Thailand: Pays Heavy Price For Economic Gains


UN Development Report

UN Wire
December 7, 1999

Thailand has paid a significant price for its economic success over the past three decades, according to the first UN Development Report for Thailand. Released by the UN Development Program (UNDP) yesterday, the report says that while Thailand can take pride in its progress in improving people's lives, development has a "dark side" that should be addressed.

"[G]rowth and development have been inequitable," said Sippanondha Ketudat, chair of the National Economic and Social Development Board. "To rectify this, it is very important to recognize the need and intensify the effort to target the poor and the disadvantaged." Thailand should live up to higher standards of "human-centered" development, the report says, with emphases on quality of life, equality, social harmony and sustainability.The UNDP also urges Thailand to maintain its commitment to democratization and decentralization, build up social capital, foster economic growth for the poor, respond to globalization, improve the quality of human resources and address environmental problems.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi, who presided over the launch of the report, described it as "intellectually stimulating," and a document that will likely to "spark lively debate" among policy-makers and others interested in development issues. "One doesn't have to agree with everything in the report to find that it is a valuable and thoroughly researched assessment of Thailand's development efforts, successes and pitfalls," Supachai said.

The report covers development issues from 1966 to 1996 (Thana Poopat, Bangkok Nation, 9 Dec).

More Information on Social and Economic Policy
More Information on Inequality of Wealth and Income Distribution

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