• Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Member State
  • Submission Document: Download
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Thailand's Inputs for Compilation Document

Thailand wishes to share the following inputs for the expected outcome of Rio+20.

General contents:

(1) The outcome of Rio+20 should reaffirm the principles set forth in the 1992 Rio Declaration and demonstrate the political commitment to apply such principles in the global sustainable development agenda. Rio+20 should not be about renegotiating the principles, but should focus more on addressing the implementation gaps from the past decades and finding creative solutions together to close those gaps and overcome the existing challenges. In particular, the progress made in the economic pillar needs to be revisited to account for the impacts to the environmental and social pillars.

(2) In addition, Thailand wishes to express the need for the Rio+20 outcome to be forward-looking and to take into account the new and emerging challenges of the next decades. Particularly important are food and water security issues, which need to be recognized as interlinked with the energy security issue. The increasing effects of climate change through intensified natural disasters have caused devastating impacts especially to small island developing states and developing countries with low-lying coastal areas, and with areas prone to natural disasters and fragile ecosystems. Sustainable management of biological resources is extremely important for poverty eradication efforts in developing countries with fragile ecosystems as these resources are intrinsically linked with the basic needs of poor communities in terms of food, shelter and medicines.

(3) In setting the tone for the global sustainable development agenda, it is crucial to treat the three pillars of sustainable development in a balanced and integrated manner. This recognition should be reflected in the outcomes of the agreed themes: the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Specific elements:

(A) Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

(1) The green economy outcome should not aim for a one-size-fits-all strategy. Instead, countries should be given enough policy space to develop their own pathway to sustainable development, and disparities between developed and developing countries need to be reflected in the green economy transition, in accordance with the principle of CBDR. In addition, the green economy outcome should not override or supersede the agreements and processes of the existing MEAs.

(2) The philosophy of Sufficiency Economy introduced by His Majesty King Bhumibol, which stresses the middle path as an overriding principle for appropriate conduct by the populace at all levels, is a concept widely understood and adopted throughout the nation. Thailand sees this as a strong national initiative providing opportunities for all stakeholders to synergize and move towards sustainable development and poverty eradication. Sufficiency Economy calls for a more diversified and balanced development strategy and can be applied at all levels, including at the national, local and individual levels. The main objectives of Sufficiency Economy are to create resilience to external shocks, enhance poverty eradication efforts, and utilize both cultivated and scientific knowledge to allow the populace to live in harmony with nature. In this context, His Majesty the King?s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy takes into account all three pillars of sustainable development. Thailand considers the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to be one of the models for a Green Economy, and is willing to share our experiences and best practices in this regard.

(3) The role of developing countries towards achieving sustainable global growth is utterly important. Thailand cannot emphasize enough the significance of technology transfer and development, R&D, capacity building and technical assistance, which need to be materialized in order to enable developing countries to leapfrog towards sustainable development. The outcome of Rio+20 therefore should incorporate an enforcing mechanism and incentives to materialize capacity building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies from developed to developing countries. These technologies do not have to be state-of-the-art or cutting edge technologies. Even basic technologies are still lacking in most developing countries, particularly in the fields of wastewater treatment, household and hazardous waste management, energy efficiency and integrated water resource management for instance.

(4) Rio+20 should recognize that the green economy transition requires partnership development among different stakeholders at all levels, from global to regional, sub-regional, national and local. It is crucial to establish a mechanism to enhance existing partnerships and help build new ones to strengthen and accelerate implementation of the sustainable development agenda at different levels.

(5) Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) can be an important tool contributing to green economy. SCP should address the three pillars of sustainability in a balanced, integrated and continuous manner. In addition, SCP should recognize and enhance the roles of subsistence farmers and SMEs through international support in terms of capacity development, technical assistance for local labor and facilitation in technology access and access to credit. Strengthening of subsistence farmers and SMEs in this regard endorses the life cycle perspective of SCP as it helps induce the shift towards sustainability throughout the whole supply chain. Furthermore, public awareness and behavioral change towards sustainable consumption need to be consistently promoted.

(6) In recognition that actions in different countries are interlinked in today?s age of globalization, the roles of trade in enhancing sustainable development shall not be undermined. In this regard, Thailand supports green economy options that are consistent with a fair, open, equitable, rules-based, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system which ensures market access for developing countries and which narrows rather than widens the technology gap between developed and developing countries. In addition, measures for environmental protection should not be used as a disguised restriction on international trade or as trade protection measures, especially for trade that is related to food security.

