From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals – November 18, 2016
Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
Today, I would like to ask you all to commemorate the immeasurable benevolence of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the King’s Philosophy, which includes the ‘teachings of Mae Fah Luang’ of HRH Princess Srinagarindra, The Princess Mother, and the success of the Doi Tung Development Project, in Chiang Rai. It took over 30 years to revive the area of Doi Tung, turning what used to be a remote rural area into a viable and productive dwelling area for 6 tribal villages. Before the project, their living conditions were rather desolate. There were no roads, transportation, water, or electricity The locals made a living through slash and burn farming, opium cultivation, and drug trading. Doi Tung was one of the world’s largest drug production bases at the time.
However, through strategic and systematic development efforts, a mountain that used to be treeless turned into a green forest. Slash and burning practices were abandoned while residents turned to growing commercial crops. Locals were granted citizenship and received education, which eventually led to careers and people being able to support themselves and their families, without having to send their children to large cities for jobs.
At present, these Thai hill tribe villagers make a living from farming and working for Royal projects. They have been able to raise their incomes from 4,000 baht to 12,000 baht per person per year, or 3 times what they used to make. Many villagers have since asked to be included in various projects where they are able to acquire professional skills. They have also been able to acquire loans to open businesses of their own.
To further carry on the success of this project, the government and Mae Fah Luang Foundation are applying The King’s Philosophy and the Teachings of The Princess Mother in conserving forests, soil, and water resources to a new project to protect a forest and ease flooding in 250,000 rai of farmland in 3 districts of Nan. This is to maintain ecological balance, sustain the people’s well-being, and allow nature and people to co-exist. The project has so far been successful in protecting up to 60% of forests and turning corn plantations into an economically productive forest which yields higher profits than corn farming. It also reduces the risk of forest fires, a threat to more than 76,000 rai of farmland.
In addition, the government, led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has adopted the Doi Tung model to the strategy on forest management and rehabilitation on highland and treeless hills, for the purpose of increasing forest areas in 13 northern provinces. Furthermore, the government has introduced this sustainable development model to 3 southernmost provinces, and has integrating all efforts under the Pracharat policy.
Currently, the King’s Philosophy applied under the Doi Tung model has been lauded and acknowledged worldwide as a viable approach to sustainable development. Many nations have adopted and adapted this approach, such as the sheep bank community project which is benefiting 500 households in 15 villages in Afghanistan and the sustainable livelihood development program in Aceh, Indonesia. The latter is aimed at improving the quality of life of people in the area. It also helps to revive the city’s economy which had been marred by conflict for more than 30 years, as well as the devastating tsunami in 2004.
Also, at the United Nations General Assembly or the UNGA, the King’s Philosophy has been acknowledged and incorporated into the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPS).
We can also see that the success of the Doi Tung project and other Royal development projects, which number over 4,000, was due to the fact that they all had a strategy regardless of how long it took, whether 10, 20, or 30 years.
Three factors contributing to their success are 1) the government’s earnestness to them, 2) public cooperation, and 3) strategic implementation.
Given this, the government has adopted the King’s Philosophy, in particular the approach of ‘understanding, reaching out, and development’, to suit local conditions and problems, so as to develop an ‘innate will to develop” throughout various communities, with focus on building resilience for the locals.
Each ministry has been asked to formulate its own 20-year strategy in line with the NESDB’s social and economic development plan and national security policy. The work between the government, the National Legislative Assembly, and the National Reform Steering Assembly will be integrated along with the country’s budget disbursement plans, investment in basic infrastructure, and development of other areas under the principle of good governance – rule of law, integrity, transparency, public participation, responsibility, and value.
At present, the government is developing a national administration plan under the 20-year national strategy, which will emphasize connectivity and integration of work, both for development project plans and the fund disbursement plans, according to the following:
1. The government will lay down a vision and a national strategy that will have 6 sub-strategies. A blueprint, which includes all activities, has been incorporated into the 20-year plan. This has been divided into different timeframes in accordance with the nation’s roadmap, with the first 5 years being 1+4, which represents this year and the next 4 years. Then it will follow the NESDB’s plans, the 13th, the 14th, and the 15th plans.
