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Strategizing against Plastic Pollution: Successful Delivery of the Training on Developing Bankable Project Proposals for Cambodia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam

24 Jan 2024
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By AIT Public Affairs

24 January 2024: A comprehensive three-day training on ‘Developing Bankable Project Proposals for Addressing Plastic Pollution’ was delivered successfully in Bangkok, as part of the project CounterMEASURE II Extension led by Prof. Anil K. Anal and Dr. Takuji W. Tsusaka of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

While the discussions during the regional workshop in October 2023 highlighted the potential of implementing technologies and protocols developed and demonstrated under the previous CounterMEASURE projects for monitoring and evaluating riverine plastic pollution, scaling these solutions requires additional financial resources.

Organized by AIT and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from 22nd to 24th January 2024, the training workshop brought together stakeholders from various countries to explore innovative solutions and develop strategies for acquiring further financial resources. During the opening session, Ms. Tomoe Kotani, Deputy Director of the Division of Global Environment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, stressed the urgent need for collective action against plastic pollution.  Dr. Mushtaq Memon, Regional Coordinator for Chemicals and Pollution Action at UNEP, emphasized the significance of the workshop’s objectives, stating, “This training will help connect the dots to make those projects financially viable and able to address plastic pollution from environmental, economic, and social perspectives. By involving private agencies, we can enhance the effectiveness of pollution reduction efforts.” Prof. P. Abdul Salam, Dean of the School of Environment, Resources, and Development at AIT, reflected, “The initiatives undertaken, particularly under CounterMEASUREII, underscore our dedication to addressing plastic pollution. I extend my appreciation to our country partners, the dedicated AIT and UNEP teams, and all involved.”

With valuable inputs from representatives of renowned international agencies such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the European Union, the World Bank, GRID-Arendal, Finnish Embassy in Thailand, Sagri Co., Ltd., and UNEP, the workshop provided participants with practical guidance on developing bankable project proposals tailored to their specific challenges and opportunities. From AIT, Prof. Vilas Nitivattananon (Urban Innovation and Sustainability), Dr. Takuji W. Tsusaka (Natural Resource Management), Dr.  Kittiphon Boonma (Geoinformatics Center), and Prof. Anil K. Anal (Food Innovation, Nutrition and Health) offered technical sessions useful for developing different sections of proposal templates. Participants gained insights into funding mechanisms and best practices for crafting comprehensive project proposals through interactive sessions and discussions. The event served as a platform for fostering regional collaboration and enhancing practical skills in proposal development. The event resulted in important outcomes after rigorous brainstorming and exercises. Most of the country partners were able to create draft project proposals ready to secure funding. Participants also improved their skills in proposal development, gained a better grasp of funding sources for tackling plastic pollution and other similar issues pertinent to respective countries, regional and global, and built a network for future collaborations in such projects.

In the closing session, Prof. Anil K. Anal expressed gratitude to the Japanese Government, UNEP, speakers, country partners, participants, and the organizing team. He reiterated AIT’s continued support to the country partners in developing their proposals in the coming weeks, while inviting feedback on this workshop. Ms. Heidi Savelli-Soderberg, Programme Management Officer at UNEP, expressed her gratitude to AIT for organizing the workshop in her closing remarks. She extended her appreciation to the other partners, consultants, and facilitators for sharing their knowledge and expertise. She thanked the country partners, affirming that the presented draft proposals were very promising and that the workshop had successfully achieved its purpose. “This success paves the way for the next phase: financing.”