(7) Thailand is open to further discussions on targets and indicators. We believe targets can be useful in demonstrating global leadership and instituting aspirations. We also believe that the setting up of targets and indicators at Rio+20 should incorporate the following important characteristics:

a. the overall targets such as SDGs should reflect a balanced and integrated treatment of the three pillars of sustainable development

b. the targets and indicators should be complementary to and build upon existing targets and indicators, such as the MDGs targets

c. the setting up of targets and indicators should reflect the principle of CBDR and recognize disparities between developed and developing countries

d. the setting up of targets and indicators should allow for flexibility and country-driven or voluntary targets in accordance with the principle of CBDR

e. the setting up of targets and indicators should incorporate comparable targets and indicators in the means of implementation

(B) Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD)

(1) The successful paths towards sustainable development rely greatly on having an effective institutional structure which not only sets the global sustainable development agenda but also supports implementation at national and local levels. Therefore, the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD) needs to ensure that the three pillars of sustainable development ? economic, social and environmental ? work together and reinforce one another in a more integrated and balanced manner from policy planning to implementation.

[Strengthening the environmental pillar]

(2) Thailand sees the necessity of strengthening the environmental pillar, which is considered lacking sufficient attention, to move forward in parallel with the other two. With that in mind and considering that such process should be based on better use of the existing frameworks and mechanisms, Thailand is of the view that UNEP?s role as a lead UN agency on the environmental issue should be strengthened in order to provide concrete suggestions on global environmental issues, consolidate MEAs and support national implementation. In doing so, we should also take into consideration how to achieve the inclusive decision-making process on environmental issues with the greatest possible participation of parties concerned.

(3) In practice, Thailand strongly believes that the principles of ?Delivering as One? and ?System-wide Coherence? are viable in streamlining and strengthening the UN?s work on sustainable development among all relevant UN funds, programmes, and specialized agencies. In facilitating the Member States in their endeavors to progress the implementation guided by Agenda 21 and JPOI, Thailand urges UNEP to work closely at the policy level with other relevant organizations in the economic and social pillars, such as UNDP, UNCTAD, and WTO, and make the most use of the existing framework and coordination mechanism in the implementation.

[Reform options of IFSD]

(4) Thailand reaffirms the spirit of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) when it was first established in 1992 ? which is to holistically address the three pillars of sustainable development in a balanced manner and review progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels. In this regard, Thailand is of the view that a reform of CSD is needed to achieve a greater balance among the three pillars. CSD must be a forum for countries to exchange ideas, to review progress achieved, to take stock of decisions made, and to recommend practical guidelines and facilitate the process to close the existing implementation gap.

(5) The reformed CSD must be relevant in responding to the challenges which have emerged during the past 20 years and must take a forward-looking vision in addressing the new challenges that might arise in the future.

(6) Thailand reaffirms Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, which calls for the participation of all citizens in addressing economic, social and environmental issues at all levels. Thailand acknowledges the role of CSD as a valuable platform for countries to engage with major groups and to forge partnerships with the private, academic and scientific communities.

We view this as a contributing factor to the implementation process and the success of the IFSD itself. Thailand encourages the reformed CSD to continue with this distinctive role and make use of such partnerships to facilitate the transfer of technology, research development, and capacity building in developing countries.

(7) Thailand is open to discussions and exchange of innovative ideas with other countries on other reform options such as ECOSOC or the establishment of a Sustainable Development Council. In this regard, the proposed framework should not create undue burden on developing countries, be it legal, financial or operational. Thailand wishes to stress that a combined effort of all relevant UN funds, programmes, and specialized agencies to ?deliver together as one? on the sustainable development agenda is required for the successful reform of IFSD. The newly established body cannot, and should not, work as a stand-alone agency on advancing sustainable development objectives.

[Role of the UN?s regional commissions]

(8) As the transition into green economy towards sustainable development objectives is unique to each country and there is no ?one-size-fits-all? model, Thailand strongly supports the role of the UN?s regional commissions, UN regional offices, as well as other existing regional and sub-regional cooperation frameworks in bridging global commitments to national and local implementation. Such role should be further strengthened with priority given to narrowing the implementation gaps.

(9) As it is widely recognized in all regions that there is an imbalance of the three pillars at the regional levels, Thailand urges the UN?s regional commissions to strengthen its work on the social and environmental pillars in association with the economic work programmes. Discussions among Member States on issues pertaining to all of the three pillars should be encouraged. To strike this importance, the renaming of the current ?Economic? or ?Economic and Social? commissions is required. The regional commissions shall be called ?Economic, Social and Environmental? Commission to practically reflect the commitment of all regional commissions of the UN in advancing the progress on sustainable development in the respective regions. Thailand believes that this incremental yet powerful change to the title would make the UN?s regional commissions relevant to addressing crosscutting issues for sustainable development and to putting sustainable development as their top priority. ***********************
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