From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – October 21, 2016
Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
On Thursday, October 13, the country and the Thai people had to endure the devastating loss of His Majesty the King who deeply loved and cared for his people, and whose benevolence could only be compared to that of Mahajanaka.
If the Thai people can love each other and have good intentions for each other, if only for a fraction that His Majesty had for his people, and if the Thai people sought to contribute to society and the nation in the same way, the Thai people would be the happiest people in the world. Thailand would be the most prosperous and secure country in the world.
His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Thailand has graciously commanded for the government to organise the Royal Funeral Ceremonies according to ancient Royal traditions and in the highest order, as well as to take advice from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in Royal Funeral-related ceremonies, including the construction of the Royal crematory and the Songtham Pavilion. His Royal Highness has also emphasized the need to look after the well-being of the Thai people as best as possible during this time.
In light of this, the government has pledged that it would carry out this command with the participation of the Thai people in all aspects, and with the highest order and honour.
The government and I vow that we will carry out our duties within the many Royal Activities, in accordance with His Majesty’s saying that “We shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and the happiness of Siamese people”, and with loyalty, integrity, and our utmost efforts. We pledge our everlasting devotion to the nation, religion, and the monarchy.
Although the features and the name of this week’s program have been changed, the substantive issues are basically the same. I will talk to you about His Majesty’s quotes, wishes, experiments and studies in relation to sustainable practices in development.
I will inform you about how the government, during the past two years, has been utilizing His Majesty’s principles that are in line with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs). I will talk to you all about this so that you understand where the country is headed.
Although His Majesty the King has passed, His Majesty’s thinking and Philosophy live on. His teachings, advice, principles of work, and the examples that He set shall always remain with the Thai people.
His Majesty would ‘teach us in thinking’ and ‘show us in doing’ throughout the past 70 years. The Philosophies of His Majesty can be applied to all dimensions and matters we can think of, ranging from our daily activities and professions, to matters dealing with national administration, in so far that sustainable development has become the direction for the government and all civil servants.
In this light, the King’s Philosophy, which has been lauded around the world, that correlates to the global agenda set by the United Nations to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs 2030) in the next 15 years, is the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which was bestowed to Thai people 40 years ago.
This Philosophy has been lauded by the United Nations, as then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented the United Nations first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to the King 10 years ago. The Philosophy strengthens individuals and communities to be ready and resilient to all challenges. The United Nations has espoused for all member states to consider this Philosophy for sustainable development.
The government, during the past two years, has been encouraging the Thai people to follow His Majesty’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and adopt it in various aspects.
The Philosophy can even be applied to household budgeting, which helps build stability for the family, the smallest but most important unit in society. The family is the most important institution when it comes to fostering and nurturing a human being.
The National Savings Fund can serves as a source of stability by advocating planning for retirement. It can also reduce social disparities by providing access to a better retirement system for low-income people and freelance workers. Unlike civil servants, these people do not get pensions when they retire. In addition, they don’t have provident funds like employees of private companies.
Encouraging members of the public to adopt His Majesty’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy at the family level can have an impact on national-level problems, and will also be in in line with His Majesty’s work principle, which emphasizes solving problems by a step-by-step approach. We must look at the problem in a big picture while solutions should come step by step. This is often overlooked by many people.
To further advocate the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy internationally, whether it is the G77, G20, or the ACD, this administration has presented several success stories in achieving sustainable self-sufficiency at the grassroots level.
This includes programs on environmental conservation and coexistence from His Majesty’s 6 regional development centers, consisting of
Khao Hin Sorn Royal Development Study Center in Chachoengsao,
Huai Sai Education Development Center in Phetchaburi,
Kung Krabaen Bay Study Center in Chanthaburi,
Phu Phan National Park in Sakon Nakhon,
Huai Hong Khrai in Chiang Mai,
and Pikunthong Royal Development Study Center in Narathiwat.
