Thailand partners with OECD to drive internal reforms
BANGKOK, Oct. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Thailand has begun a new partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in a bid to upgrade its governance and competitiveness towards international standards. On 31 May 2018, Dr. Kobsak Pootrakool, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office and Mr. Angel Gurria, the OECD Secretary-General, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the sidelines of the Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM 2018) in Paris establishing a “Country Programme” framework for cooperation.
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Mrs. Vilawan Mangklatanakul, Director-General, Department of International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the OECD — sometimes called ‘the rich man’s club’ because its current membership mostly comprises developed countries from Europe and America. However, such image started to change in past few decades. The OECD has realigned its global strategic outreach toward becoming more inclusive institution by expanding its partnership and membership to other parts of the world, including the accession of the new OECD membership from several Latin American countries. According to the OECD 50(th) Anniversary Vision Statement, the OECD “has engaged more recently in varied and flexible relationships with countries and institutions around the world and at different stages of development. An increasing number of countries participate in our discussions, share data and best practices, contribute to the Organisation’s Global Fora, join its committees and bodies and, in some cases, adhere to its standards. Their participation advances our common goal of learning from each other’s experience in order to produce better outcomes for all people. We welcome these growing ties.”
At present, the OECD is considered to be a world ‘standard setter’ for good governance and economic policy. The OECD not only makes policy recommendations to its members on issues ranging from trade and investment, the environment, taxation and finance, and good governance in general, but also works with partner countries to identify good practices and find solutions to common challenges. Thailand already participates in OECD meetings in areas such as taxation, education, development, energy, digital economy, fisheries, anti-corruption and SMEs. Three years ago, Thailand was one of four countries (along with Kazakhstan, Morocco and Peru) identified by the OECD as a potential partner to work on new cooperative framework called “Country Programme” to jointly work on capacity building and drive internal reforms.
The Thai – OECD Country Programme is a 3-year cooperative project. The Programme will, in the words of Mr. Gurria, “support Thailand’s domestic reform agenda while bringing [Thailand] closer into the OECD family” and “aims to bring Thailand closer to OECD committees and standards”. There are a total of 16 projects outlined in the Programme, covering reforms in such key areas as governance (covering transparent and accountable governance, policy coordination, and budgetary, legal and regulatory best practices), forward looking economic policy (covering business-friendly practices, development of competition policy, promotion of responsible business, as well as technology and innovation) and human resource development (covering best practices in education and training).
The projects are designed to drive internal reforms envisioned in the Thai government’s 20-Year Strategy, the 12(th) National Economic and Social Development Plan, and His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy”. Moreover, it will support Thailand’s efforts to achieving more inclusive growth as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The activities planned under the projects include policy reviews by international experts; participation of Thai agencies and officials in OECD bodies and projects; holding of joint seminars which will help Thailand with raising awareness and building capacity to further drive those reforms. A total of ten government agencies are involved, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) jointly playing a coordinating role.
Strategically located at the heart of mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand has become a natural “connector” of the subregion, underlined by the successful conclusion of the ACMECS Summit in June, where the first subregional Master Plan, which highlights the multinational aspect of “connectivity”, was launched. The Master Plan envisages filling the missing links on infrastructures along the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) as well as the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) within the next 2 years. It also emphasizes the need to establish an “ACMECS Fund” to drive the Master Plan forward. Thus, addressing investor confidence will be our priority. The Programme will therefore support such initiatives, allowing Thailand to assess itself by using the wealth of OECD expertise and best practices in a whole-of-government approach, in order to support our effort to raise our standard to higher level. Furthermore, the Thai – OECD Country Programme will also be a litmus test for Thailand’s readiness, should it decide to do so, to join the so-called “rich man’s club”.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tel: +662-203-5000 ext. 22050
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