Government’s strategic environmental assessment push a tool for sustainable development, not a ‘magic pill’

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Government's strategic environmental assessment push a tool for sustainable development, not a ‘magic pill’

Government’s strategic environmental assessment push a tool for sustainable development, not a ‘magic pill’

MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2023

Farida Waller

The Thai government is pushing the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as an essential tool to prepare and measure sustainable development plans throughout the country.

The SEA will include environmental concerns in policies, plans, and programmes and evaluate how they connect with economic and social concerns.

It is expected to help current and future generations in economic, social, and environmental aspects.

Strategic decision-making should be more open and clearer in general in the hope that the public will trust the planners and decision-makers, experts say.

“It helps in seeing the root of the problems, not just the impact,” said Wites Srinate, consultant at United Analyst and Engineering Consultant Co Ltd.

Government's strategic environmental assessment push a tool for sustainable development, not a ‘magic pill’

The office of the National Economic and Social Development Council and Khon Kaen University held a seminar on “Lessons from SEA-based sustainable development” at Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Bangkok on January 24.

The seminar focused on exchanging experiences and challenges in various aspects implementing SEA to achieve sustainability in different departments, and also to enhance knowledge and correct understanding of the SEA.

“To achieve sustainable development, we must consider whether people in the future would be able to use all the natural resources as we do today,” explained Sunee Mallikamarl, an environmental law expert.

Government's strategic environmental assessment push a tool for sustainable development, not a ‘magic pill’

Three national parks in Thailand are considered as World Heritage areas, Sunee Saksua, director of the Foreign Affairs Division Department of National Parks Wild Animals and Plants, said.

“Currently, 22% of Thailand’s forests are national forests. We plan to increase their area to 25%,” said Sunee Saksua.

“The most difficult part of implementing the SEA is the challenge of communication, media creation, building confidence and participation across sectors and stakeholders,” Wites said.

Thongchai Panswad, head representative of the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and the Environmental Engineering Society of Thailand, cautioned that “The SEA is not a magic solution.”

Government's strategic environmental assessment push a tool for sustainable development, not a ‘magic pill’

Timing is important to be fully aware and prepared before forming a new law on the SEA he added.

“I don’t agree with having an SEA manual, what we need instead are guidelines to promote flexibility,” said Thongchai.

“The ecosystem is the centre, not humans. Humans created the SEA to develop the environment. Thailand is part of the environment, therefore implementing the SEA will aid in developing the ecosystem and the country,” Sunee Mallikamarl argued.

Another seminar will take place soon for stakeholders to exchange ideas and design a manual for SEA to be practically used once it becomes a law in Thailand.

‘Spiral Garden’ inventor Atsada: Outstanding Thai National Youth Award 2023

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‘Spiral Garden’ inventor Atsada: Outstanding Thai National Youth Award 2023

‘Spiral Garden’ inventor Atsada: Outstanding Thai National Youth Award 2023

THURSDAY, JANUARY 19, 2023

Stephanie Adair

Atsada Israpanich, a 17-year-old student from International School Bangkok who invented the “Spiral Garden”, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Prime Minister’s Award (PM Award) for “Outstanding Thai National Youth who brought recognition to Thailand”.

The PM Award was granted in recognition of Atsada’s Spiral Garden innovation, which has received accolades, gold medals, and special awards in international competitions from the UK, Canada, South Korea, and Turkey.

The Spiral Garden – a device for growing fresh vegetables in less space – was inspired by Atsada’s passion for natural surroundings after he moved to a city condominium.

The unique design and function enable those living in small spaces, such as apartments, to grow their own food conveniently and effectively.

‘Spiral Garden’ inventor Atsada: Outstanding Thai National Youth Award 2023

Atsada is also responsible for the “CO2 Capture” project – a system that turns carbon dioxide into plant fertiliser – which won gold medals and special awards in Indonesia and China last year.

His projects aim to help Thailand achieve the four dimensions of Food Security laid out at the 1996 World Food Summit:

– Food Availability: Via sufficient school gardens for local Thai schools with technology

– Food Accessibility: Via Spiral Garden

– Food Utilisation: By developing healthy, low-cost menus for impoverished communities in Bangkok

– Food Stability: Via the Seed Bank Set Project in Chiang Mai to support Hilltribes (www.theseedbanksetproject.com).

