Statement by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand at the General Debate of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly 24 September 2022, UNHQ, New York

Statement by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand at the General Debate of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly 24 September 2022, UNHQ, New York

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(FINAL)
Statement by
H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
at the General Debate of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
24 September 2022, UNHQ, New York


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Mr. President,

Distinguished delegates,

1. I would like at the outset to extend my warmest congratulations for your election as President of the seventy-seventh Session of the United Nations General Assembly and congratulations go to your entire team of the presidency. Please rest assured of Thailand’s full support as you undertake to fulfil your important mission.

2. We are at the watershed moment, as an international community and as the United Nations. We stand at a point where the decisions we make and the actions we pursue can shape the world and shape the course of humanity for years to come. But we can only do it together, guided by our shared interests and based on mutual respect.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the inequality gaps and it has reversed at least four years of development gains, according to the UNDP. And at a time when the world is trying to recover from the two years of the pandemic, our problems are compounded with multiple challenges.

4. We are seeing new conflicts on top of global geopolitical tensions. We are experiencing the food crisis, the energy crisis and the financing crisis. These have had the most detrimental impact on those who are most vulnerable that is LDCs and SIDS, and vulnerable groups such as women, girls, the elderly and people with disabilities. Collective action is needed now.    

Overcoming Crises and Challenges

Mr. President,

5. The food crisis has affected us all. As one of the world’s leading exporters of food and agricultural products, Thailand has not been spared from the effects of skyrocketing prices of animal feed, fertilisers and consumer food. This global food insecurity stems from conflicts, climate change, disruption to supply chain and uneven recovery from COVID-19.

6. There is thus an urgent need to strengthen multilateral action among like-minded partners, United Nations agencies, WTO and international institutions in facilitating a constructive dialogue and improving policy coordination to address this crisis. It is suddenly vital to keep our global supply chains open for seamless cross-border flows of food, fertilisers, and essential goods, while also making our food systems more resilient so that equitable access to safe and healthy food for all can be guaranteed. Thailand is prepared to work in partnership with countries and international organisations to realise that vision.

 

7. In this context, Thailand welcomes the Black Sea Grain Initiative established by the United Nations to open a safe corridor for grain transportation that would help ease a global food crisis. This initiative further stresses the importance of international cooperation under the UN’s framework in order to respond to new global challenges.

 

8. In addition to overcoming food insecurity, we also need to overcome health insecurity. As we learnt from the pandemic, good health for all is critical. And that’s why ‘Universal Health Coverage’ should be a high priority for us all. We need to ensure access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for everyone. We must continue to promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health, as part of our commitment to human rights. We must continue to invest in promoting a more inclusive social protection system for all, as called for by the Secretary-General in the “Our Common Agenda” report.

 

9. To reinforce this, the global health architecture needs to be reformed, both structurally and functionally, to address the current shortcomings and systemic failures of health systems. And that’s why Thailand fully supports the development of a legally binding international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response under the WHO. The new instrument must place ‘equity’ at its heart to ensure ‘self-reliance’ of developing countries when faced with pandemics, especially through enhancing their capacity to manufacture certain medical countermeasures.

Putting the Sustainable Development Goals Back on Track

10. With better food and health security, we will be better positioned to putting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track. In doing so, a human rights-based approach is needed to ensure that the rights and basic needs of all persons are guaranteed, especially the rights and needs of those most vulnerable and furthest behind. This will help enhance our resilience and capacity to cope with future crises. SDGs serve both as the pathway, and the end goal, in ensuring survival of our present and future generations.

11. As we have only eight years left to attain the SDGs, we need to employ every tool at our disposal from science, technology and innovation to working in partnership at every level to drive this agenda forward. Because without sustainable development, there is no future. We need to promote North-South and South-South cooperation and the integration of the 2030 Agenda with other cooperation frameworks, both at the global and regional levels. That’s why ESCAP and ASEAN are working to enhance the complementarity between the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the 2025 ASEAN Vision. Thailand’s hosting of the Global South-South Development Expo with ESCAP and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in Bangkok last week also demonstrates the importance we place on development cooperation, especially among developing countries.


12. Furthermore, financing for development and finding innovative sources of finance is key to transforming SDGs from mere aspiration to reality for all. Thailand agrees with the Secretary-General’s proposal in promoting cooperation with leading global financial institutions to mobilise finance to drive forward the SDGs while improving financial liquidity for least developed countries.

13. And to promote sustainable development, Thailand has adopted the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model (BCG) as a means to achieve a more balanced development in this recovery phase. The BCG Economy Model utilises science, technology and innovation to encourage the optimization of resources for environmentally-friendly economic growth.


14. In pursuing sustainable development, we need to ensure balance between our people-centred approaches and protecting our planet. And to this end, Thailand is ready to work with the international community to contain the triple planetary crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Thailand is committed to promoting international cooperation for the protection of the environment, including on the negotiations on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the international legally-binding instrument on plastic pollution.

