THAILAND
 

Statement

by

 Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn

at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development

 Johannesburg, South Africa
03 September, 2002

Mr. President,
Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies, 
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

          It gives me very great pleasure to lead the Thai delegation to the Johannesburg Summit. I have the honour of representing my father, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, on this most important occasion.

          May I firstly take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to the Government of South Africa for the excellent facilities that have been provided. My delegation would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of Mr. Nitin Desai, Secretary - General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Mr. Emil Salim, Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for WSSD to the organization of this important meeting.

          In 1992, I had the honour of leading the Thai delegation at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and this provides a perspective from which to assess and appraise the efforts that have been made to address the issues of environmental protection and sustainable development that remain a matter of urgent global concern.

         This is why the Johannesburg Summit is of critical importance since it provides us with the opportunity to renew our commitment to Agenda 21 for the benefit of present and future generations. We believe that The Plan of Implementation should set time-bound targets. In turn, these targets will require support for capacity building from the developed countries.

          In the context of this global concern for environmentally sound and sustainable development with necessary redistribution of financial and
technological support from developed countries to assist capacity building in the developing world, I would like to refer to my own country, Thailand, which has committed itself over the last 10 years to the implementation of Agenda 21. Despite the recent economic crisis that we experienced together with many of our South East Asian neighbours, I believe that we have made appreciable progress in a number of areas, particularly in poverty alleviation, education, energy, health and environmental protection. Most importantly with regard to poverty alleviation, successive governments have implemented policies and measures to improve people's quality of life and income in the long term, particularly those who live in the poorest rural areas.

          Our current Ninth Economic and Social Development Plan for the period 2002 to 2006 has been guided by the philosophy of "sufficiency economy" first propounded in Thailand by His Majesty King Bhumibol. The main principle of this approach to development is the adherence to a middle path in all aspects of social interaction at individual, family and community levels. This philosophy encourages people to achieve a sustainable way of life in harmony with existing domestic resources and local knowledge and wisdom. People are thus at the center of development. Sustainable development, in His Majesty's philosophy is based on poverty alleviatian as the first step. Then education and vocational training can be followed to assist in income generation. There must be a redistribution of wealth within communities with the rich helping to fund projects to benefit the poor. The basis of this redistribution is not an act of charity but a process of enablement, to enable the poor to improve their own income generation. I most warmly invite you all to visit the exhibition at Ubuntu Village that has a number of exhibits illustrating projects initiated by His Majesty for the integration of economic, social and environmental development.

          In the past, and "still today, industrial development has had negative impacts on human health and on the environment. Among these impacts, that of unregulated use of toxic chemicals has been one of the most damaging. However, in this regard I am pleased to announce that 
Thailand has acceded to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International
Trade. Thailand has also signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). This we believe will help minimize the risks of
health hazards and impacts on the environment from the use of toxic chemicals. I am further pleased to announce that Thailand has ratified the Kyoto Protocol as of August 28th.

          I believe that the Johannesburg Summit marks a critical juncture in our path to fully sustainable development as envisaged-ten years ago at the Rio Summit. We must now demonstrate our commitment to continued efforts along this path and at the same time to ensuring a more equitable basis for global partnership in order to both protect the environment and to enhance economic and social development for people in all parts of the world.

          In our endeavors we must ensure that we do not disappoint future generations. Let us strive to make the Johannesburg Summit a beacon for continued development in a more equitable and healthier world.

          Thank you.