‘Spiral Garden’ inventor Atsada: Outstanding Thai National Youth Award 2023

As well as being an innovator, Atsada is also an entrepreneur of a social enterprise. He is the founder and CEO of Boon for Life (www.boonforlifethailand.com), an online platform that provides a bridge between the underprivileged and benefactors.

“When you have a passion, drive for it, and you will reach it. I would like to invite all interested and passionate youths to join,” said Atsada.

“Let’s create a greener future together.”

Stephanie Adair

Thailand braces for BEV boom in 2023

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2023

Demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Thailand continues to rise this year.

Reservations for popular BEV brands are driving forecasts of strong growth in the EV market in 2023, with consumer confidence supporting investment in Thailand-based production of EVs, batteries and electric charging stations.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have become a hot topic of conversation among Thais after more than 4,000 units of two models of Tesla were booked on the first day of the Telsa website accepting orders last month

Before the official arrival of Tesla to do its own marketing, the BEVs are already gaining popularity in Thailand

It is predicted that overall BEV sales in Thailand last year exceeded 12,500 units, a 212.5% increase over 2021

Total BEV sales this year are estimated at 24,000 units, a 92.0% increase over last year

Driving range
The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that a standard BEV had an average driving range of 349 kms per charge in 2022, an increase of 44% compared to 243 kms in 2017

Charging stations
Charging devices have been developed with fast charge technology, allowing a direct current fast charge to the level of 80% of battery in less than an hour

The Energy Policy and Planning Office of the Energy Ministry reports that there are 944 charging stations nationwide

The Electric Vehicle Association Of Thailand (EVAT) states that as of September 2022, there are 2,572 charger plugs in the country, a 13% increase year on year

EVAT says 46% of charger plugs are DC type (a 53% increase from last year) and 54% are AC type (an 8% decrease)

By 2025, the number of fast-charge plugs is estimated to rise to 4,400 plugs and to 12,000 plugs by 2030

Wallbox charging devices at home have become an alternative for BEV users

BEV motorists may get wallboxes from:

  • BEV manufacturers provide a free wallbox as a promotion plus free or discounted installation fee
  • Property developers provide a wallbox in their new projects
  • BEV users buy and install their own wallbox with cost ranging from 35,000 to 85,000 baht

Those without a wallbox can use an AC charger provided with their BEV, but the recharging takes up to 24 hours

How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

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How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2022

The team behind the creation of gifts and souvenirs said it was proud to see leaders and special guests attending the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting appreciating the offerings from host Thailand.

In addition to making arrangementsfor the summit in Bangkok from November 17 to 19, the preparation of gifts and souvenirs is another important part, to create a good image of the country with memorable mementos for visitors under the concept of Bio-Circular-Green (BCG).

The team had been assigned by the Culture Ministry on behalf of the Thai government to create and produce gifts for this special occasion to be presented to the leaders, their spouses and special guests.

How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

The main gift set consists of three items: embossed metal picture “Rajata Saen Tok”; embossed metal accessory boxes “Rajata Muen Tok” and a clothing accessories set “Chaturabhorn”, consisting of “Ratihong” shawl, “Sukharom” face mask, “Sakyaburut” necktie, and “Phakapak” handkerchief.

How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

Apart from the main gifts produced by the team, a silver nielloware picture frame, Yan Lipao basketry, the book: “Thai Silk for All (Directory of Thai silk)” and a coin commemorating the 29th Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting were handed out to leaders and special guests as well.

How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

Tepparat Songkraw, head of the Working Group on the Creation of Gifts and Souvenirs, said he named the project “Gifts from the Kingdom of Thailand”.

He said the project implies that “every single gift to be created must have its roots in the wisdom and heritage of the beautiful Kingdom of Thailand”.

“The gifts are meant not only to impress leaders of all nations, but every item must be valuable and functional for use or equipped with unique stories to tell at this event and spread out to each country, to ensure that the Thai identity is transmitted to the eyes of hundreds of millions of people around the world,” he said.

