H. E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Chairperson of the Delegation
29 September 2008
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DON PRAMUDWINAI (Thailand) said citizens of the world were a part of a global village that was deeply divided along political, economic, social, racial, religious and cultural lines. Its existence was neither sustainable nor healthy. Continuing to see the world through the lens of “us versus them” would eventually lead to confrontation where no one won. The challenge was to find the right balance between the individual political cultures of each country and the desire to achieve the ideals of democracy. As for the situation in Thailand, there had been certain political developments that had made headlines lately, but the Thai people were determined to move forward along the path of democracy.
Noting that realizing the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 had become increasingly difficult for certain countries, he said it would seem that mutual aid among countries was both a moral imperative and a practical necessity, especially in the face of simultaneous global, food and financial crises. For its own part, Thailand was adversely affected by rising oil prices in almost every aspect of its people’s lives. However, in every crisis lay an opportunity. The global oil crisis was nudging the world economy towards the use of alternative energy, and Thailand stood ready to engage with others in research and development of alternative energy technologies.
Regarding the food crisis, he said his country would continue to ensure a constant supply of rice, being the rice bowl of the world. At the same time, Thailand would work with others around the world, to ensure an open international food market, and to establish agricultural trade rules that would help the world’s poor farmers and shore up food security in developing countries. Thailand urged all countries to cooperate in averting a downward spiralling effect, with regard to the financial crisis, recalling that the East Asian financial crisis of 1997 had driven millions of people into abject poverty and despair.
He went on to discuss the threat brought about by climate change, which had produced “monster storms” such as Cyclone Nargis, which had struck Myanmar in May. Ice was melting at the poles, and rising sea levels was threatening to engulf low-lying areas of the world. Drought had increased, turning many once-arable lands into deserts. Thailand would spare no effort to realize the vision begun in Bali in time for the Copenhagen Conference in 2009.
Turning to regional matters, he said that ASEAN was seeking to realize the visions of the “ASEAN Charter for ASEAN People” at its upcoming fourteenth session. The goal was to move towards a rules-based and people-centred organization. The world would benefit from having a more rules-based, effective, predictable and people-centred ASEAN as a partner. The regional bloc could become a bridge between China and India, whose billions of people represented an enormous market. The world might soon see a new “silk road” passing through ASEAN.