From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals June 29, 2018
Good evening you all.
Many of you may have heard the news about the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach stranded in the flooded Tham Luang Cave, Chiang Rai Province. His Majesty the King has been closely monitoring the situation and has offered support to the families of the victims.
His Majesty the King also sent out words of encouragement, foods, and water to the rescuers. As you can see, the wellbeing of Thai people is important to His Majesty even though there are only 13 lives out of 70 million people. His Majesty the King is always looking out for all of us.
This incident gave us many lessons. I don’t want to let this incident pass without lessons or without having you think about what we can learn from this experience or what can we offer to the society.
For example, we have learned the generosity of Thai people who will always support one another in good times and bad times. Together, we turn sorrow into bliss and never leave anyone behind. Most importantly, we must use our head and wisdom to resolve problems.
In addition, let me praise the hard work and commitment of all responsible individuals who have come together to employ their knowledge and abilities. These individuals are volunteers, experts, specialists, civil servants, police officers, and soldiers. Resources and equipment have been gathered as well as personnel with expertise in various areas from all over the country, integrating their efforts to save lives.
Not only the Thai people and organizations, people from around the world are taking an interest in this rescue operation. I even saw the news while I was traveling abroad. Many countries have voiced their support and encouragement for Thailand. They understand and believe that all lives are equally valuable.
Our neighbor, Lao PDR, has sent a rescue unit and divers to join the rescues mission. British cave diving experts have rushed to Thailand after contacted by the Thai Government to join the rescue mission. Soldiers and officers from the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) who have expertise in disaster mitigation have arrived in Thailand with life-saving equipment such as real-time remote vital sign detector to this rescue operation.
As the leader of the Thai Government, on behalf of the people, I have the honour express my sincere thanks and appreciation to every individual involved.
My fellow citizens, last week, I have talked about my mission in the United Kingdom and results of meetings and discussions with the private sector.
After the visit to the United Kingdom, my team and I traveled to Paris where I met with the French President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron who offered us a warm and honorable welcome.
I invited France to be Thailand’s development partner in the implementation of the 20-year strategic plan and the ACMECS master plan. Both nations will be partners in the pursuit of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in which Thailand has applied the Royal Sufficiency Economy Philosophy while carrying out its work.
Moreover, I asked the French government to support Thai businesses and students in France and the reviving of negotiation on free trade agreement between Thailand and the European Union.
In return, I told the French President that Thailand is willing to support France’s role in national and regional stability. Thailand and France will act as partners in addressing the problem of climate change under the Paris Agreement.
Later, President Macron and I witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture maintenance and overhaul facility (MRO) at U-Tapao International Airport and the purchase of THEOS II satellite to be used in the exploration of resources and weather forecast.
The old satellite reached the end of its active life. The new one has better technology and can be used for many activities.
A total of 11 MoUs on both public-private sectors were signed during the visit. Both sides are determined to push for active cooperation especially projects in relation with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
The French President also accepted an invitation to visit Thailand in 2019 which is the year Thailand takes on the chairmanship of ASEAN.
Further, I presided over the “Thailand Business Forum” which I stressed the importance of Thai-French relations which have prospered for the past 333 years. We are each other major trading partners in export-import activities, investment, and tourism.
I told French business owners of Thailand’s economic policies including the EEC project which is open to foreign investors who are looking for a production base in Thailand. I was given an opportunity to discuss investment plans with potential investors.
such as Transdev, an international private public transport operator, and Michelin, one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturers, who recently opened a new plant in Songkhla and has vowed to support the Thai tyre industry, in line with the global market demand. This would also promote more domestic development and consumption.
Additionally, I met with VINCI Concessions, a global player in concessions and mega infrastructure construction, who has taken an interest in the investment in project under the Thailand 4.0 policy and the EEC. Another potential investor I came across was SUEZ whose expertise is in water resource management, water treatment, and innovations for sustainability, renewability, and the promotion of circular economy. The company is also interested in investing in Thailand. I assured these companies of the Thai government’s willingness to welcome investments that cater to national development especially in the innovation sector. I also asked them to look ahead in the next 20 years and the Thailand +1 policy which strives to create interconnectivity between regions for better investment opportunities.
My trip to Europe is a success story. We manage to strengthen our strategic partnerships with European nations in terms of politics, stability, and the economy, which will result in the prosperity and better living standards of our people. It also allowed us to closer our diplomatic ties with both countries.
This trip also gave me insights and ideas about development which Thailand could adapt in order to boost our tourism sector. The Thai tourism industry has great potential for growth. On the France trip, I visited a suburban city called “Amiens” which is the birth city of President Macron. The city has renovated its landscape.
It has beautiful water ways. People traveled by electric boats that don’t make loud noise or pollution, which is very soothing. There are trees, flowers, and vegetable gardens as well as activities families can enjoy on weekends. Thailand should follow suit, so that our cities can be more attractive and enchanting.
One thing I truly enjoy about Thailand is the atmosphere and the beautiful landscape. There are many landmarks worth taking photos. Different landmarks give you different views and moods. Other countries may have similar sceneries, but Thailand doesn’t. This is what we stand out against other nations.
We should start building on our identity and uniqueness so as to attain sustainability and generate more income of the country and her people. The community I visited was able to look after itself, so that the country can grow in the long run. The low-income earners including farmers can be part of this too by making their gardens and fields look presentable. Then, appropriate routes can be set.
After returning from Europe, I have already asked the cabinet to inspect canals around Bangkok and other provinces for landscape improvement. We need to beautify our towns so that our country will be beautiful like other civilized and developed nations. They never forget their history. History and culture are the things they build on without having to give up their identities.