He said the team had to overcome three challenges in this project:

● The first challenge is the integration of traditional values of Thai culture with contemporary elegance and luxury, while being functional.

● The second one is the story-telling about Thailand through patterns in a small space of a few square centimetres.

● The third one is to put both elements beautifully on recycled materials, in line with the main concept of organising this international conference.

“It took us over three months to prepare and produce all 75 sets of 175 pieces in just one month,” he said, “We have been working on-site, making more than 20 trips to work closely with the communities, spending altogether not less than 1,000 hours.”

How Thai gifts and souvenirs won hearts of Apec leaders

With the synergy of team members and related agencies, he said the project was completed in the specified time.

“Although we have been involved in many world-class creations, this is one of the projects that the working team and I feel so proud of,” he said.

Apart from seeing world leaders’ appreciation of the gifts, he said the team was also proud to have helped the communities generate income.

“On top of these, the proudest thing is to take part in inheriting Thai cultural wisdom and present it to meet the consumption preferences of consumer lifestyle today, both in our country and globally,” he added.

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How world leaders turned super-influencers for Thai tourism at Apec

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How world leaders turned super-influencers for Thai tourism at Apec

How world leaders turned super-influencers for Thai tourism at Apec

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2022

World leaders in Bangkok last week for the Apec summit probably did more for Thailand’s tourism industry than all the world’s travel bloggers combined.

France’s Emmanuel Macron, Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong, and America’s Kamala Harris are super-influencers with tens of millions of social media followers – all of whom were introduced to what Thailand has to offer.

Singapore’s No 1 influencer, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, posted photos of the Thai specialities served to leaders at Thursday’s Apec gala dinner. The star of the show was the starter dubbed “Welcome to Thailand” – dishes from all four regions presented on a map of the Kingdom.

“A beautifully presented appetiser that creatively incorporated the Apec 2022 Thailand logo and the host country!” enthused Lee, as his army of followers salivated over photos of Lanna crispy khao rice noodles, Ayutthaya tom yum river prawn croquettes, Isaan charcoal-grilled Wagyu with spicy dipping sauce, and Betong-style marinated grilled chicken.

Lee also snapped pics of the evening’s gala performances for his followers, remarking “the cultural show was an interesting blend of traditional and modern Thai song, music and dance”.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Kamala Harris made time in her busy schedule to showcase Thailand’s spiritual side with a visit to meet the Supreme Patriarch at Wat Ratchabophit on Saturday.

Having done the temple, she went shopping on Sunday at Or Tor Kor Market in Chatuchak, where her 17.1 million Instagram followers watched her snapping up red and green curry pastes, dried kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, tamarind sauce and galangal before she jetted back to the US with the ingredients.

French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to take his responsibilities as an Apec travel blogger even more seriously, visiting Chinatown on Yaowarat Road, Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium, the Jim Thompson House Museum and Wat Phra Chettuphon.

His 8.9 million Twitter followers followed him every step of the way, as Macron offered a guided tour through Bangkok’s cultural highlights.

Elsewhere, the traditional Thai massage offered at the Labour Ministry booth in the Apec venue was a big hit with delegations from Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea and China.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hailed the Apec leaders’ Thailand showcase as a boost for Thai tourism just in time for the high season. The country has welcomed 7.6 million foreign visitors so far this year, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand expecting that figure to rise to 10 million by year-end.

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PwC Thailand offers ‘exclusive knowledge’ at CEO summit

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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2022

Legal and tax consultants PwC Thailand, participated in the APEC CEO Summit 2022 as exclusive Knowledge Partners. This year the company provided insights on key success factors critical to Asia-Pacific business leaders in the post-Covid era and those looking to invest in Thailand.

