From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – February 3, 2017

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Good evening dear Thai citizens.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun had graciously consented for Her Roral Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the President of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, to preside over the 2016 Prince Mahidol Award presentation ceremony, which took place at Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace. There are two recipients this year out of 59 nominees from 24 countries around the globe. Here are the recipients.

In the field of medicine, the recipient was Sir Gregory Paul Winter, Dean of Trinity College of Cambridge University, United Kingdom. He is one of the world’s leading scientists who is a pioneer in the field of antibody engineering and modification technology that effectively protects human bodies from infections. The medicines that have been developed from his research are now widely used to treat diseases like allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and cancers. His techniques to humanize antibodies for therapeutic use later led to the creation of cutting-edge therapeutic drugs. His contributions are beneficial to millions of people around the world.

In the field of public health, the recipient was Professor Vladimir Hachinski of Western Ontario University, Ontario, Canada. He is the world’s leading doctor with specialization in stroke and vascular dementia. His contributions to medicine in the areas of vascular cognitive impairment have helped to delay and prevent cerebrovascular disease and cognitive decline.

The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation was established by the grace of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in commemoration of the Centenary Birthday Anniversary of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla, the Royal Father of modern medicine and public health in Thailand.

The award is testament to the far-reaching vision of His Majesty the late King Rama IX as it underscores the importance of research and development in medical profession in Thailand. As such, the government is determined to develop Thailand into a global medical hub, and this is 1 of the 10 targeted industries under the “Thailand 4.0” policy.

His Majesty King Rama IX was a great example of an avid researcher, and had invented an oxygen-enhancing device known to Thais as “Chaipattana Aerator.” The aerator is a machine that prevents water pollution with a simple technique by increasing the level of oxygen in the water.

His Majesty the late King later received a patent for this useful invention, which was presented on 2 February 1993. His Majesty was the world’s first king to have ever created an invention to remedy a social problem as well as conserve natural resources.

To encourage and inspire youngsters, students, developers, researchers, and those in various professions to follow in King Rama IX’s footsteps, the government has declared February 2 of every year “Inventor’s Day”.

This day also honours and commemorates King Rama IX’s contributions and gracious kindness as the Royal Father of Inventions in Thailand.

This year’s Inventor’s Day event and the international invention expo will be held on February 2-6 at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC).

I’d like to take this opportunity to invite the public, youngsters, students, the private sector, Thais and foreigners, civil servants, and government officials to visit and learn about inventions and innovations presented at this event. These inventions can be useful to our daily lives and may also be useful for generating jobs and income in the commercial and industrial world. Importantly, these inventions can solve many problems and help in our nation’s development.

As for the inventions that have won awards, I have instructed every responsible organization to put them in the Thai Invention and Innovation List and also look into ways to add commercial value to them for future use. This will also involve patenting them as intellectual property for them to be legally protected in accordance with international standards. This will serve as a foundation to enhance the country’s competitive edge, as we take the country forwards to stability, prosperity, and sustainability.

In addition, February 3rd of each year marks Veterans’ Day in Thailand. I would like to invite the public to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices our soldiers, police, civilians and volunteers have made to protect the people, the nation, and our honour until this very day,

as well as the sacrifices made by security officials who protect the nation’s sovereignty in risk-prone areas, remote areas, and along the border. They have made tremendous contributions to protect the lives and the properties of people in the southern border provinces.

To express our gratitude, please purchase red poppies. All proceeds will be donated to our veterans and programmes to improve their welfare.

Dear citizens, a straight line begins from a point that connects to another point and from there, it can develop into an artful creation or a type of architecture. Building a city is done ‘brick by brick’. Similarly, to become a great inventor, it starts with small and simple inventions first. To reach a destination, it is important not to over stride so that you don’t lose balance, but it’s rather the element of continuation and the utilization of your senses, so that you don’t trip or fall that really counts.

Therefore, the government has continuously tried to improve on its strengths and address its weaknesses. At the same time, we continue to review every detail of our work because we realise the adversities faced by the people over basic needs, as well as our problems at the national level, in which some have proven difficult to completely resolve within 2 years. However, our efforts persist.

Regarding the work of the Committee for Reform Strategy on Reconciliation, I’d like to point out that the purpose is to adjust the government’s work to be in line with the work of other reform agencies for maximum efficiency and productivity.

This will also involve eliminating obstacles and complications in procedures, laws, and regulations. This is to facilitate 4 major duties namely:

public administration,

national reform,

the National Strategy,

and the building of reconciliation and unity, in order to move forward and ensure a smooth transaction for the next government.