Moreover, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy is not a fixed formula, and can be adapted to local contexts, capacities, and with considerations on the diversity of each region and country.
Each country will need to find what method most suits them and can will share experiences and expertise in sustainable development, whether it be the implementation of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, innovations in green technology and energy, or environmentally-friendly development.
Given this, the government will carry on with His Majesty’s aspirations for the 4,000 Royal projects around the country by creating learning centers and utilizing the latest technologies to improve the well-being of the people. Various ministries will also establish their own learning centers, such as
The Ministry of Education’s 7,000 plus learning centers on the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and modern farming practices,and the Ministry of Digital Economy & Society’s 2,000 plus learning centers on information and communication technology to mobilize the country’s digital economy, ‘the Thailand 4.0’ agenda, and smart farming practices.
Also important is the establishment of the 20 year national strategy as well as the National Social and Economic Development Plans for the years 2016-2021.
As for the King’s Philosophy on water management, His Majesty paid particular interest to water source development, as was once stated: “Most importantly, the people must have water for consumption and agriculture. This is because people can’t live without water. People can’t live without electricity either, but if there is electricity but no water, then the people would not be able to live.”
Therefore, developing water sources for agricultural purposes has been an important and beneficial undertaking, particularly in order to enable the people to conduct agricultural activities throughout the year.
Currently, farms outside the reach of irrigation systems have had to rely on rain and natural water sources. This means that crops may not be provided with sufficient water supply. In addition, erratic rainfall has resulted in underperformance in crop yields.
His Majesty established the Royal Rainmaking Project to address the increased frequency of droughts due to climate change as well as deforestation.
His Majesty spent 14 years to research the project, reviewing documents and research findings before the program’s eventually unveiling in 1969. His Majesty personally followed up on the progress of rainmaking projects and established a special center for Royal rainmaking, offering it with continuous funding and support.
The Kaem Ling flood alleviation project was established in 1995 to address the issue of flooding in Bangkok by draining excess water from upper regions to large storage canals.
Pa Sak Jolasid Dam was established to serve as a source of water for public consumption, industry, agriculture, fishing, fish breeding, and flood prevention for the lower Chao Phraya region, including Bangkok and its vicinity.
Khlong Lat Pho is a Royal water management program, integrating the work of many agencies to reduce the flow of water from the Chao Phraya River from 18 kilometers to 600 meters. The project also served as a hydroelectric power plant. It was, therefore, one project that benefitted the country in two ways.
Given all this, the government has incorporated His Majesty’s approaches towards addressing flooding, droughts and climate change, in its 12-year comprehensive water management plan, addressing all phases of the issue.
The management plan includes the use of ground water for drought relief, agriculture, and plumbing in villages and schools. It also includes water for industrial and agricultural production, as well as the prevention of saltwater intrusion to preserve the ecosystem.
The government will also support efficient water management, both within and outside irrigation areas, by introducing the use of agri-maps for zone management, establishing large-scale community farms, improving on crop cycling, and supporting hybrid farms.
Those who are interested in these new support policies can visit any of the Ministry of Agriculture’s 882 centers across the country. Everyone is welcome to incorporate the information and expertise provided by the centers into their own farming activities. This will serve to reduce conflicts in our communities as well.
Whether it involves water, farming or low crop prices, the Ministry of Agriculture will solve such problems comprehensively by looking at the whole system. On matters of water, the Ministries of Interior and Natural Resources and Environment will also be involved, and will also oversee issues relating to land management.
All these matters, whether it be water, agriculture, forest encroachment, land management, or crop pricing – all of them are connected, and we can effectively handle them by adopting His Majesty’s approaches.
As for royal rainmaking, Royal permission has been granted to 4 countries to use our methodology. These countries are Australia, Tanzania, Oman, and Jordan. Thailand is also in the process of preparing for its implementation in Bhutan as well.
