PM advocates for Sufficiency Economy as host of G77 meet

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha advocated for recognition of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy during his opening address at the first meeting of the G77 group of developing countries last week in Bangkok with Thailand as the chair country, and in which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were a main topic of discussion.

As chair of the G77, Thailand has or will host three of its major meetings over a two-week span in Bangkok, while the remainder of the grouping’s gatherings this year will be held in New York where the United Nations is headquartered. The meeting at which the Prime Minister spoke was entitled Roundtable on Sufficiency Economy: An Approach to Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, and took place on February 28-29.

2_G_77_G290216_1_20160229_1840345587“With the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, Thailand survived the 1997 regional financial crisis, the 2004 tsunami disaster and the 2007 world financial crisis,” Prime Minister Prayut told the assembled delegates from 134 countries. Originally founded by 77 developing countries in 1964, the grouping has steadily grown over the ensuing decades while retaining its original name.

The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy was developed by Thailand’s constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who this year will celebrate the 70th year of his reign. He has been the longest-reigning monarch in the world for over a decade.

Based on Buddhist economic theory, the Sufficiency Economy is a people-centered approach to development and daily living that is designed to build resilience and cushion against external shocks. Its principles can be applied to smallholder farming, businesses and national development. They involve financial prudence, diversifying and balancing activities and sources of income, and living in harmony with the environment.

As such, its principles align comfortably with principles of sustainable development.

“People are the main development force. If individuals are strong, families and communities will also be strong and eventually the country will be strong too,” said Prime Minister Prayut.

“Thailand believes the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy is universal and it can be applied to all contexts and sectors of development – not only agriculture and rural areas in developing countries but also industrial and financial sectors in developed countries,” he said.

Thailand has given sustainable development assistance based on the philosophy to several countries, such as Lesotho, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Jordan, Senegal and Mozambique. Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai said other G77 nations had also expressed interest in the Sufficiency Economy philosophy.

Thailand also hosted the G77 The Meeting of Experts on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Sustainable Development for South-South Cooperation on March 1-2, and will host the Forty-seventh Meeting of the Chairs/Coordinators of the Chapters of the Group of 77 on March 11.

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