PM Srettha Thavisin delivered the statement at the UNGA78 General Debate on Friday. Credit: ThaiGov

Key development statements by Thai PM at UNGA 78

The new Prime Minister, Mr. Srettha Thavisin, has made a few key statements on behalf of the country concerning sustainable development and climate action during the week during his attendance at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in New York under the theme, “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and the sustainability for all.” Here is what he has addressed in the statements

PM Srettha Thavisin delivered the statement at the UNGA78 General Debate on Friday.
Credit: ThaiGov

The statement on September 22 at the General Debate of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, on behalf of the delegation of the Kingdom of Thailand, allow me to congratulate you, Mr. President, upon your election to preside over the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session.

Thailand has marked a new chapter in our democracy. I have only assumed office a few days ago, with the mandate of the people, to strengthen democratic institutions and values in Thailand, and to uplift the well-being of the Thai people, who have been through difficult times over the past several years.

In our foreign relations, we will play a proactive and constructive role in partnership with the international community. My government will also be reaching out to friends and partners all around the world to forge closer ties of partnership through commerce, investment and trade agreements.

Today, we meet at a time of multiple global challenges, including fragile global peace, declining human development and the sustainability of our planet. These challenges require multilateralism and the spirit of international cooperation, and Thailand intends to work closely with all nations to meet these challenges head on.

Mr. President, it is in the pursuit of peace that the United Nations was founded almost eight decades ago. Now more than ever, we must continue to lay a strong foundation for the prosperity of our people by striving for sustainable peace.

In this regard, Thailand welcomes the Secretary-General’s efforts in establishing a New Agenda for Peace. We believe that this will spearhead the effort to revive multilateralism and enhance the UN’s role as a platform for the achievement of global peace.

Thailand’s vision for effective multilateralism is one that is inclusive, resilient and result-oriented. In a world of increasing international conflicts, violence and shifting global order, we reaffirm our commitment to maintaining peace and inclusivity.

Thailand will pursue peaceful and collaborative relations with all members of the international community. We believe that long lasting peace can be achieved if we can strengthen our multi-lateral relations that is based on mutual trust, understanding and respect.

Mr. President, sustainable peace and development are linked with respect for human rights, human dignity and freedoms. To this end, the Thai Government is working to advance equality and justice, especially for the most vulnerable and the marginalized.

We plan to strengthen the rule of law and increase transparency within the government. We will ensure that the law is fair, strictly enforced and applied to everyone equally. Thailand is the ASEAN candidate for the Human Rights Council for the term 2025-2027. This reaffirms our sincere commitment to the advancement of human rights at home and abroad. We will ensure that the Human Rights Council is well-equipped to address new and emerging human rights challenges and contribute positively to the international community.

Since its inception in 2002, Thailand’s Universal Health Coverage has ensured that all Thai citizens are entitled to essential preventive and curative health services at all life stages. In the coming years, we plan to further invest to upgrade our Universal Health Coverage to improve the quality of the program and to give all patients the freedom to choose the healthcare provider best suited for them.

This will ensure that access to high-quality health services will continue to be a universal right for all. If the recent global pandemic has taught us anything, it is that access to healthcare is one of the most essential services a government can provide to its people.

Dealing with contagious diseases is not one country’s problem, but the world’s shared responsibility. The global health architecture should be reformed and strengthened. We hope that the pandemic treaty can be established so that we can have a more resilient, responsive and future-ready global public health infrastructure.

Mr. President, Thailand welcomes the SDG Summit which reaffirmed that sustainability is the only way forward to protect our planet and the well-being of our people. Yet, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, by most benchmarks, still proves elusive, as only 12 per cent of the goals are on track. This is why we must accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To achieve sustainable development, we must first take care of our people. My government plans to enact policies to stimulate job creation and provide financial support for low-income families and other vulnerable groups. This will help level the playing field and aid in the creation of a more just society.

