The Sustainable Development Goals in Thailand
With 21 United Nations entities represented in Thailand, our work encompasses all of the SDGs. The United Nations Country Team supports activities with particular focus on the following goals: SDG1.3 on expanding the reach of social protection; SDG 3.4 tackling non-communicable diseases; SDG 4.1 education for all, with a focus on migrant children; SDG 5.5 advocacy for greater participation of women in political decision making; SDG 8.3 support to small to medium-sized enterprises and youth innovation; 10.2 inclusion of marginalized groups, particularly the LGBTI community; SDG 10.7 migration governance; SDG 13.2 climate change strategies at national and local level; SDG 16.1 supporting social cohesion to end violence in southern Thailand; SDG 16.9 advocacy and support to end statelessness; SDG 17.7 partnerships with private sector for sustainable development; and, SDG 17.9 the sharing of Thailand’s experience and best practices through South-South exchanges.
07 March 2023
International Women's Day 2023 ー UN SG's Message
Video Message by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on International Women's Day 2023. Click here to read the message.
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09 January 2023
Opinion: a model for HIV management
The key to ending Aids is to end inequality, and countries most affected by the disease must lead the effort against the disease by closing the economic gap. Inequality, compounded by stigmatisation, if not, criminalisation, is making it impossible for many people at risk of contracting HIV, as well as those living with the disease, to receive the quality care they need. In theory, people living with HIV have the right to health care, employment and housing without discrimination. Migrant workers too have the right to seek HIV prevention and treatment programmes, just as those who are living on the margins of society, such as LGBTQI individuals, drug users and sex workers, have the right to seek health services from the state. But in too many countries and regions, these are simply not happening. The current paradigm in which Global North leads the world's Aids response taking charge of the decision-making, agenda-setting and public education needs to change. The developing world has just as many inspiring figures and innovations which the rest of the world could learn a lesson or two from in making HIV-related services more accessible to all. There are models from the Global South too, which can show the world how to address the structural, social and legal factors that are slowing the progress towards ending this epidemic. Thailand is among these trailblazers. It has converted political commitment into political will, and political will into action. The results prove it. Thailand was first in the Asia Pacific region to eliminate mother- to-child transmission of HIV. Nine out of every ten people diagnosed with HIV here are receiving HIV treatment and an impressive 97% of these people are virally suppressed! Just recently the country launched its "Undetectable = Untransmittable" or U=U initiative. This strategy is based on empirical testing which shows that people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot pass the virus on to their sexual partners or to their children. Thailand has demonstrated the value of linking high-level buy-in for the vision of ending Aids with multi-sectoral collaboration. The country has taken a long-term view for planning and coordination through the 2017– 2030 National Strategy to End Aids. HIV response best practices are not cherry picked. Thailand has moved decisively to leverage innovations like same-day treatment for people who are newly diagnosed with HIV, HIV self-testing, and pre-exposure prophylaxis. We are grateful that during Dec 13-16 last year, the government of Thailand was able to host the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) board meeting in Chiang Mai. This meeting brought civil society organisations, including associations of people living with HIV, to the discussion table with member states and United Nations agencies. Together these constituencies provide oversight and strategic direction for UNAids, which guides and supports the global HIV response. For Thailand, the long-term plan is to reduce new infections, ensure everyone in need has access to HIV treatment, end stigma in healthcare, workplace, education, community, shift public perceptions about HIV and work through the justice system to protect and promote human rights for all. Not only has Thailand joined the Global Partnership to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination, but it has developed a plan to end HIV-related prejudice. This robust planning and implementation do not happen just everywhere. It is an example to the world. Perhaps the greatest lesson Thailand can share is the importance of prioritising and supporting community-led work around HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care. By integrating HIV services into the Universal Health Coverage scheme and increasing investments in people most affected by HIV and community-led health services, the government is working towards a best practice for a long term, financially sustainable and high impact HIV response. More than that, by leaning into the strength of community-led organisations, Thailand is giving itself the best chance of reaching people who are hardest to reach. These are the people who are diagnosed late, who are fearful to access HIV services and/or those who experience discrimination due to their HIV status and other intersecting vulnerabilities. We were thrilled to offer UNAIDS board members the opportunity to see the power of a people-centred approach through community leadership as well as the power of partnerships between the community and public sector and integration of HIV in UHC in action. The government, community organisations and UNAids will continue the work needed to ensure global HIV response is informed by the wealth of experiences from the entire world, particularly from countries most affected by HIV. And, as we have from the start, together we will prioritise community and civil society activism and leadership as a connection to the lived experience of people living with and affected by HIV. This inclusive approach is the only way to end Aids. Written by: Tares Krassanairawiwong, Director-General of Department of Disease Control; Apiwat Kwangkaew, Chairman of the Thailand Network of People Living with HIV (TNP+); and Patchara Benjarattanaporn, UNAIDS Country Director, Thailand. This piece was originally published on the Bangkok Post.
