From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals August 10, 2018

Good evening you all.

As a Queen, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Ninth Reign, accompanied His Majesty King Rama IX everywhere to support all of the royal duties tirelessly.  Also, as a mother, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is a noble and honorable mother who teaches her children about the importance of their royal duties and contributions to the nation and her people.

As “Mother of the Land,” Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has demonstrated perseverance, commitment, and determination though her royal duties to ensure that people can make an honest living and the nation remains stable and united. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has always adhered to the principles and philosophies of His Majesty King Rama IX.

For example, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit gives a lot of weight to villages and communities development as they are home to food production and agricultural activities for the whole nation.  Her Majesty Queen Sirikit also emphasizes the importance of the mind as it is a key to happiness, peace, and sustainable development.

Moreover, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit gives a lot of weight to the provision of equal opportunities for development and participation without any discrimination of race or religion. His Majesty the King is determined to carry on, maintain, and continue the principles and philosophies of His Majesty King Rama IX for the continued prosperity of all Thai people.

On the auspicious occasion of the Royal birthday anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Royal Thai Government would like to invite everyone to join in the celebration in order to show our love and loyalty by flying the Thai and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit flags as well as displaying the Royal image of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit at your home and offices. There will be places for you to write your well wishes message at throughout the month of August.

On Sunday, August 12th, at 7 pm, members of the public are invited to take part in nationwide candle-lit ceremonies and the chanting of the royal anthem. We all should be grateful for the contributions and efforts Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has made to improve the lives of Thai people.

Her Majesty’s royal contributions resulted in job creation and extra income generation through the Support Project and the Support Foundation. Also, Her Majesty’s royal efforts led to the passing of local wisdom to Thai and foreign tourists. Her Majesty is a beacon to all of us, lighting the way forward for the development of our economies in all regions.

In this regard, the Royal Thai Government, led by the Ministry of Interior, mobilizes the “One Tambon One Product” project. The project is in line with the work of the Support Project initiated by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. An OTOP fair will be held in honor of Her Majesty between August 11th and 19th at Challenger Halls 1-3, IMPACT Muangthong Thani.

And in celebration of this year’s Mother’s Day, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, has given the country a motto “Once people are united, we will be able to solve every problem. Our united strength and wisdom will lead the country past all adversities.” I think this motto reflects reality.

As we have just proved to the world, the power of our ‘unity’ in collaboration with foreign rescuers in bringing members of the Wild Boar Academy football team out of Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province. Knowledge, love, and unity are always keys to success. A good example is the “Altruistic Heart: We Love Doing Good with our heart program” initiated by His Majesty the King.

The campaign unites volunteers including youth and the general public to engage in constructive public activities to solve social problems such as flooding in residential areas and communities, traffic congestion, and so on.

Today, build on His Majesty the King’s royal initiative, I have seen several many activities and campaigns launched in the form of Pracharat. Thailand is ranked number 6 out of 100 countries for worst waste management. This is a serious issue. Each year, there are many kinds of waste that are destroying our environment such as foam containers (138 million containers a day), tissue paper (almost 4 million tons a year), plastic bags (5.3 billion tons a year), plastic bottles (3.8 billion bottles a year), and plastic straws (500 million straws a day), on top of other kinds of waste – combustible, non-combustible and toxic – which come from local communities and Thai and foreign tourists.

Therefore, to promote all parties’ participation in waste management and the reduction of the use of plastic, the government, the private sector, and the general public are working together on an environmentally-friendly campaign called “Thai Tourism, No Waste, No Mess” which aims to raise the awareness and encourage travelers to take part in the preservation of natural resources and environment as well as waste reduction in tourist attraction areas. The campaign underlines ‘responsible tourism,’ the concept of which can be followed with a guideline to stop using single-use plastic materials and turn to cloth bags, reusable water bottles, paper food containers, eco-friendly straws or reusable straws, and handkerchiefs etc.

