government to mark Biodiversity Day 2019 and raise awareness about the critical need for finance to adequately conserve Thailand’s rich natural assets.

Thailand is endowed with vast natural and biodiverse wonders and the country’s economy relies heavily on nature in sectors such as tourism, food production, spa and herbal medicine which make up significant parts of Thailand’s GDP.

Billions of dollars are made in sectors that in one way or another benefit from Thailand’s biodiversity and BIOFIN has found that not enough is channelled back into protecting and managing its natural resources and ecosystems.

The biodiversity-related expenditures in Thailand is estimated US $330 million or 0.5% of the overall budget or 0.1% of GDP. It needs at least USD 924 million to achieve its national biodiversity targets by 2021 – at least three times higher than the current expenditures.

BIOFIN is implementing several finance solutions to support the country in mobilizing funds to bridge the finance gap for biodiversity as well as enhancing traditional financing mechanisms. An innovative solution includes a tiger-themed license plate scheme where funds raised from sales would be channelled into conservation projects in the Huai Kha Kaeng World Heritage Site

Other solutions involve introducing visitation fees for tourists at Koa Tao island where tourists would pay towards reef conservation and restoration as well as working with local government on delivering better for sustainable biodiversity management, and working with the private sector on sustainable business models and impact investment.

See the infographic below that describes BIOFIN Thailand’s Finance Plan.

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As an increasingly strong champion for biodiversity finance, Princess Sirindhorn also spoke passionately to the audience at the Biodiversity Day event about how biodiversity also holds important intrinsic value to Thailand and its people and made an essential call to action.

 “I am delighted to know that this meeting aims to increase the biodiversity to the greatest extent, as a foundation for the biological economy, which is actually related to every aspect of life, namely social, economic, history, culture and environmental development,” the Princess said.  

“For this reason, we must give support for biodiversity conservation and the bio-economy on the basis of knowledge will help support local wisdom and traditions and lead to sustainable use of various resources.”

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