If preservation of environment is the common global goal, the world is witnessing a “tragedy of the commons,” Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said in his keynote address at the first meeting of the 7th replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund in Paris yesterday.

The world, Lyonchoen said, has recorded the highest temperature in 2016 and 16 of the 17 record high temperatures was recorded in the 21 century.

Lyonchoen also highlighted on the declivity trend of the world’s forested area in the last 25 years, from 31.6 percent to 30.6 percent and loss of 129 million hectares of land which is more than the combined land area of France, Germany and the UK.

Further, 58 percent of wildlife species has been lost between 1970-2012, while the world’s population increased by 93 percent simultaneously.

Lyonchoen stressed the urgency to address these global problems and urged the GEF member states to “think big, aim big, be innovative and work differently”.

Lyonchoen also acknowledged that the GEF is a critical instrument for financing the conversation of the global environment. He also commended GEF for investing USD 14.5 billion (B) directly and leveraging USD 75.5B additional resources for about 4,000 projects in about 167 countries, of which 1,000 projects were geared toward mitigating climate change.

Lyonchoen also thanked the GEF for their assistance in complementing Bhutan’s efforts to conserve the environment particularly the establishment of the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation.

Investment in low carbon emission technology, Lyonchoen said, has been able to offset about 2.7B metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to keeping 516 million vehicles off the road.

He also talked about the collaboration of the government and the GEF to replace the public transport system vehicles with low emission technology vehicles.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Lyonchoen also met with the CEO and chairman of the GEF.

Representatives from about 30 countries and 28 intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and the private sector attended the meeting.

Staff Reporter