We are currently using the 12th NESDB plan, or the first 5 years, which includes this year and the next 4 years. Subsequent plans can, therefore, be revised accordingly. With this, we have a blueprint to the future. But these plans can be adapted at any time to suit changing global conditions. At present, as I said, we have the 12th NESDB plan. If we seek sustainable growth, we must have a long-term plan. This is why we have the 13th, 14th, and the 15th plans, spanning a period of 20 years. We must have certainty in our reform path.
This will eventually uplift people’s living standards and also protect the country’s best interests. This initiative will paint a clear picture of how the country will advance every 5 years. We must have set goals. We have to be able to know how people’s incomes and the country’s will improve and how the people’s well-being will improve as a result. There will be assessments for this process.
Every ministry and state-enterprise must have a vision, a strategy, and blueprints of their own for the next 20 years. Their policies must be in accordance with the national strategy and each plan must provide details of each development activity.
These plans will also serve as guidelines for our budget disbursement over the years. They should also follow a 4-phase roadmap for the next 20 years, with each phase of 5 years. Their plans will be implemented simultaneously. Their operations will also be assessable and under constant evaluation.
However, every plan can be amended to better suit the reality of the situation at the time. It is common to revise these plans later. There will be a reassessment of internal and external factors, which will then help us make informed decisions. We might reassess each plan every 1 to 5 years by looking at all the varying factors. We will be able to make more sound decisions that can respond to problems in the country and around the world.
The action plans of the various agencies must contain the following details:(1) the original function of the ministry, agency or state enterprise
(2) Integrated agendas with other agencies
(3) Other agendas, such as public debt and monetary policy.
I place great importance on these 2 plans and managing public debt, in which all agencies must adjust their policies to compliment each other.
Each agency must be clear of its budget plans for both its standalone functions as well as integrated functions, focusing on the first 5 years. I have emphasised that budget policies must not burden the country’s fiscal budget and remain within the parameters of financial discipline. Each agency should record an increase in revenue and state where that revenue came from and how it was obtained. It must also state what it will do with its increased revenue in order to demonstrate transparency for the public.
In addition, I will also stress the following,(1) That policies between ministries, state enterprises and other agencies are interconnected
(2) All cross-agency programs, whether it be on the same agenda or budget, must be planned together in order to reduce redundancies and increase budget efficiency.
(3) All joint programs must stipulate a clear roadmap, detailing how much money is required throughout each phase, and
(4) Plans must also be flexible to account for changing conditions or unforeseen issues that surface. We must make sure that we are able to accommodate contingencies that may arise.
Our failure in the past to define a clear strategic course of action cannot be continued, as agencies will not be able to solve our country’s issues separately. Various issues are connected and if only one aspect is tackled, unintended consequences may surface in other ways. Therefore, a “to each their own” approach must no longer prevail.
Therefore, this administration aims to introduce a systematic process to address various issues in order to create the continuation of work throughout each new administration. Agendas will be set in advance while the implementation will be up to each administration. Most importantly, the public and government agencies will be made aware of various agendas in order to follow up on progress, assess the work done, and hold officials accountable.
Dear Thai people and colleagues, the overarching direction of this administration’s policy, from 2015-18 as well as the next 20 years will be to realize the vision of “stability, prosperity, and sustainability” by implementing “the King’s Philosophy” in order to achieve a truly prosperous nation as envisioned by His Majesty the King. We can divide the policies into the following aspects,
Reform and national development – this is the realization of the country’s vision by focusing on people-centered development and the needs of the people, while also preserving our country’s culture and traditions and promoting harmony and unity.
We will make sure that the vision of all sectors will be realized through the Pracharat model and through creating a 2-way communication channel between the government and the public. The public should be able to embrace the changes that are going to happen in order to achieve our national reforms and raise the standards of living for everyone.
As for our sustainable development agenda according to His Majesty the King’s principles that have been applied, we will incorporate these principles and adjust them to suit the current situation and the changes brought about by both internal and external conditions, and to develop a better understanding between us and the international community.
Currently, there are different viewpoints and ways of doing things. Some things may be applicable in other countries and situations. For Thailand, there are some particular matters that are more delicate in context. Therefore we must have a clear vision by building trust and understanding.
Reform must be comprehensive and encompass the issues of security, economics, society, law, the justice system, and foreign affairs. We must successfully implement our reform agendas within a 5-year timeframe. This administration will begin working on the first years before passing the remaining tasks on to the next administration.