Moreover, we have a joint project between government agencies, the private sector, and the public to manage waste and plastic in sustainable fashion. Many agencies are getting involved such as Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Interior. I have reiterated that all state agencies must reduce these wastes as much as they can.  Evaluation on plastic waste reduction will be carried out at all government agencies.

The Government is focusing on raising public awareness on the impact of waste and plastic, so that we all can change the course. It may not be as convenient as before. Another important task is the separation of organic waste from the rest. I ask that every household to kindly separate waste properly for better waste management. There are more challenges in the area of waste pickup.

The responsibility of waste sorting falls under many agencies despite limited budget. Everyone needs to contribute to the effort. Waste sorting should start at home. We cannot put the blame on anyone else. If we separate waste, concerned agencies will be able to manage it better. They might be able to make it useful. This includes the improvement of the standard of waste recycling businesses.

I believe that our campaign to protect the environment by reducing waste is in line with the global trend and is exactly what the country needs. There is a group of people called “Trash Hero” or the protectors of the environment, trying to raise youth’s awareness of waste problems in their communities, beaches, public areas, restaurants, businesses, and so on.

There is an organization that accepts donations like gloves, trash bags, food, and refreshments from local businesses. Waste from businesses makes up for the large proportion of the total waste.  I would like businesses to find a way to form a cooperation and mechanism between service providers and service receivers on this matter in order to dispose and reduce the waste to the size that they are manageable.

A large number of young volunteers have spent time and effort with the waste disposal campaign. The campaign is known around the world including Thailand. I want our country’s image to be better when it comes to waste management.

There are 100,000 people joined the campaign.  The group was able to dispose almost 600,000 kilograms of waste. If 60 million people joined, how much waste would we be able to dispose? If more people join, we can do more about this problem. I’d like to offer my thanks and support to all volunteers. I don’t want to see it come down to law enforcement or punishment. Let’s work this out together for our own communities.  I believe that this kind of activity is one of many activities that will instill goodness in people in other areas for the sake of our nation and the global community.

On the Government part, in relation to addressing environmental issues especially plastic waste, I would like you all to carefully think about the following question. Can enforcing the law alone resolve this problem sustainably?

I believe we all know that a sustainable solution requires cooperation from the public, the private sectors, and the entrepreneurs. We also need to keep a lookout for illegal activities such as the imports of toxic and electronic waste which is an urgent matter and littering on streets and walkways. Those who conduct such a shameful act are irresponsible.

Putting waste outside the designated dumpsites is another thing that we have to work on. Sometimes, there are not enough containers for waste. People, then, leave their trash outside containers.  Officials must provide enough containers. As of now, we are unable to collect waste on separate days or different types of waste. If households separate them, collectors will be able to better manage waste. Leaving everything to the collectors might be too much of a burden. Please don’t leave your trash outside designated areas. This is very important.

The concept is to dispose waste from where it originates, thus we need to build 300 waste treatment plants throughout the nation. There are a total of 77 provinces including the capital city. These provinces are divided into clusters where 300 waste treatment plants will be situated. These plants are in different locations because only then can we lower the transportation cost. It wouldn’t be worthwhile for the investors if they had to move waste from one site to another. Moving waste can be messy at times.

Obligated by law, local communities will be responsible for waste management. Please follow all concerned laws and regulations when setting up new thing. The Government is not doing this for individual’s benefits. There is a law that has to be followed. Responsible agencies must work hand in hand to address the issue. All projects and undertakings must be authorized, transparent, and traceable, as I mentioned two weeks ago.

My fellow Thai citizens, the management of water resources is centered on the integration of plans, projects, budget plans, tools, and all systems for synchronization, aiming to effectively deal with water scarcity and flooding.

We cannot use drain all fresh water to the ocean without considering our future needs. If the rains don’t fall or fall outside of retention areas, we will suffer drought, hence we need to precisely calculate the amount of water needed for the production sector and the economy as well as for public consumption while taking heed of the weather forecast. We have to constantly be on a lookout, so that we know exactly what to do.

For the past 3 years, water management has been very effective. Flooding has been less severe and much shorter than before. The aim is to mitigate as much impact as we can on the public.