For many years, Thailand has been a strong advocate for a more balanced, people-centred and sustainable path to growth. The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP), our long-standing locally-driven development approach, has consistently been applied to promote balance in all aspects.

Building on the SEP is the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model, which leverages science, technology and innovation to advance economic growth while conserving the environment and ecosystems. These are not merely concepts, but they are being implemented in Thailand. For example, we have piloted the sustainable agronomy model, which reimagines the way farmers cultivate their lands and manage water supply.

This will not only reduce the impact on the environment but will also reduce vulnerability to climate change and enhance the well-being of farmers nationwide. Thailand is ready to form regional and global partnerships for sustainable development, including through South-South and triangular cooperation.

And as the ASEAN Coordinator on Sustainable Development Cooperation, we are committed to forging closer partnerships among ASEAN countries and beyond to drive forward sustainable development and build resilience.

Mr. President, July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded in human history. This is in line with the Secretary-General’s statement that “the era of global warming has ended, and the era of global boiling point has arrived.” The climate crisis is one of the most urgent threats that requires our collective and immediate action.

To this end, Thailand welcomes the Climate Ambition Summit to accelerate climate action that will mitigate the destructive impacts of the ongoing climate crisis. Together we must devise the means to adapt and enhance climate resilience.

As the global climate change crisis continues to worsen, so too will the issue of food insecurity and malnutrition. As a leading exporter of food and agricultural products, Thailand is suffering from the effect of global climate change and the effect of El Niño. To ensure food security for the world, we are working hard to improve our water management systems and farming techniques. We are doing our part to make sure that food security can become a reality.  

To achieve a more sustainable future, we must invest in the planet. Thailand is implementing Green Finance Mechanism, including the issuance of Sustainability Linked Bonds and the Thailand Green Taxonomy to boost growth and investments in environmental and social projects, while contributing to the effort to address the challenges of climate change.

To do our part, Thailand is determined to deliver on our pledge: 40 per cent of Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction by 2040, carbon neutrality by 2050, and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065 by mainstreaming climate actions in all economic activities. Our National Energy Plan has integrated our climate targets by enhancing energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy, and making a modal shift of transport through domestic electric vehicle production.

Mr. President, the United Nations represents the common aspiration of the global community. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that the organization continues to be the best representation of our collective humanity and solidarity. As such, Thailand has great expectation for the Summit of the Future to foster a better future for all, based on the spirit of multilateralism, with the UN at the helm, in the global push towards sustainable peace and sustainable development.

Thailand believes now is the time to pursue our common agenda for peace, prosperity and sustainability for all. We invite every nation to be more ambitious in our goals, accelerate our actions, and work harder together to address these challenges. Only together can we build our better future.

PM Srettha at the UN Climate Ambition Summit on Sep 20. Credit: ThaiGov

The statement on September 20 at the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit

Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, I recently met with Thai farmers and learnt of the devastating impacts of climate change on their livelihood. Now we need to accelerate our actions. Thailand applauds the Secretary-General’s Acceleration Agenda in bringing forward net-zero timelines closer to 2050, making energy transition including coal phase-out by 2040s, and updating NDCs for 2025 with absolute emissions cuts.   

Thailand shares the same aspirations and will work with all stakeholders to enhance technology development, financial resources, and capacity building.  At COP26, we pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We have also raised our NDCs goal from 20% to 40% by 2030. We have been working tirelessly to transform this pledge into concrete action as evident in our Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy

Mr. Secretary-General, we have realigned our National Energy Plan shifting the focus to energy efficiency, making a change in the transport sector, increasing EV production, and preparing to phase-out coal coal-generated power. With the concept of sustainable agronomy, we have transformed our agricultural practices to lower emissions. Pilot projects have proven successful, and are ready to be scaled up. This has reduced climate change vulnerability and enhanced farmers’s well-being nationwide.  