On matters of economic development, we have policies that extensively cover all sectors, from the grassroots, to unions, traders, investors, foreign partners and international cooperation. We will need to improve on the economic strengths that we have by introducing the digital era and supporting the transition of old industries to the new, as outlined by the S-Curve models. We will move forward to the Thailand 4.0 agenda.
We will not completely forsake our 3.0 industries that are important to many. We will develop our human resources by reforming the education system. The results of this must be tangible. For example, we must ascertain whether we are able to produce skilled labor that coincides with the country’s needs or resort to hiring outside labour in the initial phases. I have called for the Ministries of Education, Science and Technology and Labour to create a joint policy in collaboration with government and private education institutions.
In order to promote new innovation, we will support research and development and establish working groups to mobilize them so that the various sectors can utilize research findings and turn them into marketable products and services.
In addition to bringing about comprehensive reform in the agricultural sector, we must also ensure sustainability by reforming the industrial sector and promoting green industries. It is essential that we develop these two industries in parallel if we want to cope with the changes in global climate conditions, economic conditions, as well as trade.
In order to achieve sustainable development in all areas, ranging from local communities, provinces and regions, it is the responsibility of everyone to think about how to implement the agendas that I have highlighted. You can do this by promoting a region’s unique identity to add value to products and best utilize the resources available in each area. We must also strike a balance between development and environmental conservation. In addition, we must ensure that the locals are the ones who benefit fairly from development programs.
We must reduce internal market competition as it can lead to a drop in prices. In the past, prices have been reduced for the sake of competition without maintaining product quality. We now must build a specific Thai brand, especially for our agricultural products such as jasmine rice, which is a distinct brand in the world market. We must do this by connecting the various phases of production as I have detailed several times.
Social agendas include the support and mobilization of all efforts to fight against poverty and ensure that development benefits all the public equally.
There are various measures to reduce social disparities and increase access to government services and benefits for all ages. The youth, who are the country’s future, must continue to develop themselves. I urge all too keep on developing themselves, whether it be through reading s or through life-long learning programs.
We will ensure social security by creating a safe and peaceful society. For instance, we must ensure peacefulness in our communities, without delinquents and gang violence. We will aim to develop the quality of living for all and empower people to be self-sufficient and able to support their families with honor and dignity, regardless of occupation or income. This administration has implemented policies to develop residential areas, occupations, and incomes, while also increasing equal access to social services and benefits.
In order to create a more peaceful and happier society without quarrels and conflict, we must start by having a good education system. Education is the key to the country’s future. It is a promoter of understanding and a shared knowledge base. We must promote connectivity in all aspects. We can no longer work or think separately but must combine our insights in order to reach common goals and find shared courses of action.
We will need to bring about social orderliness both in rural and urban areas in order to promote a safe environment for economic development and access to resources that is shared among everyone.
In order to coexist peacefully in a society, we must promote cultural exchange both within our country and with other countries in order to create constructive relationships. We must start with the people and promote prosperity amidst cultural diversity. Other countries are interested in our culture and we welcome cultural exchanges.
Another important thing is building momentum for driving this country forward through developing the potential of our people in every region, along with the shared understanding of our sustainable democracy based on the nation, religions, the Monarchy and the people.
Security and safety in life and assets and national stability are extremely important for any country. We must endorse and encourage all sectors to participate in creating this security and stability. We should help each other to be vigilant for any potential threats and in the mean time, strengthen the Pracharat model on security matters. Of course this doesn’t mean citizens taking justice into their own hands, but simply being more aware of security situations. This is important given that the military and police can’t be everywhere at once.
All this can only come about if we develop a mindset of selflessness, service to the nation, and love for the nation and our monarchy. This will create a stronger public and consequently a stronger nation. As for cooperation, we must allocate duties appropriately amongst the public, the businesses, and the different regions. This is another factor that will be important to building our national resilience. We must come together in order to complement our potentials.
Also, we must not forget that our national defense agencies, our armed forces and our police must be strong, modern, and have readiness. These institutions are depended upon by the public for many situations. We must build a foundation of trust and develop this security network through cooperation with the people as well. This will allow them to prioritize their personnel more effectively, and improve the justice system through a basis of honesty and trust.
On matters of justice, creating a stronger Thailand, with society based on the rule of law will be the source of our integrity, so we must help to create a justice system that we can trust and respect. We must eliminate corruption from the system as well as influential figures that would use it simply for personal gain. We must realize that this system must be for the common good and we need to come together to make this happen. We have development strategies on both legal and social levels.