The water situations in the north and the central plain have tremendously improved thanks to several measures such as turning 12 fields in the central region into water retention areas and promote fish farming as opposed to rice farming in times of flood.

As for the northeastern region, the water level in the Mekong River has declined but the situation in Nam Un Dam is still critical as the draining continues. Too much water being drained will result in flooding in nearby communities. We need time to prepare and to evacuate people and animals. We need emergency and response plans before providing rehabilitation, assistance, and compensation for the public, local producers, and those in need.

As for the western region, water levels in Kaeng Krachan Dam and Vajiralongkorn Dam are still worrisome. Water levels are still high. While keeping an eye on the situation, we are preparing measures which involve members of the public. Water in both reservoirs are being drained into the ocean but will be maintained at certain amounts for future use.

The amount of water in Kaeng Krachan Dam had increased, despite the fact that we had already drained out 42% of the water prior to this. But the rainfall on August 5th at the rate of 100 millimeters per hour added a tremendous amount of water to the reservoir.

There is no way to defy nature. All we can do is embrace and prepare. There will be some inundation because more water has to be drained out in case there are more rains. This is the fact that everyone has to understand and embrace. The Government will do its best to minimize the impact.

As for rehabilitation and compensation, we have to care for farmers and fishermen as well as affected farms and houses. The Government already has such measures in place. We have more experiences on this matter since the 2011 flood. Today, we are better equipped to manage water. There has been more unified effort and cooperation as responsible agencies are working as a single organ.

Moreover, we have built flood barriers in low-lying areas to prevent flooding. However, it all depends on the amount of precipitation. Preparations are still needed. Also, we have enlarged Phetchaburi River and constructed the D9 drainage canal. Today, we’re capable of managing water at a certain level. There are 1-2 more drainage routes to work on.

If our works are completed, we would be able to drain more water and divert more water away from residential areas and communities while keeping water in the reservoir at a safe level. I’d like to ask owners of empty land to build dams, reservoirs, water retention areas, or drainage passages that lead to the ocean.

Every region needs more reservoirs and draining routes. Flood waters in the west and the east must quickly flow into the ocean or other places away from communities, urban areas, economic zones, hospitals, and away from roads. There have to be alternate routes. We have been able to get things done at a certain level as a result of our 4-year water management efforts.

Some activities have yet to complete while some haven’t received an approval or been publicly discussed. For instance, 50 kilometers of a drainage canal has already finished, and the remaining 3-4 kilometers ran into an obstacle.

The concept is the same as building a new railway, a dual track, or a road. All tracks and roads have to be seamlessly connected to be able to bypass the traffic. We don’t want to go up to the upper level road just to come down in order to go up to another one.  It creates traffic congestion. I have instructed the Ministry of Transport and related agencies including the Expressway Authority and the Department of Highways to find solutions to traffic congestion. We don’t need bypasses that are not systemically connected since going up and down the upper and lower level roads can cause traffic jam in both at both levels including on the express ways. We have to focus on this issue.

At present, an ad hoc center has been set up to deal with the water situation. The center’s job is to provide information, make predictions, and prepare measures accordingly so that the country can manage disasters of all degrees of severity as well as send out warnings to risk areas.

As for preparation and evacuation, in some cases, local communities led by village headsmen and chiefs have to make their own decisions before the flood comes. It might be too late if you waited for other agencies to reach out to you. Every detail matters.  We must work together to take care of people and to drain out water. We have install pumps and water propeller machines in affected areas.

The aforesaid machines were installed in Petchaburi province and other flood-prone areas including the northeastern region from which floodwaters are diverted into the Mekong River. Pumping machines are utilized when the draining is sluggish. We also have to keep an eye on the ocean tides. It rises and drops in a day.

We cannot drain floodwaters into the ocean during the high tide. We can do it during the low tide. Water will more or less affect nearby communities. Local agencies have prepared vehicles for evacuation, machinery, and backhoes in case there is a need for digging and dredging. Our goal is to minimize the impact in urban cities by delaying water, diverting water, releasing water from dams, and monitoring the sea level.

