Press Releases : Remarks by Mrs. Suphatra Srimaitreephithak, Director-General of Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) at a panel discussion titled “Pathways to Sustainability: Thailand’s SEP” during the Launch of the First Publication on Sustainability in Thailand Experience for Developing Countries in the New Series of “South – South in Action”

I am very honoured to be the first speaker at this session. Thailand International Cooperation Agency or TICA has been tasked to be the main agency in forging development cooperation with other partners. "TICA" is our new name. The Agency was called, Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation � DTEC from 1963 to 2004. By the turn of the Millennium when we agreed to strive for the Millennium Development Goals � MDGs, the term of technical and economic cooperationwas redefined in a broader sense. Therefore, the name of TICA suited us more in signifying our work as a development partner in the global context.

TICA has been working with more than 150 countries, including 100 members of Group of 77 and development partners either UN agencies or international organizations of various types, in the forms of South � South, North � South � South and South � South for South. At home, we provide short-term training courses, study visits, and post-graduate scholarships to officials of developing countries. Outside Thailand, we carry out projects to respond to our friends' needs. Our strength in sharing experiences and practices is in agriculture, public health, disaster mitigation and prevention, and the application of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.

By adopting Development Agenda 2030 with the effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, we all agree that sustainability is the ultimate goal for 5Ps, restoring Peace, saving the Planet, creating Prosperity, enhancing Partnership, and nourishing our People. A tree would grow tall and strong, with the firm roots under the ground. A building would stand long in time with strong foundations underneath. By the same token, sustainable development would come with firm and strong support of integral units in society at all levels, i.e. individual, family, community, organization, and country.

Dr. Sumet Tantivejkul, Member and Secretary-General of the Chaipattana Foundation founded in 1988 as a non-governmental organization to provide prompt, timely and necessary responses to problems affecting the Thai people through various development projects based on the application of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy said in an interview that "we must build a strong foundation gradually with people at the centre of development... When the foundation is firmed, we can gradually build our economy to be sustainable." The underlying concept of this thinking answers to the meaning of sustainability.

For Thailand, sustainability can be attained by practicing the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy or SEP. It was conferred to us by H.M. the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1974 when His Majesty delivered a speech to the graduates of Kasetsart University. The Philosophy suggests a thinking process composed of 3 elements and 2 conditions in which the root cause of problem is to be firstly analyzed logically, then practical, affordable, accessible solutions are to be listed out, with clearer picture of what options can lead to challenges and risks. In carrying out the selected possible solutions, knowledge and morality can contribute to the sustainable outcomes. Sustainability from applying SEP can be gauged in 4 dimensions: economic, social, environmental, and also culture, while SDGs only focus on 3 dimensions of sustainability, namely economic, social and environmental.

This thinking process derived from the Philosophy has been proven a success when we had a hard time affected by Crisis in 1997. A large number of business corporates applied the Philosophy into their way of doing business to survive the crisis.

The Philosophy was embedded as a guiding principle in our National Economic and Social Development Plans since 2002, contributing to Thailand's National Report on MDGs with advancements in certain Goals which enabled us to present additional report on MDGs Plus. Sufficiency Economy Philosophy would remain the guiding light in our endeavor for the achievement of SDGs along with our striving for Thailand 4.0 under Thailand's 20-year National Strategy.

From an interview, some successful business persons highlighted the way they applied SEP in solving their problems. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand and former Chairperson of Toshiba Thailand admitted that "SEP brings about good things to life ... We must know who we are while progressing for the benefit of the society." Chareong Chandrakamol, M.D. serving as Managing Director of Hospital Network Company Limited (Bangpakok Polyclinics and Hospitals) summarized that "she is conducting her business based on SEP ... which is especially true in her policy to expand business gradually, reasonably, and morally. Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, Honorary Chairperson of Dusit Thani Public Company Thailand, revealed that "One core element in this Philosophy that gives a lesson to the staff is to carefully use natural resources with proper respect to company's capabilities."

TICA is providing training courses, and postgraduate scholarships, and study visits on the application of SEP. We welcome officials from G-77 to take part in those activities in Thailand. Information on these courses can be found in our website at www.tica.thaigov.net. Now we are focusing our "Reach Out" activity where we can work more closely with partner country. We initiate Sustainable Community Development Model based on the Application of SEP with countries in different regions, South East Asia as far as Pacific Oceans and Africa. Lesotho Project on Sustainable Agricultural Development Project was the first of its kind in Africa in 2006 and completed in 2011. Potential partners include Mozambique, Togo, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Kyrgyz, Niger, Paraguay, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, we started our cooperation on the community development project by sending a fact-finding mission in December 2016.

The implementation of TICA SEP Projects in countries of South East Asia are quite advanced. TICA cooperated with other development partners in pursuing higher level of development in specific field for partner countries. The Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy still remains the thinking process for sustainability of the outcomes which can contribute to the realization of relevant SDG Goals. In these cases, GIZ is TICA partner in development projects in Lao PDR, Vietnam and Timor-Leste. Recently, JICA has indicated its interest to be TICA's partners in conducting Projects based on SEP in Africa.

As committed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, Thailand believes in revitalising of global partnership as indicated in Goal 17. Multifaceted cooperation with all possible partners shall facilitate the process of knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices.

My time is out. I would like to end here by citing a well-known African proverb, saying "If you want to go fast, you can walk alone. But if you want to go far, walk together."

Thank you.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand.