Mr. Suttipong Juljarern, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior,
Honourable Governors from across Thailand,
Ms. Gita Sabharwal, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand,
Ministry of Interior Officials,
Representatives of UN Agencies,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the UN Conference Center Bangkok – Sala Santitham.
I am pleased to be with you today and to see the strong collaboration between the United Nations system in Thailand and the Royal Thai Government and 76 provincial governors to build capacity and awareness of sustainable development.
As you may know, our region lags in progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with some Goals, such as climate action, seeing regression.
It is for this reason, Thailand’s efforts and the commitment made by provincial governors today are especially important.
Realizing the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches in all countries.
Thailand is demonstrating how to do this, engaging not just within the national government but by mobilizing provinces, local authorities and municipalities, civil society and other stakeholders to drive SDG implementation.
Subnational and local authorities are critical to ensuring communities grow in a manner that limits environmental degradation, protects Thailand’s rich biodiversity, supports the transition to low-carbon development and reduces waste and pollution.
None of these challenges can be confronted alone. Local and subnational authorities can learn from one another to raise awareness and build capacities. But also to learn from other countries, learn from other provinces and local governments from other countries on lessons learned and best practices. Bangkok as Regional Hub of UN System in Asia Pacific in which the cross country experiences can be further leveraged through South-South and South-South and Triangular cooperation.
Mr. Permanent Secretary, Honorable Governors, ladies and gentlemen,
We, the UN System have been privileged to forge a strong partnership with Thailand.
May I take this opportunity to highlight a few examples of our work in Thailand. We worked with Nakhon Si Thammarat to minimize plastic pollution through our Closing the Loop project and to develop a Voluntary Local Review, a tool to help measure local progress towards the SDGs.
We have worked with Nadee on localizing SDGs through an approach to Sustainable Urban Resource Management. With the City of Chiang Mai, we have assisted in the development of the city’s air pollution action plan.
I am pleased to share that we can provide this analysis for more cities and provinces in Thailand and look forward to working with interested governors to move forward on this important topic.
We will also support local actions through a regional air pollution programme that could strengthen collaboration at all levels.
I am also pleased to see that governors across Thailand are working together to address the region’s most pressing issues, such as waste and pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and eco-systems, resilience and disaster risk reduction, and food systems and sustainable agriculture.
Your commitment to localization of the SDGs, building the capacities of subnational authorities, and collaboration with the UN system will benefit citizens and place Thailand at the forefront of sustainable development in the region.
We look forward to continuing our work with you.
Let me again express my appreciation to the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Suttipong Juljarern, and to the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Gita Sabharwal, for convening this meeting and to all the governors for your commitments.
Thank you very much.