The government and the National Council for Peace and Order have completed several tasks and have been making good progress on several others, but we will also need to reorganize and systemize our work in line with new levels of urgency and new mechanisms to promote cooperation, the integration of work,  and evaluation at all levels, ranging from:

1. The Committee for Strategic Public Administration will mobilize and accelerate the government’s work under the Public Administrative Reform Committee,  made up of six subcommittees whose duties are to lay out policies and put them into practice. This includes the committee’s every day duties and urgent duties. The move is hoped to bring concrete results in a timely manner.

2. The Committee on Preparations for Country Reform is responsible for bringing together reform imperatives from the government, the NCPO, the reform body, the legislature, and the 6 subcommittees mentioned before, and putting them into categories according to the level of urgency.

In 2017, we have 27 urgent reform agendas while the rest will be implemented based on the prioritised needs of the country. These efforts will be spearheaded in parallel with the handover to the next administration. There will be a clear roadmap for the implementation of work, so that our tangible reform endeavours can be efficiently delivered to the people.

3. The Committee for Preparatory Work for Reconciliation and Unity Building will approach every group, be they politicians, lawyers, academics, economists, civil society, and the media. This is to get every group have a solid level of understanding and consensus, so that from there, they can ‘speak the same language’

before bringing these brainstormed ideas for consideration by the committees at the national level, so that such proposals can ultimately yield concrete results. Please understand that reconciliation is not only about political conflicts,

but there are other sectors and issues that will require reconciliation and understanding as well. The government and the public have different views on several issues, which if left unresolved, can result in more problems for society and the country’s future. For instance, there is the issue of the Krabi coal and waste power plant.

In order to ensure maximum efficiency in the implementation of government policies, the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) will be responsible for following up, accelerating, and evaluating the implementation of policies as well as passing on the prime minister’s instructions to every ministry.

On this occasion, I wish to recall the Royal Remarks by King Rama IX which says, “A nation is comprised of several institutions which can be compared to the many organs that combine to make life and the body.

A body survives because the main and minor organs function together in harmony. A nation functions because these institutions each carry out their responsibilities together and in unison.”

This is a good reminder for all of us. Let the King’s Philosophy be the driving force for our nation and for all sectors to move Thailand forward to success, for the future of our children.

Dear Thai citizens, I want you all to look to the past and think of our ancestors’ wisdom to build amity, togetherness and unity among our communities, particularly in our agricultural societies.

We have a ‘long –kaek’ tradition which has been passed on from generation to generation, where farmers help each other harvest crops. Even though the nation is developing towards a Thailand 4.0 society, and regardless of whether you may consider yourself to be 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0 now, “understanding, love, and unity” will always remain as the key attributes of the Thai people.

Such approach towards fostering unity will enable the government to effectively carry forth its important policies according to the Pracharat model. For example,

1. Addressing the “Din Dang Flats,” – a 50-year-old community that has long been under disrepair, thus eroding the quality of lives of its residents. Over the past 16 years, through five governments, this problem has never been addressed. The obstacles we confront here however have not been about funding or strategy, but lack of understanding and cooperation.

We must approach this issue with a sincere desire to address poverty, social injustice, and social inequality, by creating opportunities and access to state welfare, especially for low income earners. This administration has successfully creating understanding and cooperation on this issue within 10 months by adopting the King’s Philosophy of ‘understanding, reaching out, and developing’ as a strategy.

This is an important approach that the government has adopted for all its efforts in laying the foundations for national reform and development. By combining this approach with the Pracharat model, we have succeeded in creating understanding and eliciting the cooperation of the residents of Din Dang.  Over 97 percent of residents have agreed to changes according the 10 year development plan of 2016-2025 on settlements.

The Cabinet has thus approved the blueprint to restore the Din Dang community and to construct new residences, consisting of 6,500 units for existing community members and 14,000 units for new residents, totaling over 20,000 units.

This blueprint has also complied with related legal guidelines pertaining to the environmental impact assessment (EIA), terms of reference (TOR), and electronic bidding. The project has already laid down its foundation pillars and began construction in December of this past year.

2.  The ‘large scale farms’ project has succeeded in generating income for many communities and in addressing long-standing issues, through the modification of the production process to emphasize consolidation of operations and arable landmass. This coming together of farming activities has not only enhanced bargaining leverage and access to funding; it has also brought communities closer in unity.

Communities have been strengthened through their shared goals. These large scale farms encompass single crops, hybrid crops, fish farms, and livestock farms. These projects don’t necessarily have to be located immediately next to each other either.

Today, farmers that have participated in these large scale farms according to the Pracharat model have been able to reduce principal operation costs and enhance their profits. They have been also able to access the government’s agri-maps, use water more efficiently, and take advantage of the availability of learning centers for agricultural efficiency.

In addition, government agencies have provided farmers with access to the latest technological advancements and management systems in order for them to become effective agricultural managers.

