From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals July 27, 2018

Good evening to you all.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the 10th monarch of the House of Chakri, has accomplished several royal tasks and duties since given the title “The Crown Prince” or the heir apparent to the throne. Since succeeding to the thorn, His Majesty the King has made the wellbeing of Thai people his priority.

His Majesty the King is determined to “continue, maintain, and augment” his late father’s philosophy and the royal initiative projects for the betterment of Thai citizens and the prosperity and stability of the kingdom.

One of the countless examples of His Majesty’s generosity is that he gave an instruction to turn the Dusit Palace Royal Ground into a concert venue where several musical bands from various organizations took turn to perform and the organization of the “Un Ai Rak Khlay Khwam Nao” (winter festival) in order to commemorate the greatness of Their Majesties King Chulalongkorn and King Bhumibol Adulyadej and educate the public about the history and culture of Thailand since ancient times. Also, His Majesty the King has promoted Thai cultural and traditional values through the organization of the “Thalerngsok Suksant Maha Songkran Tamnan Thai” event and the Annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony. In addition, His Majesty the King has initiated the “Altruistic Heart: We Love Doing Good” campaign, allowing the general public to serve their communities nationwide. The campaign also strives to resolve people’s problems and forge a strong bond between palace officials, royal agencies, governmental agencies, private sector, and people. Concerned about the wellbeing of disaster victims, injured security officers along the borderline, His Majesty the King has ordered his representatives to hand out relief packages and covey his royal massage of well wishes.
His kind act inspires joy and gratitude among soldiers, police officers, and the public. His Majesty the King bestows scholarships upon underprivileged and impoverished children, and asked the privy councilors to follow up on education-related matters to increase people’s potential and to make sure that people have strong fundamentals in life.

Moreover, His Majesty the King has directed responsible agencies to upgrade a long-distance learning system for children in remote provinces, while instructing Rajabhat Universities to produce quality educators to help develop local communities. In terms of religion, His Majesty the King cherishes and respects Buddhism and all other religions in Thailand. He encourages Buddhists to practice Dhamma and pray in religious events, occasions, and the Royal ceremonies to demonstrate our gratitude as well as adhere the principles of goodness, honesty, and virtuousness.
Upon His Majesty the King’s request, books of Phra Phutthamon prayers were printed and handed out to officials and people. The book covers were designed by His Majesty the King himself. Also, His Majesty the King has opened the celebration of Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, in Nong Chok, Bangkok.

Therefore, with our utmost gratitude to His Majesty the King, in celebration of His Majesty the King’s birthday anniversary this July 28th, 2018, the Royal Thai Government invites members of the general public to unite (as one) to show gratitude and loyalty and taking part in the singing of the King’s Anthem “Sadudee Jom Racha” at nationwide candle-lit ceremonies. Long live the King.

My fellow Thai citizens, during the past 4 years, the Government and the NCPO completed several tasks to address long-standing problems, laid down strong foundation for future development, lead the country to go over obstacles and putting it on par with its international counterparts.

We have regained confidence from the international community in many areas such as aviation (ICAO), fishery (IUU), and anti-human trafficking (TIP report).  Lately, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released its Global Innovation Index 2018, moving Thailand up 7 places, from number 51 in 2017 to number 44 this year. A total of 126 countries were surveyed. Thailand has also been viewed as the leader in creative products, high-tech products, and the registration of petty patents. Also, Thailand is ranked among world’s top 20 in high capacity to create innovations.

These are solid evidence of Thailand’s acceptance in the international community and confirm the country’s stance in global arenas, resulting in more connectivity and smooth and strong relations with other nations in all respects. My visits to the United Kingdom and France last month went very well as I’ve mentioned before. And the latest visit to Sri Lanka emphasized strategic and economic partnership between the two sides.  For example the connection between Thailand and Sri Lanka under the ACMECS framework and the connection between the Port of Colombo and the Port of Ranong etc.

To take advantage of this opportunity, the Government of Thailand has set up committees to promote trade and investment with our international friends.  The committee will convey the matter to all concerned ministries to follow up to reach our mutual goal.

My visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan was to tighten diplomatic relations and bilateral cooperation in all respects especially in trade and investment, tourism, public health, and national development in accordance with the sufficiency economy philosophy. Most importantly, both nations shall have close relations at royal, government, and people levels.

My cabinet and I were graciously granted an audience with His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck at Tashichho Palace.

Both nations also share similar Buddhist, social, and cultural values. Also, both countries’ monarchs are in the heart of their peoples. Major areas of cooperation are in the areas of technical development, public health, and human resource development.