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03 February 2023
Increasing Arrivals of Rohingya Boats; IOM Scales Up Support
Bangkok – The number of Rohingya refugees arriving in South-East Asia via sea and land routes has increased exponentially in recent months. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded almost 3,300 arrivals in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in 2022, marking roughly a 290 per cent increase compared to around 850 arrivals in 2021. As the increase in arrivals continues in 2023 – with nearly 300 as of 23 January, alone – IOM is scaling up its operations in the region to provide vital humanitarian assistance. In Indonesia, where most of the arrivals have been recorded, IOM is working closely with the government, NGO partners and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to facilitate access to basic services. IOM has provided protection, health services – including mental health – in addition to refurbishing temporary shelters and ensuring water supply, access to food, sanitation and waste management. Additionally, IOM teams are conducting information sessions in Rohingya language to support the refugees in identifying the risks linked to human smuggling and trafficking, gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse. In Thailand, IOM is providing health services to Rohingya, as well as promoting alternatives to detention for migrant children and mothers and an increase in education services for those in shelters. Meanwhile, IOM in Malaysia is expanding its cash-based rental assistance programme, following vulnerability assessments, in response to the constant threat of eviction Rohingya refugees face. “Since the beginning of the Rohingya refugee crisis, IOM has been steadfast in providing the necessary humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya,” said Sarah Lou Ysmael Arriola, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “Along with our UN and other humanitarian partners, we reaffirm our support to States across the region to provide immediate assistance to Rohingya refugees and other vulnerable migrants, and to strengthen the broader response capacity to irregular movements.” Since 2020, over 3,000 Rohingyas in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand received direct assistance from IOM. In a recent statement, IOM urged States in the region to work collectively to avoid a repeat of the 2015 crisis, when thousands of men, women and children faced tremendous challenges in accessing life-saving care and support, resulting in loss of life at sea. IOM continues to advocate for the protection of Rohingya before, during and after their journeys, including combating smuggling and trafficking. Over five years ago, the first of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled violence and persecution in Myanmar and sought refuge in what is now the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Nearly 1 million refugees remain in congested camps, with many others embarking on dangerous journeys to neighbouring countries. IOM’s humanitarian assistance to Rohingya in the region is funded by the European Union and the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). *** For more information, please contact: In Bangkok: Itayi Viriri (email@example.com, +66 659390934) Miko Alazas (firstname.lastname@example.org, +66 651190912) In Jakarta: Josephine Imelda (email@example.com, +62 81318693599) In Kuala Lumpur: Nurdeena Anuar (firstname.lastname@example.org, +60 196630160)) Siti Munawirah Ahmad (email@example.com, +60 196630142)
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13 February 2023
Business leaders urge re-think of investing choices in sustainability
BANGKOK (9 September 2023) – Trillions of dollars in assets and resources can be unlocked to speed up the transition away from carbon emissions and put the world on a low-carbon pathway, but corporate planners will need to commit themselves to better strategic investment choices, a United Nations-sponsored high-level forum has heard. The call was made as the United Nations Global Compact launched a regional hub in Bangkok to help businesses across the country redouble their efforts to invest in reducing their environmental and carbon footprints. The event, titled “CEO Forum on Sustainable Finance: Scaling up Sustainable Finance Solutions for Accelerating Progress on the SDGs,” featured a gathering of officials and experts from government, UN, the private sector and public finance from across Thailand. The participants highlighted the potential of scientifically robust, realistic, and profitable climate-aligned financing strategies and business models towards decarbonization efforts and the country’s green economy transition in line with its bio-circular-green (BCG) economic model. Suphachai Chearavanont, chairperson of UN Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), one of the 69 networks of the UN’s Global Compact initiative, said that interest in corporate sustainability performance has been high among investors and the financial sector in the country. Climate finance is crucial for corporate strategies, with the latest scientific evidence indicating that over half of the world economy is dependent on nature. Without healthy ecosystems and robust biodiversity, economic growth and well-being of the global population cannot be maintained, Suphachai noted. “I believe businesses have the responsibility and power to make it happen, to help reduce emissions and adapt to the potential and inevitable impacts of climate change,” he said. The UN GCNT executive went on to highlight five strategies for accelerating the progress and uptake of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the private sector. These are 1) having clear targets and visibility, 2) leveraging market mechanisms and partners in the value chain, 3) promoting business leadership on sustainability, 4) empowering young emerging leaders to join as changemakers, and 5) creating