Water diversion helps streamline irrigation on both sides of the D9 waterway in Petchaburi province. I’ve already talked about readying equipment and emergency plans in case there are more monsoon(s) and rain shower(s) during 10-15 August.

Nations around us were hit too. Thailand lends a hand to all of our neighbors as they suffer the same faith as us. However, our disasters are less severe than those of other countries. Thailand is situated on a golden land where people can grow crops. However, there are a lot of low-lying areas and flood-prone locations.

When the rain comes, it all depends on our management to maximize our benefits and minimize damages. We must have plans in place for evacuation and other undertakings. All risk areas and communities should be aware of the situation and be ready to move out of your areas and into a safe location. Don’t wait for an official instruction.

Local people are the ones who should know best. If it has been raining for 3 straight days and your home is at the foot of a mountain, there’s chance that things might get bad therefore you should be prepared. You have to protect yourselves as opposed to relying on others. The Government will assist as much as it can throughout the whole process i.e. before, during, and post-disasters while continuously communicating with the public.

In this regard, please take care of the plumbing and water for consumption. Sometimes when it floods, plumbing systems will become offline as well as electricity. Sometimes preparations need to be made such as reading candles or lamps. However, we must careful not to cause fires.

We must also be mindful of communication during outages. When the phones don’t work, we must figure out what we can do. This includes when broadcast systems are inoperable, we must consider how we can communicate via AM and FM radio. When there are evacuations, who will look after the homes and stay at the shelters? We must be able to figure these things out in order to solve the problem.

In the past, before I visited Petchaburi, there had been over exaggerated information, whether intentionally or through misunderstandings. For example, news about water drainage through spillways had caused panic to the point where many tours had canceled their travel plans along Cha-am – Hua In, resulting in economic damage to the area.

People were therefore upset over something that wasn’t true. There are other activities in the province as well that were affected even though the situation occurred in certain areas. We must inform people of the exact whereabouts of flooding and areas that are prone to risk. We must also identify areas that are still of normal conditions so that tourists can still visit these areas and provide businesses with income.

The residents of Petchaburi have urged me to address this. This issue applies to other provinces as well as we are relying on community tourism in order to drive the country’s tourism industry. I ask that you place your confidence in the Government’s management of the situation. We all realize that business is slow during the rainy season, so please don’t slow things down even more. I asked all media outlets to please check their facts. I’m not criticizing, but am providing suggestions on how to move forward.

The National Legislative Assembly is in the process of deliberating the Rice Act. It is determining who will oversee the rice industry, including farmers and merchants because they are all within the same value chain and therefore fall under the same jurisdiction. This includes the production, processing, and marketing phases where we must examine whether existing mechanisms are sufficient. We currently have systemic mechanisms to oversee this industry. I just would like to inform you that we have a rice board that establishes the country’s strategy on rice, existing support for research on rice strains, transference of knowledge and technology, including annual output management plans. Most importantly, in relation to production, we register rice planting activity in all provinces so that the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives have all concerned information.

This is called Big Data.  It will help integrated management to bring about a comprehensive rice production plan. There are committees from the Government such as the Ministry of Commerce and from the private sector such as farmers’ representatives and rice mill associations that come together to discuss plans for production up until marketing.

Discussions begin with defining supply and demand, production time windows which can stagger throughout the production phases to coincide with water management, otherwise it will be problematic if output is concentrated during one period.

Today, the price of rice has already increased. If we plant rice all at the same time, we will not be able to sell all of our supply and the prices will drop. During this time of higher rice output, I ask that we monitor the situation closely. You will see that various agricultural activities such as fishing, rice planting, rubber farming, fruit planting, are fetching decent prices. This is because we have been able to control production output. When there is an oversupply, it will be difficult to be competitive and exporting will become problematic.

Today, rice production is managed through the rice policy and management committee, chaired by the Prime Minister. There have also been revisions to the guidelines of the committee to introduce more stringent measures throughout the production phases, to add value and promote innovation in rice, and to assess domestic and international demand in order to draft our rice planting strategy.

