From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals January 11, 2019

Good evening to you all.

His Majesty the King has graciously given a Royal message for this year’s National Children’s Day which will be published in the National Children’s Day book “Outside of a Small Window.” The Royal message says, “All children should always seek new knowledge, conduct themselves properly, and have discipline because these attributes lead to prosperity and success.”

I would like to bring to your attention His Majesty’s Royal message so that Thai children can apply it to their everyday activities which are filled with new learning and experiences. Those who can conquer obstacles must have knowledge, integrity, and discipline.

Let me give you one example of a renowned success of Thai youngsters who won the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Contest for 10 years in a row. The winning piece was inspired by the rescue of 13 members of the Wild Boar Academy Chiang Rai Province’s Tham Luang Cave.

Let me state the names of the winners from Trat Polytechnic College in honor of their great success. The team consists of Pannipa Namwichai, Chayotit Suksawat, Thawatchai Sontipin, and Namfon Chancharun. Let me congratulate the young sculptors and their sponsors for beating 54 other teams.

Don’t forget that it doesn’t snow in Thailand and that working in cold weather for an extended period of time requires skills, patience, and team work etc. They won three major awards for Thailand. Their aforementioned characteristics are basic fundamentals required for human resource development.

Today, I have two good stories to share with you. First of all, on Tuesday, January 8th, prior to the weekly cabinet meeting, the Government unveiled the National e-Library program which I hope would enhance the quality of Thai education as well as support the effort to promote lifelong learning.

Throughout my administration, education has always been my top priority. It is one of the thirteen issues needed to be reformed. I have evidence showing that Thai education is problematic with complex issues such as the shortages of educators at small schools and the fact that teachers have to teach classes they are not major in.

The Government has adopted the distance learning television (DLTV) program of His Majesty King Rama IX to address the problem. However, the main issue we have to address here is “inequality” which presents issues in several aspects including statutory measures such as the issuance of Education Equity Fund Act.

Another inequality issue is accessibility to quality educational materials among rural and urban students. Children in border communities and remote provinces are deprived of access to good books. Reading is the most important element for the children to learn. Fortunately, technologies in the Thailand 4.0 era can help fix the problem.

The government has been building telecommunications infrastructure such as the “Internet Pracharat” to help increase access to online information. Today, we have digital books and reading materials ready to be downloaded by children and youth, further reducing the educational gap, thanks to the cooperation between the Ministry of Education, the National Library, and the Digital Government Development Agency. Together, they built the National e-Library to offer e-books and reading materials that can be downloaded for free.

Also, there is an educational archive that allows teachers to better prepare their classes. Books and related documents will be uploaded by state agencies. At this early stage, books from the National Library and the Ministry of Education are made available for children and members of the public.

Other available materials include e-books, e-pictures, audio files, and videos which can be viewed at anytime and anyplace. Once the system is fully functional, there will be more alternatives and millions of copies of reading materials. You can visit the website to download them free of charge.

For this 2019 academic year, the Ministry of Education is developing an e-school and learning materials which every student can download free of charge. In addition, the ministry will rearrange related content from various agencies to make reading materials more appealing and interesting.

A team of online librarians will be formed to do the final check before uploading the contents to the system. Information will be shared between government agencies and educational institutions. The National e-Library will provide e-learning opportunities to both students and educators, in accordance with the Digital Thailand policy.

The National e-Library project will be officially launched on National Children’s Day, this Saturday, January 12th, 2019 at the Ministry of Education. The project is a gift for a brighter future of all children. All boys and girls are invited to get their firsthand experience in this e-learning system. Having access to the system is like having a world of data in your hands.

This past year, this Government launched a family radio channel, FM 105, featuring children’s programs suitable for all ages as well as programs that all family members can enjoy. The channel is progressing well.  I would like to invite all parents dropping their children off and picking them up after school to leave this radio channel on to increase bonding and learning experiences while traveling. This channel should be made available on school buses and school radio to further enhance children’s development, preparing them to strive in today’s environment.

During the weekdays, from 6 to 7 am, there is the “Home Heha” program. Its content promotes thinking and imagination as well as encourages children to express themselves in a constructive manner. The hosts are P’ Namyen and P’ Chalarm.

Another program is called “Home Kid Si.” Aired between 4 and 5 pm, the program improves children’s analytical skills and self-discipline as well as encourages sharing and family bond through games, stories, and music. The program is hosted by P’ Wan and P’ Learm.

And from 5 to 6 pm, there is a program called “On the Way Home.” It improves children’s learning through storytelling and guest interview including readers.

On weekends, as shown on your screen, there are the “Withi Kid” program for all family members to learn about the rules of nature and the coexistence between humans and the environment, the “Home” program which offers a platform for experts to share their knowledge about home maintenance, the “Morning Magazine” program which features news reporting by young children, and the “Vitamin Jai” program offering content about health. These programs provide family members alternatives to spend good time together.

Dear my fellow Thais, the second story would bring joy to all of us. The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has issued a statement to lift the IUU fishing yellow card on Thailand.

These results were the success of all concerned parties that have been committed towards solving problems all along since Thailand got its yellow card in April 2015.

This includes issues of Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, legal frameworks, fishery management, fleet management, monitoring, control, surveillance, and law enforcement.