Since taking office, my government wasted no time in implementing a plan to increase the share of renewable energy, implement the Utility Green Tariff program, and support the usage of solar rooftops and net-metering to incentivize the production of clean energy. Thailand is determined to increase green area to cover 55% of the total land area by 2037. 

We are proactively adopting Green Finance Mechanism. We have raised 12.5 billion US dollars through the issuance of Sustainability Bond to fund multiple sustainability projects. Soon, we will issue Sustainability Linked Bonds to stimulate the growth of Green Bond market, ensuring organizations are incentivized to achieve SDGs. 

Mr. Secretary-General, climate change is a top priority for my administration. We have established the Department of Climate Change and Environment to respond to the adverse effects of climate change and to implement our commitments. Soon, we will pass the Climate Change Act to regulate mandatory greenhouse gas emissions. Thailand is doing its utmost to overcome this crisis, in partnership with all our friends. I insist that the time to act is now. 

PM Srettha delivered the first statement regarding SDGs on Sep 19. Credit: ThaiGov

The statement on September 19 at the Leaders’ Dialogue 6 of the SDG Summit 2023 on “Mobilizing finance and investments and the means of implementation for SDG achievement”

Co-Moderators, Excellencies, I am pleased to deliver my first address at the United Nations after recently assuming office here at the SDG Summit.

Co-Moderators, in this decade, we need transformative actions. We need to foster effective multilateralism and a strong multilateral architecture, which will allow us to accelerate SDGs implementation. My government will play a proactive role on the global stage. We will reach out to our friends and partners to forge collaborations to meet these challenges.

To turn the SDGs into a reality, we must mobilize our financial resources. The international community must address the SDG financing gap, scale up SDG investment, and find innovative sources of finance. We must level the playing field in international financial architecture. Thailand supports the Secretary-General’s call for the reform of this architecture, and his SDG Stimulus of 500 billion US dollars a year until 2030.

At the national level, Thailand has issued sustainability bonds which have raised 12.5 billion US Dollars in green and social investments. We have also launched the Thailand Green Taxonomy as a reference tool for activities deemed environmentally sustainable. We plan to issue another set of Sustainability Linked Bonds to stimulate the growth of the Green Bond market and to ensure that all entities involved are properly incentivized to achieve our sustainability goals.

Co-Moderators, as the Secretary-General notes, “GDP tells us the cost of everything, and the value of nothing”. What we need is a more people-centered and planet-centric development. With the guidance of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP), Thailand’s own development approach, and the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model (BCG), Thailand has submitted our national commitments toward SDGs attainment.

1. First, we pledge to leave no one behind. We aim to alleviate all households living with generational poverty by 2027. My government’s policies will focus on stimulating job creation and providing financial support at the grassroots level.

2. Second, we pledge to promote and protect the human rights of all persons. To promote the right to health, we will substantially invest to upgrade our Universal Health Coverage, to ensure that the number of households facing health impoverishment is below 0.25% by 2027.

3. Third, we pledge to foster cooperation at all levels in support of climate action, including ensuring access to affordable modern energy services for all by 2030.

Together, through effective multilateralism, we will leave behind a legacy of sustainability for our posterity.

Bangkok Tribune has checked on the statements and learned that almost all of the policies and directives as well as measures addressed in the statements are the work done or introduced by the previous governments, such as the NDC target, the Green funds, the new Climate department, the BCG Economy model, and so on. His new government’s policies as addressed to the Parliament on September 11 presented this kind of development related work merely in a broad term.

For instance, his government will not “ignore” the SDGs and it will apply sustainable development to mobilise the country’s economic growth. It only reaffirmed that it will pursue the Carbon Neutrality policy without presenting a clear target and without mentioning adaptation and climate resilience. On the front of energy, it only said it would promote the utilisation and production of more of clean and renewable energy without a clear target on phasing out coal or environmentally destructive energy sources. All these are addressed in only one or two paragraphs of the 14-page policy address.

Read: Srettha government places natural resources and environment as mid- and long-term policy

Source: ThaiGov