Legal and tax consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Thailand, participated in the APEC CEO Summit 2022 as exclusive Knowledge Partners. This year the company provided insights on key success factors critical to Asia-Pacific business leaders in the post-Covid era and those looking to invest in Thailand. This was in line with the summit’s theme: “Embrace. Engage. Enable”.

pwcpwc

Apec Summit ends on a successful note

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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2022

A productive and highly successful APEC Summit 2022 ended in Bangkok today, with the leaders endorsing the importance of a Bio-Circular-Green economic model, sustainability and also recognising the challenges facing the world, in particular the Russia-Ukraine war and climate change. Thailand also handed over the baton to the next APEC host, the United States

The 29th APEC meeting in Bangkok had special significance as it was the first meeting of APEC leaders in person after the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This year, under the APEC theme “Open. Connect. Balance.”, Thailand pushed three priorities: to be open to all opportunities, be connected in all dimensions, and balanced in all aspects, to advance long-term robust, innovative and inclusive economic growth as well as sustainability objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.

This morning, Apec 2022 wrapped up with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha symbolically handing the Apec “chalom” over to US Vice President Kamala Harris, who represented President Biden, as the next Apec host.

The handover ceremony took place at around noon, with Prayut saying the chalom – the traditional Thai basket and this year’s Apec logo – represented strength, flexibility and consistency. He said he hoped the US would uphold Apec’s aims and visions when it hosts the next summit.

The Prime Minister said: “We hope the BCG [bio-circular-green] economic model will also be one of the main factors that bring economies together.” He hoped that the US and other economies would work together to help the Asia-Pacific region prosper, adding the world is undergoing significant changes and that environment and sustainability are crucial.

During the APEC Summit, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) participated in the meeting to present the 2022 Global Economic Outlook. In addition, APEC Leaders engaged in dialogues with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) as well as special guests — the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the President of the French Republic — to exchange views with the private sector and APEC’s external partners.

During APEC 2022, the meetings were divided into three areas: Senior Officials’ meetings, APEC Ministerial Meetings and APEC Leaders Meetings.

Yesterday at the Apec Ministerial Meetings, 48 joint statements were issued, setting three priorities to promote trade and investment among the 21 member economies. The meeting was chaired by two Thai Cabinet members — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai and Deputy Premier and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

The declaration, adopted by consensus, by APEC Economic Leaders, were: the 2022 APEC Leaders’ Declaration, and the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy Model. 
APEC 2022 saw Thailand, as host economy, navigate APEC through a year full of uncertainties to achieve three key deliverables. These include (1) the FTAAP Agenda Work Plan  2023 – 2026 to take forward the refreshed conversation on the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) in the post-COVID context, to help build capacities of economies to better prepare for next generation trade issues; (2) the Safe Passage Taskforce’s recommendations on how APEC’s safe passage work should be carried forward to continue building resilience in the region’s travel infrastructure against future disruptions, and (3) the adoption of the Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy, as APEC’s first comprehensive goals on sustainability and inclusivity agendas, which focus on 4 key areas: climate change mitigation, sustainable trade and investment, environmental conservation and waste management.

The members also averred that the war in Ukraine, caused by the Russia’s aggression, has adversely impacted the global economy. They demanded the complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine. Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy. It is constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks. There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognising that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, the members acknowledged that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.


The 21 members affirmed their commitment to promote strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth, recognise that more intensive efforts are needed to address today’s challenges, including climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters, food security, and sustainable energy transitions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring energy resilience, access and security in the region, including by facilitating investments in relevant activities.

And this is a summary of everything that happened at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center during APEC Thailand 2022. I am Neeracha Malisak- Lemire reporting from the Apec summit centre.

Harris, Prayut pledge to further deepen Thailand-US ties, cooperation

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Harris, Prayut pledge to further deepen Thailand-US ties, cooperation

Harris, Prayut pledge to further deepen Thailand-US ties, cooperation

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2022

Apec 2022 came to a successful end on Saturday with Thailand and the US reaffirming their alliance and commitment to advancing bilateral ties and cooperation.

US Vice President Kamala Harris also expressed Washington’s readiness to build upon the existing cooperation when it hosts the Apec Summit next year.

“Both sides were pleased with the close Thailand–US partnership, which has continued to see increasing dynamism and underscores their commitment to enhancing the multi-faceted cooperation,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Harris and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also voiced commitment to further develop supply chain cooperation based on the Thailand-US Memorandum on Promoting Supply Chain Resilience, which was signed in July.