Those who break the law should not be able to dwell with impunity in our society. We must help each other, uphold the justice system, and bring the accused into the judicial procedures. However, for those who have already gone through the justice system and have been proved innocent, we must accept this decision. Everyone deserves a chance to become a functioning and respected member of society after paying their debt to society. We must be forgiving as well.
As for foreign affairs, we can currently see that there has been a lot of rapid change in the world. Therefore, it is imperative for Thailand to carefully position its role in international stage. We should also focus on the CLMVT region and ASEAN. We must come together and work with each other even with our differences. In this way, we will come to realize that it is better to be a strategic partner than a competitor. We must have cooperation and connectivity in all dimensions as it will be a driving force for advancing our international relations, in the economic dimension and others.
Currently, the government places much importance on the development of the various regions of Thailand in terms of their connection to the world economy. It is also important that Thailand be considered a strategic hub for the world and ASEAN, in particular the Eastern Economic Corridor. Today we are mobilizing all efforts for this, so that we can upgrade the S-Curve industries into New S-Curves that focus on digital technology. This will happen through development and the upgrading of our machinery in the original S-Curves, something the government will have to focus on.
This said, our foreign policy must also have a basis of trust, confidence and understanding. This will reduce wariness and create mutual benefits. The government doesn’t have any vested interests, and the people expect to benefit from the government’s actions. This is a step by step process and must proceed in accordance to a plan. I ask for your understanding in this regard.
The government is doing what it can to implement a proactive diplomacy. We must build these relationships, and strengthen “economic diplomacy” to reap mutual benefits together, both for Thailand and our trading partners. Trade matters are highly dependent on the international relations between countries. This is why it is important to focus on both these aspects at once.
In terms of establishing a strategic partnership, we must push for this to happen. This will promote our own development and elevate our competitive level in the global market. Strategic partnerships are something we must create more of. It will lead us to greater benefits and a better future for all of us.
Thailand must show sincerity and keep an open mind. Sometimes it’s important to sacrifice a little thing for the greater good. We can’t just think about ourselves all the time. This applies at a national level and the international level. We must consider both our interests and the interests of the whole.
We must strengthen our relationships by first focusing on the potentials of each country and then by matching our needs. We must also work to remove obstacles and problems between each other. In the past, we talked about cooperation but we were limited by many things. This government has, therefore, addressed many of those issues since then and we can move forward with cooperation with our regional neighbours and the rest of the world.
We must push for cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral level. We must enhance connectivity, in our economies, in our tourism industry, our investors, and our industries. I have previously mentioned Thailand +1 in ASEAN. This can add value and increase incomes in the region. We must foster these relationships through camaraderie, unity, and friendship amongst our ASEAN brothers and sisters.
We have nearly 70 million people in this country now. We must utilize our collective efforts towards reform. We must do this through understanding and a global mindset gained through proper and effective education. We must have a positive attitude towards one another and consider the activities and processes that require assistance. This must be an ongoing endeavor. We are all links in the same chain.
If we do not change our ways of thinking and doing things, whether this is brought about by poor information or lack of proper education, reforms will not happen. These things depend on the individuals, the families, the communities and the villages – all the way to the provinces and the regions. We must begin today. Consider it the same as creating a strong foundation of roots. If the roots collapse, so does the system.
In much the same way as a stick can be very weak on its own but strong as a bundle, tied together in unity, confidence and faith, success is within the reach of the Thai people. The government and the NCPO will do all we can in order for our nation and people to overcome any obstacles towards this.
On Tuesday, November 22nd at 8:00 a.m. after the national anthem, the government would like to extend an invitation to the Thai people both at home and overseas to take part in a ceremony to pay respects and express loyalty to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and all the monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty.On Tuesday, November 22nd at 8:00 a.m. after the national anthem, the government would like to extend an invitation to the Thai people both at home and overseas to take part in a ceremony to pay respects and express loyalty to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and all the monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty.
We will together pledge our oath and sing the Royal Anthem at Provincial District Offices, at special designated locations, and at private venues across Thailand.
For Thais abroad, you can also take part at any Royal Thai Embassy or if there is another designated venue near you on Sunday November 20th 2016. Hopefully, this will make things as convenient as possible for everyone. This is so that the world can understand how much the Thai people shall revere His Majesty, King Rama 9 and the Thai Monarchy always.
Thank you very much. Sawasdee Krup.