A study compiled by the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) charts Thailand’s successful transition from net aid recipient to donor, while exploring how its model for sustainable development could be adopted or adapted still further across the Global South.
OBG’s data feature in a special report titled “South-South in Action: Sustainability in Thailand – Experience for Developing Countries”, produced by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The report was launched in January at the UN headquarters in New York in the presence of dignitaries, government delegations, UN officials, partners and the media. The report marks the first in what will be a series of “South-South in Action” publications by UNOSSC.
In the study, Thailand’s journey towards South-South sustainability and triangular cooperation is tracked, with detailed coverage given to successful innovations that have been implemented at home and replicated elsewhere.
In particular, there is detailed coverage of the country’s commitment to applying the home-grown sufficiency-economy philosophy (SEP), devised more than 40 years ago and driven forward under the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. SEP is credited with having put Thailand on a steady growth path over the decades and remains a pivotal tool in its bid to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Thailand’s economic model of sustainable development and what it could mean for other countries in the South has long been a focal point of OBG’s research and analysis. A publication it produced last year dedicated a chapter to the topical issue, with the latest developments and implications set for wide-ranging analysis in “The Report: Thailand 2017”, due out in the coming months.
Speaking after the event, OBG’s managing editor for Asia, Paulius Kuncinas, said that with scepticism growing across developing nations about the effectiveness of assistance from Western donors, Thailand’s long-standing position as a champion of development theory showed it had been “ahead of the curve”.
“For decades, the developing world has been increasingly disenchanted by the Anglo-Saxon economic model, finding that the overemphasis on financial indicators and the lack of regard for people, the land, water, health and culture run counter to the long-term interests of society,” he said.
“Thailand recognised early on that other, more superior ways of organisation may exist and has been a leading advocate of models that incorporate these views. The world is now just catching up.”
“The Report: Thailand 2017” will be a guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. It will be available in print and online.