“Prayut also emphasised readiness to work with the US to further promote investment cooperation in Thailand’s targeted industries, particularly clean energy, electric vehicle, smart electronics, digital industry, and medical hub industry,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Harris, Prayut pledge to further deepen Thailand-US ties, cooperation

Prayut and Harris also discussed building upon the strong US-Thailand partnership on security and law enforcement in addressing both conventional and modern-day security challenges.

“Both sides are working closely to enhance capacity in law enforcement and preventing and suppressing transnational crimes, including combatting drug trafficking, enhancing marine patrol capability, and anti-money laundering,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Prayut also reaffirmed Thailand’s commitment to working together to achieve tangible results from the Ayeyawady–Chao Phraya–Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy and Mekong–US Partnership, so they benefit the prosperity of the region.

“The US also plans to provide an additional US$20 million [717.68 million baht] to promote development cooperation in the Mekong sub-region through Japan-US Mekong Power Partnership,” the ministry added.

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Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

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Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2022

US Vice President Kamala Harris made time in her busy schedule to have an audience with the Supreme Patriarch at Wat Ratchabophit in the heart of Bangkok on Saturday.

Harris was in the capital to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Friday and Saturday.

The Supreme Patriarch welcomed the vice president by thanking her for attending the summit and making time to pay respects at the temple.

“The US vice president’s visit can be seen as fostering US-Thailand relations to ensure they continue from generation to generation,” Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Ariyavongsagatanana IX said.

Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

Harris was also shown around the temple and paid respects to the principal Buddha image, Phra Buddha Angkhiros.

The base of the Phra Buddha Angkhiros contains the ashes of King Rama VI, who visited the US to establish ties. The Supreme Patriarch said these ties have been strengthened over the decades, with Thai monarchs visiting the country over the years. Besides, he said, Thailand has emotional connections with the US because the beloved monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, was born in Massachusetts.

Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

The Supreme Patriarch also showed Harris a proverb in Pali inscribed above the door of the main chapel by King Rama V, which translates as “the unity of the people of all diverse groups will bring about prosperity and success”.

Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

Harris, meanwhile, promised to work on building unity and peace in the world and said she was honoured to have been granted an audience with the head of the order of Buddhist monks.

“In a multicultural society, if we have the opportunity to study with each other, we will be able to accept differences and live together happily,” she said.

Supreme Patriarch tells Harris of role Wat Ratchabophit played in US-Thai ties

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Singapore PM Lee’s Apec 2022 posts go viral on Facebook

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Singapore PM Lee’s Apec 2022 posts go viral on Facebook

Singapore PM Lee’s Apec 2022 posts go viral on Facebook

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2022

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook comments and photos documenting his experiences at Apec 2022 in Bangkok have gone viral among netizens.

In a series of posts on Saturday, he took photographs of meetings, performances and even the appetiser served at the gala dinner on November 17.

For the starter dish, dubbed “Welcome to Thailand”, he said: “A beautifully presented appetiser that creatively incorporated the Apec 2022 Thailand logo and the host country!”

Singapore PM Lee’s Apec 2022 posts go viral on Facebook

The dinner menu was created by Michelin-starred chef Chumpol Jangprai, and his appetiser covered tastes from the four regions of Thailand:

• Northern Temptation: Lanna crispy khao soi-flavoured rice noodle

• Central Voyage: Ayutthaya tom yum-flavoured river prawn croquettes

• Come to Isaan: Charcoal-grilled Wagyu from Korat with a spicy dipping sauce

• Sailing South: Betong-style marinated grilled chicken

Lee also took photographs of the cultural performances put up during the dinner and said “the cultural show was an interesting blend of traditional and modern Thai song, music and dance”.

Singapore PM Lee’s Apec 2022 posts go viral on Facebook

The performances were inspired by the theme of this year’s summit “Open. Connect. Balance” and were divided into three acts.

• Open to All Opportunities: A concert by bands under the Royal Thai Army, Navy and Air Force as well as the police. The performance also included contemporary numbers by popular artists.

• Connect in All Dimensions: A fashion show featuring Thai silk creations by designers from all 21 Apec countries.

• Balance in All Aspects: An arts and culture performance showcasing Thailand’s North, Northeast, South and Central regions.

The government held a sumptuous gala dinner at the Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall on November 17 for leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Bangkok.

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