SGP Timor-Leste launches its OP6 Strategy

Launching of GEF SGP OP6 Strategy by UNDP Timor-Leste

Dili, 22nd August 2016

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grant Programme (SGP) has started working in Timor-Leste with its fifth operational phase (OP5) since 2012 and it has been implemented for over 4 years in this new country.

Since then, the GEF SGP Timor-Leste has already been operating in providing funds and technical support to a number of local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to implement projects which are consistent with the protection and conservation of the environment. The GEF SGP now continues to implement a new operational phase which is called the “GEF SGP OP6” as the implementation period for its OP5 is ended.  The implementation period for the new mentioned operational phase is 2015-2018, but the GEF SGP Timor-Leste had a lot of process to go through in 2015 and therefore the implementation period for the new phase is delayed to 2016-2018.  To implement this new operational phase, the GEF SGP is looking forward to having the next strategy to support the local communities for improving their landscape and seascape.

To achieve the above mentioned objective, the GEF SGP Timor-Leste organized a launching workshop on Monday, 22nd August 2016 to introduce and publicize its approaches strategy for the period 2015-2018 to the relevant government agencies, private sectors, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.

The mentioned launching event was attended by several relevant government officers, officials of UNDP Timor-Leste, UNICEF, ILO, World Bank, donor agencies in Timor-Leste, representatives of Civil Society Organizations (local NGOs and CBOs), private sectors and other relevant partners’ organizations such as PEMSEA, Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and National Steering Committee (NSC) members. There were more than 60 people attending this half-day workshop.

The government officials who attended the workshop were the Director General of the Environment, Mr. João Carlos Soares who was representing the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Environment (MCIE), the National Director of Nature Conservation, Mr. Joao Antalmo who was representing the Director General of Forest, Coffee and Industrial Plants, National Director of agriculture and horticulture and others.

This workshop was also attended by Mr. Gil da Costa, the head of Sustainable Development Unit who was representing the UNDP Resident Representatives, Mr. Rene Van Dongen from UNICEF, Mr. Stephen Kearney from WFP, Mr. Tomas Stenstrom from the ILO and some others relevant partners’ representatives.

The participants of the workshop

The workshop was officially opened by Mr. João Carlos Soares as the representative of the Minister of MCIE and that he launched the GEF SGP’s OP6 for the period 2015-2018 to the public.  In his remarks, the Director General described the actual status of the Timor-Leste environment as well as some efforts which have been taken for the conservation and protection of the environment in Timor-Leste. He also thanked the GEF and its development partners’ agencies for their commitments to develop the environment and community well-being in this new and small country.

He said, “As the GEF Operational Focal Point in Timor-Leste as well as the chair of the NSC members of the SGP Timor-Leste, I congratulate the efforts of a number of people who with their commitment and enthusiasm have already been working hard to conserve and protect the environment.” He added, “This is a good opportunity, in which community based organizations in Timor-Leste once again has the opportunity to get the benefit from the SGP to implement projects which are aiming to contribute to the sustainable development, improved livelihoods and global environmental benefits.

Mr. João Carlos Soares, Director General of Environment, was giving his message in the workshop as the representative of the Ministry of MCIE.

Mr. Gil Da Costa, the representative of the UNDP RR, provided his short opening remarks in the workshop on how the GEF SGP Timor-Leste works.  He expressed his gratitude as well as the gratitude of the UNDP CO to the GEF and UNOPS, especially for the SGP Central Programme Management (CPS) and its structure who are still committing to continue providing support to the communities in Timor-Leste through the SGP. He also outlined some progresses which have been achieved by the GEF SGP during the implementation period of the programme 2013 - 2015.

In the workshop, the representative of the General Director of Forest, Coffee and Industrial Plants, Mr. Joao Antalmo also had a chance to provide a brief information on forest protection in Timor-Leste and the challenges which were encountered by his Institution in protecting and conserving the forest. According to Mr. Antalmo, the forests area of Timor-Leste is 51% larger than the territory of Timor-Leste. But Timor-Leste has experienced an extensive loss of forest area annually from 2000 – 2013. The percentage of the loss was 1.1% per year from 2000-2013, but from 2014 until now the loss of forest area is around 1.7% per year or about 25,000 hectares per year while the reforestation is only 600 – 800 hectares per year.

Finally, the UN RC/UNDP RR Mr. Knut Ostby and UNDP Country Director Mr. Claudio Providas joined the workshop at the closing ceremony. The workshop was officially closed by Mr. Knut Ostby by his closing remark, which he talked a bit on the SGP and its achievements during the implementation period 2013 – 2015.

In his speech, Mr. Knut outlined a brief on the SGP’s OP5 implementation and partnership. “Thus, I would like to once again say that our working partnership has been established during this time and it can be further strengthened so that we have a strong capacity and more confidence in providing support together to communities in developing our environment and improving community livelihood” he said.

Mr. Knut Ostby, UN RC/UNDP RR was giving his closing remarks in the closing session of the workshop

Mr. Claudio Providas, Country Director of UNDP Timor-Leste also gave his point of view about the importance of the GEF SGP programme for the community and he congratulated the representative of Civil Society Organizations at the workshop for the opportunity in joining the GEF SGP Programme. 

Today, with the official launching of the implementation strategy of the GEF SGP Timor-Leste, all the local NGOs and CBOs are invited to contribute to the safety of our environment. In responding to the mentioned needs, the call for proposals will be issued soon for the community landscape and seascape conservation in the selected geographic of the 5 municipalities-  Manufahi, Aileu, Bobonaro, Manatuto and Cova-Lima. The above mentioned landscapes are the new sites for the GEF SGP program implementation and this programme can be considered as an initial implementation due to the very good value of biodiversity, cultural and historical of these areas. In addition, the program will also consider other community’s landscape and seascape which are destroyed, have the historical and cultural values which need to be conserved and protected.

The main ecosystems which are going to be conserved as the landscape and seascape are the rainforest on the inland and coastal marine ecosystem. Mangroves, wetlands, lagoons, estuaries of high ecological value, a rocky coastline, tropical forests and tropical dry ecosystems are all found in the region and that they need to be conserved and protected.

Since there is still an unclear of land title and that many landscapes are still traditionally managed by the local/indigenous community and thus the program will only consider to protect the natural species of the community conservation areas, reservoirs areas, and mangroves. In addition, the program will also focus on locations where the local communities have sacred values.

The GEF SGP Timor-Leste will provide funds with a maximum of US$25,000 dollars to the qualified local NGOs and 10,000 dollars for CBOs or other recommended groups. The submitted proposal will be accommodated by NC and PA and forwarded to the NSC members for revision. After the NC & PA get the recommended proposals, the NC and PA will create the MOA to be signed for project implementation.

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