Thailand has recorded strong growth in recent decades, but this has come at a high environmental cost. The forests are being depleted, soil fertility is being lost, and biodiversity is threatened. High pollution emissions, inadequate treatment of waste and water pollution are affecting quality of life and resulting in economic cost. Unsustainable production and consumption patterns from the industrial sector is a source of many of these environmental issues.
Thailand’s green growth development model (under “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy”) is deep-rooted in the National Strategy 2018-2036 that acts as an overarching guide for national development and a framework for international cooperation.
Furthermore, the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan (NESDP) 2017-2021 envisions prosperity, sustainability and happiness, whilst simultaneously promoting SDG implementation together with NDC climate change commitments. It sets priorities around green jobs creation, green tourism, green cities, green businesses and sustainable finance, to combat the severe environmental challenges faced by the country. The Government has also set an ambitious goal of increasing renewable energy to 30 percent of the energy mix, and reducing energy intensity by 30 percent by 2036, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20-25 percent by 2030.
Against this backdrop, Thailand joined PAGE at the end of 2019 to support green economic transition and achievement of the targets set out in the National Development Plan. Following general elections in 2019, the new government has reconfirmed its commitment to join PAGE.
Opportunities for green economy action
The government outlined several challenge areas in the 12th NESDP that it wanted to address. PAGE work will align with these, together with the priority areas outlined in other policy frameworks. This will be solidified as part of the inception phase to commence in 2020. Challenge areas include:
- Building security in the stock of natural resources and leveraging environmental quality to support green growth;
- Solving the environmental crises to reduce pollution from production and consumption;
- Setting up a transparent and fair environmental management system;
- Promoting and scaling up sustainable consumption and production; and
- Accelerating readiness for greenhouse gas reduction whilst enhancing capacity for climate change adaption and management to reduce risks from natural disasters.