My fellow Thais, my visits overseas are to foster links between our friends around the world in all dimensions which is another important policy of the Government, especially in trade, investment, marketing, and promoting seamless connectivity. This will involve technology transfers that will stimulate the economy and improve the wellbeing of the people “indirectly.”
It is in line with the slogan of the EEC project of “Connecting the world for Thailand’s mobility.” The EEC is gaining interest from both Thai and foreign investors because it is considered a new engine for economic growth for the next 20 years.
Another important topic that I want to talk about is preparation and self-development of all people, especially human resources development. This includes the preparation of labor for the manufacturing sector – agriculture – industry – tourism and services.
Most recent good news was that the website Tradingeconomics.com and Indexmundi.com displayed survey results of the unemployment rate of 215 countries around the world. Thailand ranks 4th in having the lowest unemployment rate in the world, just 1.2% of the total population of 67 million people.
This was the result of the Government efforts to maintain unemployment at appropriate levels, encourage Thai people to work and have access to fast and convenient employment opportunities in order to make a living for themselves and their families.
The Government has established employment centers across the country, organized labor meetings, hiring workshops for the elderly, the disabled, and students. It has provided career advice, set up a fund for homeworkers, and provided job search services via the “Smart Job Application.” etc.
I have asked the Ministry of Labor to work with all concerned parties to seriously promote the issue of job procurement in order to solve the problem of unemployment. In particular, undergraduate alumni must find work quickly.
But most importantly, people must not be choosy or deny work. If they are employed year-round, they will be able to develop themselves and earn an income to support their families. The task may be hard during this time but I hope that everyone will find ways to connect and develop their skills.
In addition, the Government has taken into account the current labor situation of the country and has made various preparations for the future, such as,
(1) Preparing the labor force to support the development of national strategies and our transition into an aging society in the next five years.
(2) A “bilateral” education system for vocational students to receive professional training at real workplaces during their studies.
(3) Registering with innovation databases – databases of students that won innovation contests at various levels to bring our innovations to production. These people shall be given opportunities to work in research and development field in both public and private sectors. This would allow them to have a clear career path at the same time it would turn this country from importing innovation to exporting innovation. This is a window to create value added from our creativity.
(4) Estimating the country’s future labor demand to satisfy the manufacturing sector of the country, specifically the 10 targeted industries in the 3 EEC provinces such as aircraft mechanics, repair engineers, and electric train control.
(5) Establishing Thai labor standards and standardized testing of various skills in order to secure higher payment reflecting people real skill. This would encourage self-development of Thai workers. We will not be able to increase our revenue if we remain idle.
(6) Registering foreign workers to organize the employment of foreign workers at various establishments to ensure they are cared for and their basic rights are well protected under the international standard. This includes the provision of health benefits.
(7) Skill Training for the 11 million people who registered for state welfare benefits, including the elderly, the disabled, beggars, and homeless people. During school holidays, jobs have been set up for our youth to earn income.
I am hopeful that our labor sector will play an important role for the Thai economy including the local economy, especially SMEs and start-ups that are linked to business establishments and large factories in the manner of chain value of the overall economy of the country. They must be encouraged to develop themselves systematically. When businesses are legally registered, they will have access to various sources of funds.
My fellow citizens, when talking about fostering our future labor, it is inevitable to look back at students at various educational levels.
A Thai public health survey in 2014 found that the nutritional status of many Thai children are not in accordance to standards. For example, more than 400,000 are short while almost 500,000 people are underweight and almost 700,000 are overweight.
It is therefore necessary that we focus on food management in schools and at home in order to solve the problem of nutrition in children in 4 dimensions: food security, food safety, food quality, and food education by managing food programs through pre planned programs and central kitchens for child development centers. This will be a collaborative effort by many sectors in each community. Parents must also be involved.
For example, supplying raw materials for cooking by purchasing organic produce from people in the community. This provides the opportunity to the community, parents, and relatives of children to participate in caring for children’s’ diet at home and at school.
This includes supporting community markets and agricultural produce in their own communities. I hope that the private sector helps to manage and support each other in maintaining prices, including GAP agricultural products. I ask that people contribute to this cooperation.
Performance outcomes in piloted areas in Surin by the National Health Commission (NIA) and Surin province in implementing the above agenda for the years 2015-2016 resulted in clear and tangible changes.
The children exhibited physical development that meets standards due to receiving nutrition from the 5 food groups. The program has also supported organic farming in the community, providing everyone with better health and products with markets to sell to.
It also eliminates the lack of transparency in the procurement process for school lunch programs and will lead to strengthening the community economy. The lunch program model I had mentioned will also be expanded to other provinces.
Finally, I would like to invite everyone to help dispose of mosquito larvae to reduce the rate of death caused by dengue fever during this rainy season.
From January to June this year, there were 22,500 cases of dengue fever and 29 deaths. Surveys of mosquito larvae in early June discovered dense populations of mosquito larvae in communities, especially among containers at important locations such as hotels, temples, schools, factories, and hospitals.
We must implement measures to prevent diseases carried by mosquitoes. I want everyone to realize this and help prevent the rate of mosquito bites both in adults and children and to destroy mosquito breeding sites based on these 3 principles,
(1) Keep houses clean from mosquito occupation.
(2) Disposing of waste to deprive mosquitos of a breeding ground.
And (3) Close off access to water sources to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. This will help prevent dengue fever and chikungunya fever.
Thank you and good health to you and your family. Sawasdee krub.
Royal Thai Government