Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made a speech at the High-Level Forum “Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature” during the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), which took place on October 18, 2023, at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) in Beijing.
The government released his statement as follows:
On the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, I commend China for the achievements made under the BRI. This globe-spanning infrastructure project, which is still in its early stage, has already brought prosperity to millions of people around the world. Therefore, I am honored to attend this 3rd Belt and Road Forum and forge closer partnerships with our friends and allies.
More than ever, our countries need to connect as the world is facing challenges, from pandemic to economic recession, climate change and loss of biodiversity. These result from the decline of harmony between human and nature.
In this spirit, I aim to contribute to the conversations at this High-Level Forum because Thailand is a firm believer in the sustainability agenda. We believe that a “greener” development is necessary to advance the BRI towards a “High-Quality Belt and Road Cooperation” for “Common Development and Prosperity”. Since BRI is so monumental in both scope and span, we hope that this will help spread and accelerate actions towards sustainability.
Thailand, despite being a small nation, aims to take lessons from this project and implement it within our nation. Just recently, the Thai Cabinet affirmed the study and implementation plan for the Land Bridge project.
This project will connect the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Thailand and the Pacific Ocean, improving connectivity in the southern Andaman region.
This will reduce the commute time going through the Strait of Malacca under the logistic operation idea of “one port, two sides” across a land distance of 90 kilometers in Southern Thailand.
We hope that this will work in harmony with BRI infrastructure and help connect the world.
Thailand has also long promoted sustainable development in the international arena. Since 2016, Thailand has served as the ASEAN Coordinator on Sustainable Development Cooperation. In this role, Thailand has promoted collaboration not only within ASEAN but also served as a bridge with external partners.
Most recently, we reached 2 key milestones at the APEC Summit: First, the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green Economy were adopted as APEC’s first comprehensive framework to advance the sustainability agenda in a transformative manner. Second, the APEC BCG Awards, initiated by Thailand and financially supported by China, were launched to raise public awareness and inclusivity among member economies.
To realize the vision of a Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature, I propose a few priorities for our actions:
First, we must implement green transition across sectors, and promote sustainable production and consumption through all economic activities. This includes transportation, energy, and infrastructure. New technologies and digital transformation can greatly help green transition, although responsible use and equitable access must be ensured.
On our part, Thailand is actively implementing our Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy. We have realigned our National Energy Plan in shifting consumption to clean energy, and promote energy efficiency. We aim to increase the production of Zero Emission Vehicles to 30 per cent by 2030, while encouraging foreign investment in the Electric Vehicle sector. We also plan to scale up sustainable agronomy to reduce climate change vulnerability and improve farmers’ well-being.
I am optimistic that these policies will help us reach our national targets to reduce 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emission by 2030, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and net-zero emission by 2065.
Second, we must recognize the importance of environment and ecosystem conservation. Thailand aims to expand green areas up to 55 per cent of the country’s total area. As for marine and coastal biodiversity, Thailand is committed to the “30 by 30 Target” for protected areas, per our pledge during COP CBD in December 2022. We believe that sustainable blue economy will be crucial to achieve a Green Maritime Silk Road.
Third, Green Finance Mechanism is an indispensable tool for a green transition. So far, we have raised 12.5 billion US dollars through the issuance of Sustainability Bond to fund multiple sustainable projects. Soon, we will introduce Sustainability Linked Bonds to stimulate the growth of green bonds market. This will incentivize all entities as well as support the private sector and MSMEs to engage in eco-friendly businesses.
My fourth and final point is that we need to foster our cooperation and commitment to multilateralism. Multilateral frameworks provide opportunities for collaboration, building partnerships, sharing knowledge and stimulating innovations for the welfare of the people.
Therefore, let us continue working together under the BRI and create partnerships that generate sustainable, inclusive, and equitable growth for all.