To the people of Thailand,
During this very difficult time, I must thank all of you once again for your charitable spirit in helping the various government agencies facilitate services to people traveling to the Grand Palace. I must thank all the students from Thammasat University, Huachiew University, Rajamangala University of Technology, Chitralada School, Wat Singha High School, Satri Wat Rakhang School, Wat Noi Noppakun School, Yothinburana School, Wimuttayarampittayakorn School,
Siam Technology College, Shrewsbury International School, as well as scouts from numerous institutions and many more that unfortunately I won’t have time to mention now. I apologize for that. I must also thank the many foundations, private organizations, celebrities and performers; and last but not least, the everyday citizens who have come to lend a hand whether it was to help hand out food and drinks, clean up garbage, ease congestion, organize things, or help the old and disabled.
There have been people who have offered free haircuts and even free health care. We will continue to distribute basic goods to those who are camped out as it is still the rainy season and we are worried they might get sick. Whenever people are gathered in such a way, there is always the risk to catch something. Also, if you have young children, please give them a name tag or card with details in case they get lost in the crowds. The same goes for people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, epilepsy, and diabetes that might be unable to communicate at times. We will do our best to look after the multitudes of people from all over the country who will be coming to pay their final respects at Sanam Luang.
I believe these virtuous deeds are testimony to our devotion to our ‘Royal Father’. I have seen people give up their time to help others, to help society, and for the greater good. Being a ‘giver’ is something that His Majesty had always embodied. During his 70 year Reign, His Majesty did everything he could for his people. I hope we can learn something from His example both today and into the future.
A virtuous deed can be done any day for anyone. We should try to avoid conflicts. Please refrain from fighting and try solving your problems with calm words. As for having a ‘public service mind’, this is something that is perhaps more significant than ever for our country. It shows that we are decent, civilized, and selfless as we follow in the footsteps of His Majesty. Government agencies cannot truly succeed if they do not follow the ‘Pracharat model’ in supporting cooperation between the public and private sectors.
We admit that there are many different views society. But immediately passing judgment on a different viewpoint is not right. There has to be reasoning. It must be based on principles and reason, and after investigating into the facts. Importantly, there are judicial procedures is existence. If we can all respect each other rights, and respect the courts, our society would have more peacefulness and less conflict.
We must not have ‘kangaroo courts’ or use violence to settle matters. Instead, we must use reason and our existing laws. Local officials must be vigilant and prevent these incidents from happening. In addition, it’s also important for them find out what is really happening and let the local people in their communities know. Things we read about on social media are not always true. We can’t afford to get the wrong information as that can lead to strife.
I ask that everyone come together and help move our country forward towards sustainable development. We must continue His Majesty’s initiatives and carry on His Majesty’s aspirations for our country with knowledge, compassion, and the solidarity of the Thai people. In this way we will make Thailand stable, prosperous and sustainable.
During this period, there are many sources of information and news that people are paying attention to. I must ask the public to focus their attention on government media outlets. Please refrain from indiscriminately believing and sharing things you read about online. Many of these stories are not entirely true or completely false, which can thus create confusion or misconceptions over sensitive issues. In addition, in some cases it may even be against the law and damaging to our most cherished and highest institution as well as our nation.
Finally, on behalf of the government, I wish to thank the Thai people across the country once again for your cooperation as well as your selflessness during this time of national bereavement. We will get through this together with wisdom, courage, and with firm resolve to follow the example of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His Majesty will live on in our hearts and I believe He will continue to watch over all of us and our nation always.
Thank you very much. Sawasdee krup.
How to communicate with the government
1. Hotline 1111 – situation command center.
2. Damrongdharma center hotline 1567 (nationwide).
3. The Government of Thailand website
4. Information Center web site for the Royal funeral. Public Relations Department
Phone: 0 2618 -3600
Fax: 0 2618 2357
Facebook: ศูนย์ข้อมูลข่าวสารงานพระบรมศพฯ (Public Relations Department)