Bhutan sees Thailand as an example for the country development, especially the sufficiency economy philosophy which coincides with the Gross National Happiness (GNH) of Bhutan. Major cooperation projects between the two sides include the youth and child development project under the patronage of HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the “One Gewog One Product” project of Bhutan, and the model agricultural learning center program in response to the wishes of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Punakha. The learning center project adopts the new agricultural theory and the sufficiency economy philosophy in irrigation and water management.

Both nations have also agreed tourism sector has great potentials for both nations.  Both nations therefore will continue to work together in this area of cooperation for concrete and tangible results. Also, we are going to focus on increasing two-way trade through meetings of the Thailand-Bhutan joint trade committee (JTC).  JTC is one of the key mechanisms for the success of our cooperation in this area.

My fellow Thai citizens, as for the cabinet’s visit earlier this week to the lower northeastern region or the “Ratchathanicharoensisothon” group which consists of Ubon Ratchathani, Amnat Charoen, Sisaket, and Yasothon provinces, it was one of the administration’s responsibilities to follow up on and assess the implementation of policies and projects and listen to people in the areas. The cabinet and I would like to thank members of the public, government officials, the private sector, and local agencies for the warm welcome.

One thing about these provinces that surprises me is that although the Mekong River, Chi River, and Mun River supply water to the agricultural sectors all year round, providing numerous products particularly the certified organic products, processed agricultural products, and herbal products, the region’s gross product per capita is the lowest in the country. Moreover, the region is situated near the borderline and has several border crossings and 9 border checkpoints, along with a number of great natural and cultural attractions. This could be because of the region has not yet reach its full potential.  Past development projects didn’t really reach the area. No long-term plan.  The cabinet’s recent visit allowed us to see people’s problems first hand.

Proposals and ideas submitted for approval will be endorsed in a timely manner should they comply with the national strategic plan such as logistics development – road, rail, and air – as well as tourism, border connectivity, agricultural development, flood management, production enhancement and agro-value creation, and the improvement of living standards through improved services at Sapphasitthiprasong Hospital and the Phana Thai Traditional Medicine Center. These projects and aims will enable lower northeastern provinces to achieve their strategic goals of becoming a hub for agro-processing and organic farming, quality tourism, and internationally-standardized border trade.

The “first step to success” from the Cabinet meeting was that we have seen the success of the promotion of Thai herbs according to the Thailand 4.0 policy, which aims to raise the standards of herbal medicine production according to the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines.

As a result, the Thai herbal market has grown quickly to the point where it can export herbs and extracts at a value more than 1 billion baht per year. It is expected that by 2021, we will be able to create more than 56.9 billion baht in value. Herbalism will be an alternative occupation for farmers in the future.

In addition, the Cabinet has also agreed to push for legislation related to encouraging people to grow high value perennial trees in proprietary land as a form of saving and economic value creation.

The principles of the bill define up to 58 species of trees that have economic value such as teak, Siamese rosewood, dalbergia oliveri, xylia xylocarpa, Taengwood, etc., which are categorized as business assets and can be accepted as collateral. With this regulation in place, the country will see more trees and the public will have valuable possessions.

My fellow Thai citizens, In the development of human resources – families – and community, which is the “foundation” of the society to be strong, it is important and necessary that we continue our efforts to reduce the disparities of society and increase access to state services in order to improve the quality of life of the people in all target groups, especially children, the youth, women, families, the elderly, the disabled, and the underprivileged, in order for them to have a stable life with equal value and human dignity in society.

The Government, via the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, will hold the “Thailand Social Expo 2018” event on August 3-5 at Hall 5-8 at IMPACT Arena Exhibition and Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi Province.

This is the result of social organizations by integrating the efforts of more than 80 units in accordance with the Pracharat model along with the principles of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. It is considered the first event in the area of social development and a preparation for Thailand to take up the chairmanship of ASEAN next year.

My fellow Thai citizens, an issue I want to inform you today is waste management, which is the responsibility of the Department of Local Administration (DLA) to implement according to the laws pertaining the establishment of all forms of local government organizations such as the 1953 Municipal Act and, the amended 1994 Tambon Council and Tambon Administrative Authority Act, the amended Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Act, and the Pattaya City Administrative Organization Act.