Thailand was able to prove its responsibilities as a coastal, pier, and market country at the international level until it finally was lifted from the yellow card status.

It is the success of Thailand in raising the level of commercial fishing to international standards and preparing itself for a partnership with the European Union in promoting sustainable fishing.

Both the Thai and EU sides have agreed on a future cooperation plan to make Thailand an IUU-free fishing country.

With the experience of resolving IUU fishing problems that Thailand has accumulated over the past 4 years, Thailand is ready to share its experiences with other countries that have the same problem.

The EU had praised Thailand as a leader in ASEAN in resolving IUU fishing by promoting regional cooperation in the ASEAN region to solve the problem together by establishing a Thai-European Union working group to fight against IUU fishing as a mechanism for cooperation to promote sustainable fisheries.

This year, Thailand, as the Chairman of ASEAN, is able to play a vital role in bringing its neighbors into the fisheries sector reform agenda in the same manner by pushing for the establishment of the ASEAN General Fisheries Policy,including the establishment of an ASEAN working group to prevent and suppress illegal fishing or the ASEAN IUU Task Force as a regional defense mechanism against IUU fishing.

Another issue that can’t be overlooked is tackling the labor sector in the fishing industry. Thailand has placed great importance on this issue alongside the issue of IUU fishing and has taken actions on many fronts to protect workers in the fishing sector. It can be said that, at the moment, the situation of workers in the fishing sector has significantly improved comparing to 4 years ago, as seen in the report of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Thailand was the first country in Asia to ratify the ILO’s Forced Labor Protocol in the past year.

It will also ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Protocol in late January this year, also being the first country in Asia to do so.

So, I would like to assure you that the Government is going to take care of laborers working on fishing boats to ensure that Thai fisheries are ethical and consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

On this occasion, I wish to thank all concerned parties for this success and request all concerned officers to continue their good work so that Thailand would be able to maintain these standards in days to come.

Today, we have reformed the fisheries sector in Thailand, completely different from the past.  We have overcome challenges to a point where it can be said fully that Thailand, as the world’s fourth largest seafood producer and exporter, has become a part of the “Ocean Governance” conduct.

Thailand is ready to share the responsibility with the global community in the preservation of marine resources and fishing practices according to international principles.

From now on, we must continue to move forward in fisheries management and law enforcement to eliminate IUU fishing and to maintain the survival of marine resources for the next generation.

However, our work does not end here. What we still need to continue with includes preventing and solving human trafficking issues, including the use of child labor in the fishing sector as soon as possible.

There are still reports on Thai citizens and Thai boats have been involved in illegal fishing in foreign countries, especially waters in Africa.

Whether the ship bears the flag of Thailand or a foreign flag, the Government will not hesitate to take legal actions against these parties, as exploitative activities can destroy the confidence of global consumers regarding Thai fishing products both, directly and indirectly.  This could send negative impacts to our entire fishing industry and local fishermen.

I would like to thank all fishermen who were involved in solving this problem. At the same time, the Government is working on appropriate measures to increase revenue and to solve problems that affect fishermen and fishing business.

My fellow Thais, I want to say that “It is darkest before dawn” as long as we have hope and encouragement and don’t get discouraged by our obstacles while Tropical Storm Pabuk had left a lot of damage in its wake, it was only physical damage to property, houses, electricity poles, and utilities.

The important thing is preserving the lives of people and making sure that all families are safely together in the shelters so that they can go back and restore their homes and return to their normal lives as soon as possible.

I would like to thank all staff and volunteers who have helped each other take care of people with dedication, sacrifice, and perseverance,  I would also like to thank those who donated money to help the victims, which have amounted to 130 million baht Today, I would like to introduce you the song “In memory” at the end of the program to be a reminder to the Thai people that we have been through many obstacles together.

We must not let those lessons be in vain. We must learn from them and think about what is right what is wrong to prevent history from repeating itself.

Finally, I would like to invite all children to attend the National Children’s Day event tomorrow at the Government House. They will get to see the Prime Minister’s office as an inspiration for public service.

Around the Thai Khu Fah building, there will be fun activities and many prizes like past years.

In addition to the Government House, there are many government offices that have organized Children’s Day events as well, whether it be the Ministry of Education, the Public Relations Department, and the Bank of Thailand Learning Center which offers activities to teach children how to use money properly.

I hope children will gain knowledge through fun activities and enjoy the stage performances and prizes.

There are also venues of interest in several other locations around Bangkok such as The Children’s Museum (in Chatuchak), the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, the Museum of the Thai Red Cross, and the Planetarium etc.

Events in the suburbs include the Sirindhorn Science House and Chaloem Phra Kiat Agricultural Museum in Pathum Thani Province, the Nonthaburi Government Center, Chiang Rak Noi Subdistrict Municipality, Ayutthaya Province, and the ancient city of Samut Prakan Province.

Please also take care of your children during the trips and be mindful of accident. Be sure to write your child’s name, parent’s name, and phone number on a card for the child to keep so that they can be easily assisted if lost. I also recommend encouraging children to remember their personal details before leaving their home.

We have to help each other be ears and eyes, don’t forget to reduce plastic bag use, and teach children to dispose trash appropriately.

Thank you. I wish you all a very happy Children’s day.  I hope all family members will have good quality time together this weekend.

Sawasdee krub.