PM at U.N. reaffirms Thailand’s commitment to peacekeeping role
After attending a peacekeeping summit hosted by President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha used his address before the United Nations General Assembly last week to reaffirm Thailand’s commitment to U.N. peacekeeping operations and called for the organization to integrate sustainability in all areas of its work.
“The imperative now is to focus on crafting a truly sustainable solution to peace and security through the nexus of development and human rights,” the Thai Prime Minister said during his first address to a global audience, which touched on a range of issues from climate change to human trafficking. “We have been taking somewhat of a silo approach to peace and security, to development and to human rights. It is time to change all that.”
Prayut was one of the 50 heads of state that attended the Leadership Summit on Peacekeeping hosted by President Obama. The U.S. mission to the U.N. said that peacekeeping is under unprecedented strain, with over 100,000 troops serving in 16 missions worldwide. Most of these missions are short staffed, and many lack equipment. The world is asking peacekeepers to do more, in more places, and in more complex conflicts than at any time in history.
The countries that attended the summit ended up pledging to contribute 40,000 new troops and police, more than 40 helicopters, 15 military engineering companies and 10 field hospitals. Thailand has taken part in 20 U.N. peacekeeping operations and led the mission to Timor-Leste after its independence.
“Thailand is determined to provide support to UN peacekeeping operations, especially in the field of development. And we wish to reaffirm our principled position to contribute military units for civil development, engineering and medical teams, where and when requested,” Prime Minister Prayut told the General Assembly.
The U.N. has said that Thailand is one of the nations already most affected by climate change, and the Prime Minister spoke on that issue in his address. “Sustainability requires that humankind must learn to live in harmony with nature and lead a balanced life in a green society. Climate change will pose a major challenge to the achievement of various Sustainable Development Goals,’’ Prayut said.
He added that it was every nation’s responsibility to ensure that the Paris Conference on Climate Change later this year will produce ambitious and viable outcomes, and he reiterated Thailand’s pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 to 25 percent by 2030.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to inform the General Assembly on the goals and progress his administration has been making domestically. He said that the reforms being put forward in Thailand “will help us to achieve security, prosperity, sustainability, and pave the way towards resilient democracy.”
Doing so, he said, would put Thailand in an even better position to contribute to the U.N. in many ways. “We want Thailand to be stronger, better, and become more actively involved in the work of the UN to shape a brighter future for us all,” he said.
Thailand Focus October 5th, 2015
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