The Ministry of Interior has the duty to promote, support, and supervise the Department of Local Administration (DLA) as stipulated by law without imposing its will by force. Meanwhile, other agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Public Health will just set standards, guidelines and suggestions for the DLA to implement within parameters with quality and efficiency, as the DLA is a legal entity. Past law enforcement has not completely covered all issues in waste management. Therefore, amendments have been made to the 2017 Act on the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country (2nd amendment) to cover issues other than garbage collection and disposal.

For example, encouraging people to participate in waste management under the principle of 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle).  The business of utilization of waste management by the private sector.  This includes private sector participation in waste management, as well as mechanisms that promote cooperation in waste management. As for the misunderstanding that the Government or the Ministry of Interior will take over the waste management process, especially in terms of allowing the private sector to take over operations, the Act on the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country has allowed for participation of the private sector, and exempted from compliance with the law governing joint ventures with state-owned enterprises.

To ensure stable and sustainable operation of the private sector, the law takes into account the law governing private participation in public affairs. The said law, including the relevant announcements, stipulates the preliminary criteria for considering the feasibility of projects while the authorization power belongs to the related ministers.

Therefore, the announcement of the Ministry of Interior on solid waste management 2017 was issued under the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country Act.  The Act stipulates that the Minister of Interior or those assigned by the Minister shall be the one who can approve the project’s principle, allowing the private entity to be able to operate/co-operate in waste management. This is the same principle as the law governing private participation in public affairs.  Therefore, this is not the case where any individual shall be benefited in particular. After the Minister of Interior has given its approval, the DLA will select a private entity under the mechanism provided by the Procurement and Public Warehouse Management Act.

As for waste management for electricity generation, we have several ways to get rid of waste. But nowadays, landfilling is often used, which is not the most effective form of waste management because there are still numerous residues and it takes a long time to decompose. Burning to reduce the amount of waste is an effective form of waste management that produces energy that can be used in the production of electricity. It is therefore the most beneficial method.

This method has been included in the waste and hazardous material management roadmap, as well as the country’s master plan for waste management of 2016-2021.
Selling electricity to the country’s power system is the authority of the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission which has stipulated quotas and rates for purchasing electricity from junk fuel as a type of alternative energy.
This will be a factor in promoting private entities participation in the country’s waste management efforts.
However, what is always seen is when a waste disposal project occurs, there will be resistance from the public. In this case, the Cabinet has agreed in principle that waste must be eliminated at its origin in order to promote shared responsibility in the area.

To comply with such principles, the Government has made exceptions in two key areas,
1. Exempting the compliance of urban plans to facilitate the construction of waste facilities in green space, as waste disposal sites need to remain appropriately far from communities. However, there must be strict operational controls to prevent pollutions or nuisance to the surrounding environment.
And 2. Implementing codes of practice to exempt projects where an environmental impact assessment report is required so that thermal power plants using waste as fuel can be implemented quickly and effectively.  However, there are still environmental impact control measures in place.
These two conditions are principles for common practice and are not designed to benefit anyone in particular.
However, areas for establishing power plants must be suitable for construction and support adequate waste volume, which means they can’t be built everywhere. There must be appropriate distinctions between waste separation and power plants.
We all understand that waste management is an agenda that cannot wait. We are accumulating garbage every day at an ever-increasing rate due to economic growth and tourism.
Therefore, failure to quickly address the problem of solid waste in an effective and lasting manner will result in an increasing crisis that will become difficult to manage.
Finally, if you think about it, part of what enabled the Moo Pa football players to survive such a terrible crisis was their athleticism and strong body and mind. So I want to invite all Thais to exercise more as a routine.
Not only would it help relieve you from diseases and medical costs, it also cultivates sportsmanship and sound decision making under presser.
Running doesn’t require much financial investment. You will also gain good merit during charity runs such as the HRH Princess Chulabhorn College of Medical Science Charity Run to raise money to help cancer patients across the country according to the Royal initiative of Professor and Doctor Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn who wishes to provide people with good health and quality standards. In particular, enabling the poor in remote areas to gain access to public health care with expert doctors and modern technology for  equal and quality treatment.
People can join this charity run on Sunday, November 25 this year or provide your support through donations at various channels as displayed on the screen, starting today.

My fellow Thai citizens, tomorrow’s installment of Thailand Moves Forward “Every Saturday, We Reform,” will be presented in a new format that focuses on creating awareness, understanding, and cooperation in order to “build Thailand together.” I would like everyone to stay tuned for the new show, just like in the evening, the government and the NCPO will be providing useful content for everyone.
Thank you, and I hope that everyone takes care of their health and I wish all families a safe and joyful long weekend. Sawasdee Krub.

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