a culture of innovation. Sanda Ojiambo, executive director and CEO of the UN Global Compact, in turn stressed that “there is ample capital in the world to provide the US$5 to 7 trillion needed to achieve the global goals,” referring to the SDGs, a set of 17 targets that world leaders established at the UN General Assembly in 2015 and encompass a range of sustainable development goals globally with a focus on environmental and societal issues. Ojiambo emphasized the urgency for taking action, noting that development achievements made over the past decade are being eroded as a result of the pandemic, armed conflicts, growing economic instability, global food and energy shortages, and rising temperatures. Stocktaking shows that in Asia, as in the rest of the world, progress on the SDGs has stalled and in some cases has even been reversed, Ojiambo observed. However, even against this backdrop the private sector still has the resources, knowledge and skills needed to make strides in global outcomes, she stressed. The Asia and Oceania region will be of great importance in driving sustainable development forward as it is home to more than 60 per cent of the world's population while more than two-thirds of the projected global growth is expected to take place in the region. The potential for leaps in sustainable development is evident and the UN Global Compact is expanding its presence in the region to support businesses in reducing their environmental impacts, Ojiambo said. Gita Sabharwal, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, concurred, highlighting the importance of the Bangkok event in driving the region’s sustainable development agenda. “Today’s forum is an opportunity to advance the dialogue on the leadership role of businesses in support of the green transition in country and the region,” Sabharwal said. “Importantly, we cannot achieve a true transformation without greening the supply chains to boost circularity and reduce their carbon footprints across the board. We at the UN are assisting these efforts by bringing science, introducing the best available technologies, and convening stakeholders,” she went on to explain. “We are at the midway point to the 2030 Agenda and the leadership of the private sector will remain pivotal in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs in Thailand,” Sabharwal emphasized. “Equally important is the leadership of bankers, investors, and asset managers. They need to take center stage in unlocking domestic financing for sustainable development.” Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said that the public and private sectors needed to work together for maximum benefit. “The government plays an important role in driving the financial sector towards sustainability, including by promoting investments in enabling infrastructure and developing green financial products to ensure climate change targets and the SDGs can be achieved quickly,” Ruenvadee said. “The private sector also plays an important role in managing and evaluating risks arising from climate change and other environmental impacts throughout the business chain,” she continued. “More funds are allocated to low-carbon projects and more sustainability disclosures are available. This is helping to increase the number of analytical reviews of environmentally friendly financial products,” Ruenvadee said. Importantly, the introduction of a green taxonomy at the national and regional levels will further increase the credibility of climate-focused financial ecosystem, which “will be an important force in driving the effective net zero emission reduction (Net Zero Economy), and encourage further investments in green projects,” explained the secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The high-level gathering also included a roundtable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with chief executives from more than 20 UN GCNT member organizations discussing opportunities and challenges in elevating their sustainability finance and investment strategies. The business leaders agreed that in the current economic and social climate sustainability must be a part of corporate strategy for every business. In addition to key performance indicators, organizations need to focus on sustainability target indicators (Key Impact Performance), covering their entire supply chain as well as their suppliers, most of which are SMEs. Common measures include accessing sustainable funding sources, clean technology and knowledge exchanges. The most common indicator relates to the management of greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers are increasingly driven by sustainability-related considerations while the financial sector, banks and investors are increasingly interested in investing in sustainable projects, the business leaders said. They noted that if the financial sector can work more closely with the business sector, a flow of new capital will result. Past examples of this include the Alliance of Financial Institutions Promoting Energy Transition (Just Energy) or the partnership to support the Net Zero goal by an asset management firm, known as the Climate Asset Management, which aims to become the world's largest asset management firm focused on natural capital and low-carbon projects. Representatives of SMEs also discussed their role in greening supply chains in order to add long-term value rather than look only for short-term profits. SMEs in Thailand have an extensive supply chain network as they account for 90 per cent of businesses and over half of employment. SMEs in the country have been recognized as important contributors to economic growth, but still need better access to additional capital. The business leaders noted as an example that if smallholder farmers could access more sources of finance, they could adopt cleaner and more resource-efficient production technologies and increase their knowledge, which will boost productivity while meeting sustainability commitments.
