Sustainable Business advocate group Business for Sustainable Development (BSD) was invited to attend the Global Environmental Facility Asia-Pacific Countries Regional Workshop. Held in Bali, Indonesia, on the 10th to 12th of January this year, the event marked the 8th integration programming cycle of the GEF and brought together participants from countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Representing BSD were Edgar De Jesus, the Grants and Partnership Manager, and Raelanie Loyola, the Business Development and Membership Manager. The pair worked closely with Matthew Brian Reddy, the Senior Private Sector Specialist of GEF, to ensure a productive and engaging experience at the workshop.
The first day of the APAC regional workshop was the welcoming of GEF partners, country representatives, and stakeholders. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, GEF CEO, and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment delivered the opening remarks. That same morning, the funding overview of the GEF-8 Integrated Programs was discussed by SJ Yoon. In the afternoon, the operational and policy for Asia and Pacific were introduced. There were learning stations for the Asian countries and reflections of the previous IPs facilitated by donor and recipient countries. The day ended with a welcoming cocktail and cultural performance by Balenese dancers at the Westin Hotel Garden Beachfront.
The second day was comprehensive, it was an introduction to the focal points of the GEF-8 Integrated Programs. These integrated programs are:
- Food Systems
- Sustainable Cities
- Circular Solutions to Plastic
- Clean and Healthy Oceans
- Wildlife Conservation for Development
- Ecosystem Restoration
- Net-Zero Accelerator
- Greening Infrastructure Development (GRID)
- Blue and Green Islands
- Eliminating Hazardous Chemicals from Supply Chains
- Amazon, Congo and Critical Forest Biomes
Participants spent the afternoon attending separate deep dive breakout groups for each IPs. BSD attended Food Systems, Sustainable Cities and Circular Solutions to Plastic. GEF also scheduled bilateral meetings with each country towards the end of the day.
The last day of the workshop tackled The Private Sector Engagement and partially included brief introductions of NGOs who were present at the event. BSD was one of the organization who had to briefly introduce the objective and advocacy of the organization. “We are a platform for the Philippine businesses to make sustainable development their priority. By empowering them to take actions and be strong advocates in their respective industries by engaging in sustainable practices and reporting through SR, we at BSD provide solutions and networking opportunities for the business community.” Raelanie Loyola explained to the crowd. Among other NGOs were BCSD Indonesia who was represented by Indah Budiani, Executive Director.
Shortly after that, a group workshop was facilitated by the GEF secretariat per table with a group of more or less 10 people to report the prioritization of issues from the public and private sectors and to discuss internally the levels to which they belong, to select two big barriers and to report the summary of the group’s decision. There were 30 issues written on the paper and laid on the table, everyone had to organize them by three levels, low, medium, and high. The internal group discussion and sharing of insights went well since everyone was proactive and vocal in sharing their perspectives. The remaining afternoon was spent with an information session on the Non-grant Instrument or the Blended Finance Program then the continuation of breakout groups for IPs.
Ending the regional workshop, BSD thanked GEF, its stakeholders, and the active members of the Philippine representatives of The National Economic and Development Authority, Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon, the Department of Agriculture-BSWM, Dr. Gina Nilo and the Philippine ICCA Consortium, Mr. Giovanni Reyes. The event had more than 31 participating countries involved in the regional workshop. Getting acquainted and meeting international partners has opened more opportunities for BSD to collaborate on sustainable-based programs.