Opening Address by Prime Minister of Thailand at the Opening of the 80th Session of the UNESCAP on Monday, 22 April 2024 at 09.00 hrs.

Opening Address by Prime Minister of Thailand at the Opening of the 80th Session of the UNESCAP on Monday, 22 April 2024 at 09.00 hrs.

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Opening Address by

His Excellency Mr. Srettha Thavisin

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

at the Opening of the 80th Session of the
United Nations Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

on Monday, 22 April 2024 at 09.00 hrs. at ESCAP Hall,
United Nations Conference Center, Bangkok

* * * * *

 

Madam Chairperson,

Madam Executive Secretary,

Excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

  • On behalf of the Royal Thai Government, I am honored to preside over the Opening of the 80th Session of the Commission under the theme “Leveraging Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific”. Allow me also to take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to all the distinguished delegates.
  • As host country of ESCAP, Thailand takes great pride in being a regional home to more than 5,000 UN personnel and representatives. This is a testament to Thailand’s long-standing commitment to international cooperation.

Distinguished delegates,

  • The theme of this year’s Commission is both timely and relevant. During my attendance at the SDG Summit and the UN General Assembly in New York last year, I was impressed by the collective efforts of the UN and its member countries. The dedication and proactive measures displayed on both occasions should steer us towards getting back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. With only six years remaining until 2030, global commitments and actions are required to achieve a prosperous future for all.
  • Asia and the Pacific is a vibrant and dynamic region. Yet, at the current pace, our region will not achieve the SDGs until 2062. The future is calling for us to find innovative ways to bring about sustainable development. And to do so in an urgent manner.
  • We need transformative change. And digital innovation has become a vital tool for us all to achieve that change. It can help us do things faster, cheaper, and better. At the same time, we must ensure that digital innovations benefit all and truly contribute toward sustainable development.
  • To fully realize the potential of digital innovation, Thailand wishes to propose two approaches as follows:
  • First, we need to empower people and communities through digital transformation. We have to ensure that digital innovation is people-centric and inclusive. Along these lines, my Government has recently launched the "Ignite Thailand" initiative, focusing on eight key areas, such as digital economy, future mobility, financial technology, wellness and medical technologies. Success in all these areas will depend largely on digital innovation.
  • "Ignite Thailand" also places great importance on fostering digital literacy and inclusion among vulnerable groups. It aims to empower people and communities and drive sustainable growth.
  • For many agricultural-based countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Thailand, digital transformation is critical to ensure food security for all. We need to leverage digital technologies to promote agricultural innovation. This will help to ensure a sustainable food system, climate-smart farming, and environmental sustainability.
  • Second, we need to safeguard against risks. While embracing digital innovation, we must identify and mitigate its related risks and negative impacts. This includes addressing cyber-security threats, bridging the digital divide, and working towards a strong framework for cooperation to ensure a safe, secure, and equitable digital future for all.

Distinguished delegates,

  • In the digital era, the role of ESCAP is more crucial than ever. As ESCAP is actively engaging stakeholders in the integration of digital technologies to foster sustainable development, there is still more room to amplify these efforts further. Thailand acknowledges this opportunity and stands ready to bolster support, ensuring that our collective actions make a significant impact on the ground.
  • Member States and Associated Members must also exchange knowledge and best practices in order to narrow the digital divide, and bring about sustainable development at a faster pace. Moreover, the role of other stakeholders, in particular the private sector, must also be actively involved.
  • Therefore, this Commission Session does provide an excellent opportunity to promote regional cooperation through digital innovation to achieve the SDGs. I believe we have a wide range of interesting ideas to share with one another. However, the challenge is how to translate them into practical policies and real actions at the national and regional levels.  
  • The outcomes of this meeting will provide useful inputs to the High-Level Political Forum and the Summit of the Future, as well as the Global Digital Compact which will be held later this year.
  • In closing, I firmly believe that together, we can realize our common aspirations of a digitally empowered future. Thailand stands ready to collaborate with ESCAP member countries towards this goal.
  • Thank you.

* * * * *

 

Cr. MFA

Photo Cr. Thai Government x twitter account