15. In tackling climate change, Thailand stands firm in our pledge at COP26 last year to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065. And with adequate support, Thailand will be able to increase its Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC target to 40 per cent while achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is not an empty promise. Thailand will submit our NDC and long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS) that reflect those goals ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) at Sharm El-Sheikh.

16. Meanwhile, the pledges of developed countries must also be fulfilled. I urge these countries to keep their promise of providing financial, technological and capacity-building support to developing countries and to deliver on the climate finance goal of 100 billion USD annually as soon as possible. Equal attention should be paid on mitigation and adaptation. Thailand stands ready to work with Egypt and all partners at COP27 in this regard.

 

Mr. President,

Strengthening our Multilateral System and the United Nations  

17. We need to restore faith and confidence in the multilateral system and our United Nations. An important step to achieving this is to reverse the polarisation in this body by working more closely on issues that bring us together. Addressing humanitarian concerns is one such issue.  


18. Thailand will continue to work closely with the international community, taking into account the needs of the affected country, to address urgent humanitarian challenges through bilateral, regional and multilateral efforts according to the key humanitarian principles without politicisation. We have supported humanitarian work in Afghanistan through the World Food Programme (WFP) and made contributions for Ukraine through the Ukrainian Red Cross and UNICEF.

19. As for Myanmar, Thailand has worked with partners to provide humanitarian assistance to the Myanmar people in need through various programmes at bilateral level, including donation of one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and through ASEAN. Financial contributions were also made to support the work of international organisations, such as UNICEF, WHO, WFP and ICRC.


20. As an immediate neighbour with the longest land border, 2401 km long, it is in Thailand’s vital interest to see a quick return to peace and stability in Myanmar. We call on all parties in Myanmar to urgently undertake steps to de-escalate, end violence, and engage in meaningful talks to resolve differences peacefully. Thailand fully supports the constructive role of ASEAN and believes that ASEAN is best placed to help Myanmar through the time-tested ASEAN practice of Consultation, Cooperation and Consensus. Thailand will continue to play an active and constructive role to support this ASEAN process, as well as the role of the Special Envoy of the UNSG on Myanmar.


21. As a strong believer of multilateralism, Thailand stands ready to continue to do its part to promote multilateral and international cooperation at all levels. Sustainable development and human rights are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. They are vital in ensuring an environment of peace and prosperity. Thailand hereby presents its candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) membership for the term 2025-2027. If elected, we can help strengthen the Council and its mechanisms, to reach out to those vulnerable and those furthest behind, and to bring meaningful and real positive changes on the ground.


22. Thailand also firmly believes that close regional cooperation can complement the multilateral system and reinforce the global agenda. This year, Thailand plays host to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting under the main theme of “Open. Connect. Balance.” Such theme signifies the willingness to embrace every opportunity, connect in all dimensions and balance in all aspects. This highlights Thailand’s commitment in promoting multilateral cooperation that will hopefully lead to a more balanced and sustainable development after the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to welcoming world leaders to Bangkok in November, as Thailand is fully open and ready to welcome visitors once again.

 

Mr. President,

Distinguished delegates,


23. Despite the challenges and difficulties at this critical juncture in the history of humanity, Thailand continues to have faith in the multilateral system with the United Nations at its core. And we remain confident that the goodwill and shared common interests of humanity will help us make the right decisions at this watershed moment, so that we can move together towards a more stable, sustainable, and safer future, with no person or country left behind.


24. Now let me add this very brief account to end my statement.

25. A few days ago, a sentiment was expressed by the EU foreign policy chief when he said “Don’t rule out the possibilities of the use of nuclear weapons at the Ukraine crisis”.

26. An oriental saying has it, which could be related to this context. It pertains to the enjoyment of riding a beast – whether it is a tiger or a dragon. Let us put a tiger in this context. Riding the tiger’s back could be fun and challenging, but no one could enjoy riding its back with no end in sight. The question is “how to dismount with safety, without killing the tiger”.


27. Suddenly, the question of “how to” is daunting. Here we have the suggestion, which has taken all elements into account, and definitely not a “realpolitik free". A possible breakthrough could be apparent through the month of November – as the third week of the penultimate month of the year – our first and golden opportunity for all super stakeholders of the Ukraine crisis to assemble at three venues in Southeast Asia as legitimate participants.


28. The three venues – one in Phnom Penh for ASEAN Summit, another in Bali for G20, and the third in Bangkok, Thailand for APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. They could separately or in a series serve as the most appropriate platforms for talks to provide possible off-ramp or exit to this high-tension global crisis in Ukraine.


29. The World Body, UN, with all its relevant roles and mechanisms to help safeguard peace and stability, would certainly join in at any juncture to add value to this endeavour.


30. So, let us hope that this golden opportunity is not passed up by all the superpowers, super stakeholders, with regard to the high-tension Ukraine crisis.

 

I thank you very much.

 


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