BANGKOK, April 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Thailand as the ASEAN Chair creates the theme "Advancing Partnership for Sustainability," to promote the "Sustainability of Things (SOT)," which means sustainability in all dimensions.
Sustainable development is a global agenda that requires concerted efforts, and as ASEAN Chair this year, Thailand is in strong position to drive it forward
Sustainable development is an overarching concept that directly relates to SOT, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand states. However, the first aspect of sustainability that usually comes to mind is environmental sustainability, which is a significant component of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development or SDGs. These 17 SDGs are simply grouped into 5Ps with the ultimate goal to save the planet, foster peace, create prosperity, enhance partnership, and nourish the people.
With regard to the 'planet,' fresh air and clean water are among the basic yet fundamental essentials for human beings and all other creatures that share this world with us. Sadly, Mother Earth has been harmed and taken for granted by humans more than anyone else throughout history. The fact that several SDGs give importance to the rehabilitation and conservation of the planet reflects the rising concerns and the call for a more balanced development, widely known as 'circular economy,' which is gaining ground globally.
Thailand recognises that enhancing environmental sustainability is inextricably linked to sustainable social and economic development. Thailand has adopted measures to conserve, restore, and manage its natural resources and environment in a more sustainable manner, and included these elements in the country's 20-Year National Strategy Framework (2017 - 2036).
For instance, Thailand has launched the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Roadmap on Mitigation (2021 - 2030) to ensure that it meets the targets on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20 to 25 % by 2030. Some progress has been made so far. Last year, Thailand managed to reduce the emission of 45.72 million tonnes of carbon dioxide or 12% of the targeted 7 to 20% by 2020. Moreover, about 24 hectares of coral reefs and 880 hectares of mangrove forest were rehabilitated, and the use of over 435 million plastic bags was reduced since 2017.
Sustainable development is a global agenda that requires concerted efforts, and Thailand is in the position to drive it forward this year. In addition to being ASEAN Chair, Thailand is also ASEAN Coordinator on Sustainable Development Cooperation, actively promoting closer coordination between ASEAN and the UN. One substantial outcome is the "Complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: A Framework for Action" which identifies possible synergy to strengthen ASEAN Community-building while attaining several SDGs simultaneously.
A recommendation from the Complementarities Report that will be realized this year is the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue in Thailand. The Centre will be funded by the Royal Thai Government and will link up with similar centres in ASEAN Member States to form a network of regional development efforts.
During its ASEAN Chairmanship, one of the sustainable development agendas that will be addressed is marine environment. Researchers have found a marine debris or "garbage patch" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a size larger than Bangkok. This debris is eaten by fish, which is then consumed by humans, thus causing severe health problems. News reports of whales and turtles suffering from eating indigestible waste are only a fraction of the annual 100,000 deaths of marine animals due to this problem.
A platform for discussions and collaboration to tackle the problem is imperative. A technical working group meeting among ASEAN members was held in November 2017 while the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris and ASEM High-level Meeting on Marine Sustainability were held on 5 March 2019 and 7 - 8 March 2019, respectively. Thus, Thailand is advancing partnership for sustainability by starting with environmental sustainability, and will expand to other areas throughout the year.
The benefits of sustainable development are countless but each country should embark on its own path to achieve the goals. In Thailand's case, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) was adopted as its home-grown approach. This philosophy, conferred by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, proposes a "thinking process" consisting of three parts - analysis on the cause of the problem, identification of practical solutions, and the implementation of the selected solutions.
Thailand has shared this philosophy with many countries as an alternative approach to achieving SDGs through the provision of training courses and the establishment of several cooperation projects in Asia and Africa.
In conclusion, Thailand's commitment towards sustainable development is steadfast as demonstrated in its past achievements and contributions nationally and internationally. Thailand is committed to do more. The agenda will be particularly important during its ASEAN Chairmanship and Thailand looks forward to working with colleagues in ASEAN and beyond in a global partnership as set forth in SDG Goal 17.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tel: +662-203-5000 ext. 22043