Remarks of the Resident Coordinator in Thailand for ESCAP's Innovation Lab

The speech by the Resident Coordinator for the Innovation Lab organised by ESCAP on June 17, 2020.

The onset of this global pandemic has changed the world and there is no going back to ‘business as usual’. The UN in Thailand is defining its ‘new normal’ as it operationalises its response to the pandemic. 

As the UN RC, my priority has been to seize the disruption created by COVID to reposition the UN’s response as cutting edge and progressive, while offering thought leadership. We are bringing to bear pace and passion to advance SDGs in partnership with young innovators like yourselves. 

I am very keen to hear about the work that you are leading on to address the changing socio-economic needs in Thailand and explore how the UN in Thailand can partner with you in the future.  

From where I sit, there are three key innovative interventions that the UN is prioritising in partnership with government as we redefine our engagement in Thailand:

First, the UN (through ITU, UNESCO and UNICEF) is seeking to bridge the digital divide in eLearning, as technology is becoming the lifeline of society and the fuel to accelerate progress on the SDGs. We are mapping the digital infrastructure country wide to create a visually powerful ICT-Equity-Education GIS map to support the government to scale up ICT-enabled out-of-school and in-school learning.

Second, the UN (through FAO) is exploring the speed and uptake of Artificial Intelligence in agro-predictions and how farmers can use it to be better informed in advance, of weather patterns that will affect agriculture crops, together with the MET Department in Thailand.

This becomes imperative given that Thailand is ranked the world 8th most affected country by long-term climate risks, which proves very costly to the economy.

Third, the UN (through UNDP) is seeking to create an app to enable social entrepreneurs to rapidly map the contribution of their enterprises to SDGs.    

Let me pause here and by saying that for UN in Thailand, innovations in the field of climate change is a priority and I will specifically be looking to learn of new ideas and explore partnerships.     

Gita Sabharwal
Resident Coordinator
Ms Gita Sabharwal
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme
UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Office for Project Services
United Nations Volunteers
World Food Programme