Bangkok, Thailand – The government of Thailand launched three United Nations flagship initiatives to accelerate the shift to organic agriculture, as well as improve sexual and reproductive health services, including capacity development in midwifery and of health officials to engage at global health forums.
The announcement by Thailand International Cooperation Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, in collaboration with the European Union, urged a focus on emerging lessons on the green economy, the human capital investments, and the efforts to leave no one behind, as pathways to champion a more inclusive future.
H.E. Ureerat Chareontoh, Director-General of the Thailand International Cooperation Agency, told the gathering on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development: “South-South and triangular cooperation always lies at the heart of Thailand’s development policy. Today’s launch of 3 South-South and triangular cooperation projects with the UN Country Team and EU is part of TICA’s contributions to the UN-Thailand Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026.”
Gita Sabharwal, the UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, in turn stressed: “The collaborations between the UN, TICA, line ministries and other development partners allow each of us to leverage our respective strengths towards truly transformative outcomes. Southern-led development initiatives speak to the power of partnerships grounded in mutual benefits.”
Sabharwal commended Thailand’s positioning of Southern-led development initiatives as “an accelerator for the Sustainable Development Goals” – a set 17 global targets on environmental and societal issues – noting that individually, these projects were transforming lives in Thailand.
The lessons emerging from Thailand on transitioning to a green economy, investing in human capital and leaving no one behind provides a solid base to scale up good practices, Sabharwal said. She also welcomed “the technical expertise offered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Commerce, as well as the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) – to solidify our gains.
According to the latest UN report, the Asia-Pacific region has only made 14.4 per cent progress towards achieving the SDGs. Greater cooperation among developing countries, known as the Global South, was needed to raise ambition to overcome a multitude of challenges.
H.E. Mr David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, concurred, highlighting the triangular partnership between the European Union, the United Nations and the Royal Thai Government, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. “The European Union is very pleased to support cooperation between Thailand and other countries in the region with the aim to foster sustainable development, while strengthening ASEAN regional integration, as well as the South-South and Triangular Cooperation initiatives.”
In particular, the EU-funded project “ASEAN Regional Integration Support by the EU” (ARISE), implemented by the UN’s International Trade Centre (ITC) aims to support inclusive and sustainable trade growth in Thailand and greater connectivity and economic integration between Thailand and the ASEAN region. The project is collaborating with TICA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, to promote organic agriculture in Thailand and selected ASEAN countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Public Health will expand ‘Global Health Diplomacy’ activities jointly with TICA. It aims to support mid-career professionals to actively participate in global health platforms, in knowledge generation and management, and align to the WHO-Thai Government Country Cooperation Strategy, 2022-2026.
The sexual and reproductive health projects, including midwifery capacity development, by UN Population Fund (UNFPA) will advance high-quality education and practices that better prepare midwives and related health personnel to prevent maternal and infant mortality. This initiative will promote more efficient sexual and reproductive health services and meet ICM global standards in ASEAN. This will be carried out with the Ministry of Public Health, select nursing faculties, and TICA.
With its 21 entities in Thailand, the UN country team is implementing three outcomes in green economy, human capital development and ending inequalities, in line with its UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF). As part of its deep dive on South-South and Triangular Cooperation during the design of the Framework, the UN and TICA agreed to partner on flagship initiatives in each of the three outcomes.