Thailand Makes Constant Effort on Sustainable Development

To deal with the impact of climate change and global warming, Thailand has set up a sustainable development committee to oversee the country’s progress and strategy based on green growth. In the eyes of environmentalists, the next step is to see how the government will balance this economic growth, competitiveness and green development.

“These three key pillars of development will be a major challenge for the government to go ahead with its plan to implement real green growth,” Bantoon Setsirote, a director of the Good Governance for Social Development and the Environment Institute (GSEI) said.This committee was set up a year after the biggest United Nations conference on sustainable development – “RIO+20” – which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. This conference focused on the sustainable development of each country and the need for a balance between economic growth, strengthened competitiveness, and the sustainable use of natural resources.

Following this conference, Thailand has a lot of homework to do, such as: reviewing the country’s development direction; defining green growth in a way that harmonises with Thai society, and building an understanding of the concept among Thais; establishing the policy, strategy, and economic tools that enhance green development; promoting green production and consumption; and improving the organisation and the operation mechanism that will smoothly drive the implementation of a green-growth policy.

At the end of January, the Thai government announced a policy to drive the country’s economic development based on this green strategy. The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry was tasked with overseeing the green strategy. Its final draft will be handed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to give her the green light for the plan.

Under this green strategic plan, an environmental and carbon tax will be the key financial mechanism to make country’s development greener and more sustainable, Bantoon said.

Meanwhile, the Industry Ministry has been appointed to create a green gross domestic product (GPD) scale to measure the country’s sustainable development. The existence of natural resources will be a key index in examining progress of the country’s green growth.

Apart from establishing the country’s green strategy, a special committee has been set up to oversee the direction of economic growth and the nation’s development. This committee will be chaired by Yingluck – but Bantoon said it has not yet held any meetings since being established in May.

“It will be very difficult for the government to implement this strategy as it has to balance between green development, the country’s competitiveness, and inclusive growth – including economic growth and social development,” he said.

When looking back at existing mechanisms to make the country greener – such as the clean development mechanism (CDM) – Bantoon said few business sectors had joined this attempt to reduce carbon emission.

“[The main reason] is each country could not come up with an exact figure for carbon reduction,” Bantoon said.

According to the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation (TGO), to date, 221 CDM projects have been submitted as part of the world’s attempt to reduce carbon emissions. These projects are expected to eliminate 12,710,309 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

To draw more business sector attention, TGO last month launched its campaign called “Carbon Offsetting” as a new cooperate social responsibility. This activity will promote carbon credit trading and reduction of greenhouse gases released from products, events, organisations and individuals.

The campaign will encourage people or organisations to buy carbon credit and reduce greenhouse gases from daily activities. The result would be strong enough for people to demonstrate their responsibility to society.

Source: TheNation
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