The implementation of the large-scale farming policy in 2016 has supported farms for rice, dry crops, trees, fruits, vegetables, mulberries, orchards, livestock, and fish farms. Over 10,000 farmers have participated in the programme on farmland, totaling over 1.5 million Rai or 2.4 billion square meters. Among 600 active large-scale farms, 480 have succeeded in their goals.

Large scale rice farms have also been able to reduce their operational costs from 4,200 to 3,400 baht per Rai or 1,600 square meters of land, a reduction of up to 25 percent or almost 1,000 baht. Average production output has also increased from 583 kg to 659 baht per Rai, generating a total of 1.188 billion baht in revenue.

The results of large-scale farming activities for 9 out of 12 key crops in 2016 has resulted in revenue increases of over 4 billion baht, consisting of 1.5 billion in added value and cost reductions totaling around 2.7 billion baht. The average return for farmers has totaled approximately 41,000 baht per person.

At the same time, the role that civil servants play in the Pracharat model is one of increased importance, as they must now serve as “bridges” between the private sector and the general public in fostering trust and cooperation. In addition, supporting new innovations, encouraging new ideas, and building networks as a management approach to address long-standing issues will result in increased satisfaction by the public,

as these approaches will enhance the efficiency of government services. The use of innovations is not only limited to inventions, but also encompasses new thought processes, systems, and workflows. I also would like to express my encouragement towards fellow civil servants who have dedicated their careers to public service for the Thai people; I wish them success, and for them to uphold our institutions of the “nation, religion, monarchy, and people” always.

As for the prevention and suppression of corruption, the government will expedite efforts to address this problem in many levels, such as by methodology, processes and legislation, to better suit today’s context and international standards. The government is committed to addressing this issue and asks for participation from the private sector and general public as well.

This past children’s day, the government held a screening of the animated series titled “The Magical City of Jitta Nakorn,” based on writings by the late Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara. The cartoon conveys various dharma teachings. I would like to thank the government agencies, the private sector, as well as media groups for their kind reception.

The series will be broadcasted in February this year simultaneously on NBT, TNN24, ETV, Thai PBS, Channel 3 FAmily, Channel 5, MCOT Family, Channel 14, True Knowledge, Now 26 and New TV.

The series will then be broadcasted on satellite TV, cable TV, and social media platforms. I have also been informed that in English version is being produced for wider distribution.

I would like to invite the youth and all Thai citizens to tune in and view this new series in order to learn about important dharma teachings that can be applied to your daily lives and further promote a society of peace and harmony.

Dear Thai citizens, I would like to talk about two more important activities, as they are part of moving our country forward.

1. The upcoming “Opportunity Thailand” event on February 15 at Impact, Muang Thong Thani, is an event that will showcase Thailand’s potential to the world and its readiness for investment in becoming an industrial economy of the future, driven by innovation, science, technology, and creativity.

The event will showcase the country’s logistical readiness as well as its strategic positioning in the region according to the Eastern Economic Corridor project. The event will also highlight incentives for investments in advanced technological industries, consisting of,

1. The revised Investment Act

2. The Competitiveness Act,

And 3. Comprehensive data and insights on the Eastern Economic Corridor project.

Notable figures from global companies will be invited, such as Huawei, Ajinomoto, and Airbus. These distinguished guests will be delivering addresses along with government officials and private sector managers. In addition, the event has invited 33 top managers of over 10 countries to discuss ways to advance Thailand to its “Thailand 4.0” agenda.

The event will also include over 70 journalists from foreign countries to observe the potential and readiness of Thailand to support investments in future industries.

I have also called for a model replica of the Eastern Economic Corridor region in order for investors to see an overview of the area that will serve as a home base for industries of the future, as well as developing infrastructure and operational service centers. This replica will serve to demonstrate the area’s goal of being a regional business hub.

I believe that this event will be a catalyst for increased confidence and investment activities in Thailand.

2.  The government’s agenda to develop Thailand as a global medical hub has been reflected through the theme of the Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem Market from February 6-26. The purpose of the event is to create confidence in the country’s medical industry, showcase traditional Thai medicinal practices, and pass on know-how to the public.

The government also supports the blend of traditional and modern medical practices in order to support optimal health for the people through community health markets.

In addition, activities that relate with the country’s  plan on herbal remedy development for 2017-2021 include,

1) Supporting high potential herbs

2) Elevating the quality of the country’s herbal medicine industry and markets to meet international standards.

3) Supporting the use of herbs for fighting illnesses and enhancing well-being, and

4) Enhancing government oversight.

I therefore would like to invite all who are enthusiastic about improving their health and well-being to take part in the activities that will be held at the market.

Thank you. I wish you all happiness for the weekend. Sawasdee Krub.

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