Today there are various policies, frameworks, and systematic measures through integrated efforts between concerned agencies such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Commerce, Bank of Agriculture and agricultural cooperatives, rice exporter representatives, as well as academics.

These people take part in the rice policy committee to draft measures to support and assist farmers, mills, traders, and exporters, and discuss ways to increase production, reduce costs and support rice breeds in order to create an effective rice management system.

Therefore, the need to have rice act as well as its redundancies and benefits, will be further discussed.  Public opinions from concerned stakeholders are also required to consider whether the rice act is comprehensive or not. We must consider this act with comprehensive principles and reasoning, taking into consideration all phases of production.

I stress that we must take care of the beginning phase of production that includes rice farmers and examine demand and supply in order to increase people’s income.

Regarding investments in the country’s infrastructure, I am pleased to inform you that the World Bank has announced its 2018 Logistics Performance Index, ranking Thailand 32nd out of 160 countries, an improvement by 13 places. We have laid out an infrastructural plan where some programs have been acted upon while some are still in the preparation phases and some are ideas for the future. The World Bank has increased our ranking by 13 places because they have seen our level of progress.

Thailand ranks 2nd in ASEAN and 7th in Asia. In terms of being 2nd in ASEAN, we must compare the landmass between us and the country ranked at the top. We did not attain our ranking easily. It was the result of successful strategic management and commitment by all related parties.

In the past two years, we have mobilized projects and allocated investments in transportation infrastructure to the point where we have seen progress and an outline of the future. We are going to have dual track and high-speed railways, including routes that have previously not had any railway tracks. We have plans for more sea ports and airports expansion. All these projects were considered in the ranking assessment.

This shows that what we are doing and planning for the future receive positive response. However, I would like everyone to understand that these projects require not only planning and funding, these projects must be in compliance with concerned laws and regulations as well as global economic conditions. In addition, the public must approve of these projects, because almost all of these routes were on private property.

We are not negligence and must take into consideration the balance between material prosperity and mild development. The Government is concerned about various investments that may involve complicated numbers.

However, we have rules, regulations, and laws that prevent us from incurring public debt over 60% according to the State Financial and Fiscal Discipline Act of 2018

Various investments must be funded by the Government, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) or by the private sector. The Government alone will not be able to invest in all projects. Today, we must have a clearer picture. We must define rules on land utilization for other activities for the benefit of the state, the public, and joint investors.

If we do not act this way, there will be no long-term returns for the state and the situation will worsen and the public will not receive adequate services from the Government. We do not wish to benefit only investors as some people claimed. There are various forms of auctions and concessions. There are new developments being made but many are still skeptical and weary of corruption and lawbreaking. There are agencies responsible for these issues for projects such as investments in the EEC and other industrial areas.

In reality, we cannot avoid investments from investors in a free-market world. Furthermore, the Government should not bear as many burdens as before. There are already numerous welfare projects that the Government is responsible for. If the Government does not make further investments to generate more income, it will not be able to come up with adequate budget.

Therefore, matters that do not produce revenue and do not fit the needs of the people must be revised. These are principles that we have adopted from other countries in order to reduce the Government’s financial burdens.

Returns from the first stage of these projects must help solve preliminary problems.  It is hard to see profits at this stage.  With these endeavors, we must figure out how to ensure that businesses have working capital to pay off their debts. If we do not trust each other, there will be no progress and motivation for investment.

An important note is that the state still has ownership over everything. As time passes, everything would return to the state. No matter what form of investment it is, the Government must be benefited and the public must be able to utilize the services.  This is to ensure that the Government is able to provide the public with access to state welfare services as we are becoming an aging society.

As for addressing traffic congestion in Bangkok, we must implement a system-wide approach that includes electric trains and buses. Outside of Bangkok, we must increase train routes, roads, airports, and piers that connect land, water, and air transportation.