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12 March 2022
Act now: learn what you can do to stop climate change!
To preserve a livable climate, greenhouse-gas emissions must be reduced to net zero by 2050. Bold, fast, and wide-ranging action needs to be taken by governments and businesses. But the transition to a low-carbon world also requires the participation of citizens – especially in advanced economies. ActNow is the United Nations campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability. Every one of us can help limit global warming and take care of our planet. By making choices that have less harmful effects on the environment, we can be part of the solution and influence change. Use the app to log your actions and contribute to the global count. Energy and transport are key Food matters The Race to Zero is on ㅤㅤ ㅤㅤ Much of our electricity and heat are still powered by coal, oil, and gas. Airplanes and cars also run mostly on fossil fuels. To reduce your carbon footprint, use less energy at home, switch to a wind or solar-energy provider, skip a long-haul flight, and drive less. • The High-level Dialogue on Energy • The Global Sustainable Transport Conference ㅤㅤㅤ The production, processing, transport, consumption, and disposal of food all contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions. To reduce your impact on the climate, buy local and seasonal food, eat more plant-based meals, use up what you have, and compost any leftovers. • Learn how you can be a food hero • Read about the UN Food Systems Summit ㅤㅤㅤ Concrete steps by all sectors of society will determine our ability to rapidly transition to a climate-resilient future. Speak up: Appeal to world leaders, encourage your city, region and university, and urge businesses to take urgent action toward net-zero emissions. • Mobilize for the Race to Zero • Track the net-zero coalition Start with these ten actions! Our lifestyles have a profound impact on our planet. Our choices matter. Around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to private households. The energy, food, and transport sectors each contribute about 20 per cent of lifestyle emissions. From the electricity we use, to the food we eat and the way we travel, we can make a difference—make the shift to a more sustainable lifestyle. Start with these ten actions below to help tackle the climate crisis. For more tips, and to log your actions, download the app. Save energy at home Much of our electricity and heat are powered by coal, oil and gas. Use less energy by lowering your heating and cooling, switching to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient electric appliances, washing your laundry with cold water, or hanging things to dry instead of using a dryer. Walk, bike, or take public transport The world’s roadways are clogged with vehicles, most of them burning diesel or gasoline. Walking or riding a bike instead of driving will reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- and help your health and fitness. For longer distances, consider taking a train or bus. And carpool whenever possible. Eat more vegetables Eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and less meat and dairy, can significantly lower your environmental impact. Producing plant-based foods generally results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires less energy, land, and water. Consider your travel Airplanes burn large amounts of fossil fuels, producing significant greenhouse gas emissions. That makes taking fewer flights one of the fastest ways to reduce your environmental impact. When you can, meet virtually, take a train, or skip that long-distance trip altogether. Throw away less food When you throw food away, you're also wasting the resources and energy that were used to grow, produce, package, and transport it. And when food rots in a landfill, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. So use what you buy and compost any leftovers. Reduce, reuse, repair & recycle Electronics, clothes, and other items we buy cause carbon emissions at each point in production, from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing and transporting goods to market. To protect our climate, buy fewer things, shop second-hand, repair what you can, and recycle. Change your home's source of energy Ask your utility company if your home energy comes from oil, coal or gas. If possible, see if you can switch to renewable sources such as wind or solar. Or install solar panels on your roof to generate energy for your home. Switch to an electric vehicle If you plan to buy a car, consider going electric, with more and cheaper models coming on the market. Even if they still run on electricity produced from fossil fuels, electric cars help reduce air pollution and cause significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gas or diesel-powered vehicles. Choose eco-friendly products Everything we spend money on affects the planet. You have the power to choose which goods and services you support. To reduce your environmental impact, buy local and seasonal foods, and choose products from companies who use resources responsibly and are committed to cutting their gas emissions and waste. Speak up Speak up and get others to join in taking action. It's one of the quickest and most effective ways to make a difference. Talk to your neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family. Let business owners know you support bold changes. Appeal to local and world leaders to act now. For more detailed information on low-carbon lifestyles, see the UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report 2020. Illustrations: Niccolo Canova
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