Leveraging science to inform policy making and accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals in Thailand

The UN Resident Coordinator of Thailand, Gita Sabharwal, has increased the dynamic engagement of the UN Country Team in a multipronged approach aligned with national development priorities to support the Government of Thailand in delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • The Resident Coordinator set up a Youth Panel for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), comprised of young leaders, to serve as an advisory board to the Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team. The ideas and advice by the Youth Panel informed the development of the UN Sustainable Development cooperation Framework for Thailand (2022-2026) – the roadmap for sustainable development between the UN and the Government. The Panel also helped to make the UN more accessible to the public by curating the UN’s communications and advocacy campaigns. The young leaders on the Panel had the opportunity to engage with the UN Deputy Secretary General, the President of the UN General Assembly, and the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Envoy. They also voiced their perspectives at COP26 – the annual UN Conference on Climate Change through the Youth4Climate initiative.
  • A key area of focus has been in supporting the country to address climate change.  The Resident Coordinator leveraged the partnership with the Global Compact Network in Thailand by co-convening the private sector and capital market stakeholders, including banks, investors, and asset managers in a systematic dialogue, resulting in concrete commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. In her position as an independent, impartial Resident Coordinator, Ms. Sabharwal was able to convene this USD 1.3 trillion domestic investment community at scale for the first time, resulting in their commitment to sustainable financing, including via the  UN Principles of Responsible Banking and Investment – the principal global framework for sustainable banking and financing.
  • This process has contributed to the Government’s own carbon neutrality targets, which they brought forward to 2050.  In June 2022, the Resident Coordinator hosted a high-level meeting with the 76 Governors of Thailand, where they signed the Statement of Commitment for a Sustainable Thailand, a landmark pact which committed the governors to work with UN teams to scale up climate action at a sub-regional level, through technology transfer, waste management, biodiversity protection and ecological tourism.  

The Resident Coordinator has also played an important role to inform policy making.

  • The UN Country Team has collaborated with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), by leveraging emerging technology to accelerate SDG advocacy and programming in support of the Government. For instance, ESCAP satellite imagery has been used to track and identify sources of air pollution across the country, while UNOSAT satellite images assessed exposure to inform a compensation scheme for famers who lost their crops due to heavy flooding.
  • A 2022 joint analysis on social protection, implemented by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM, UN Migration), under the Resident Coordinator’s leadership, produced a series of policy recommendations to the Government to help lower levels of informality in the economy. These include insurance coverage of domestic workers with contributions from employee and employer and pilots for small enterprises in commerce, transport, and tourism.

Learn more about Coordination Results in Thailand in the video below. 

Asia and the Pacific

Gita Sabharwal

Resident Coordinator in Thailand