We must create an integrated network including network connecting points. This requires time and money in order to achieve. However, the problems that commuters and investors face are not easily addressed and must be continually addressed by all governments, especially during times of construction. Now, we are building these infrastructures especially in urban areas causing traffic jams on many roads. The Government is trying to resolve the situation.  We are building seamless connectivity networks, not a piece mill project where people have to drive up on an elevated road just to come down to enter another one.  The road networks must all be connected so people do not have get off and re-enter the road network and spend money making multiple connections. Please be patient in the meantime for more convenience in the future.

Today, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is working with related agencies to relieve traffic congestion in the capital. I have called for various parking lots near train stations but not many have been created. Businesses and shopping malls must take into account adequate parking. If there is insufficient parking, people will be forced to park on the streets which will result in more traffic jams.

Other important matters are reforms to education, the police system, and state administration according to the 6 agendas in the country’s strategic national plan. We must establish blueprints for reform in various stages, spanning 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 years – to draw a picture of what will happen in the future, how projects will be, how roads, communities, and urban areas will look like.

We must look further into the future and start walking step by step to attain our goals. This is blueprint. Reforms are included in this blueprint. Everything must share the same goal which then leads to concerted budget spending by related agencies. The Government is doing its best to resolve budgetary constraints between agencies.

There are numerous existing laws that require amendments. The laws of many ministries have gone unamended. What we do today is not meant to preserve the power of the Government, but to preserve the power of the people in voting for Members of Parliament who will later form government.

I allow for what can be done to be undertaken, unless if you do not wish to change or improve yourselves. I don’t want any distortion as it can lead us to the point where we cannot initiate anything. In order to move forward, we must all be able to make the first step, otherwise we would fall down.

Healthy democracy is our goal, an election is one of the processes that is important although it is not the answer to everything, as people have expressed in their responses to the 10 questions that I had asked a while back.

However, in order to ensure that the upcoming election is transparent and fair, we must raise awareness and promote public participation from all sides i.e. political parties, politicians, and people who believed that Thailand must undergo change.

Today, I have seen many individuals are moving around from one group to another. It is their own choice if they think that switching groups will result in more cooperation in getting things done. I think that in the future, the new government has to follow numerous laws and regulations. It is no longer ‘business as usual’. Instead, good morals and deep insights and understanding must continuously be instilled.

What we can do today to be prepare to use our voting right. Also, we must know how to utilize our rights and what different can we make. We must help maintain laws and orders and make sure that no one is violating the laws in relation to elections and be intolerant to vote-buying activities.

If people show up to vote but refuse to vote for anyone what will happen. Or if people in the rural area cast their vote and people in Bangkok refuse to vote because they dislike politics, everything will be the same. People must come together to move the country forward.

Today, we must make preparations to accommodate those who will come to positions in the future. I myself must cooperate by casting my vote. I wish for a government with good governance to come to govern the country strategically.

Finally, although I am trying to communicate with the public whenever I can, whether it be during this show, or through interviews, I wish to provide clarity and accuracy. However, there still information that is distorted or misinterpreted.  This happens from time to time.
I would like to stress that credible channel of communication are the Government and the NCPO, so please place your trust in this content.

Examples include the Line page @realnewsthai by the Public Relations Department, the “Thai Niyom Hotline” by the Office of the Prime Minister, the “Thai Khu Fah” page by the Spokesperson’s office, including GNEWS by the Digital Government Agency. These channels are the result of systematic integration of information that is supported by data, principles, and laws.

There is also the “Moving Thailand Forward” show by the NCPO and other collaborations by other channels. Please don’t be tired of these shows because we are now shaping the country and constructing our future. I have called for channels to adjust their content to suit the needs of the people.

This Saturday, we will focus on national reform and feature artists and celebrities who will co-hosting the show. I would like to invite everyone to build this nation together. I would like to thank everyone who has engaged in public services and help better the nation.

Tomorrow Nadech Kugimiya will talk about the issue of unofficial debt, in which the Government has made much progress. This is an issue that has long troubled many.

Thank you and I hope that everyone takes care of their health and that all families are happy. Sawasdee Krub.


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