Annual Report 1998
 
 
 

Resident Co-ordinatorís
Annual Report for 1998

 
 

Part One of the Annual Report for 1998

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Contents

1.1. Implication of recent political and socio-economic trends for United Nations development assistance
1.2. Overview of the development assistance to the country
1.3. Highlights of United Nations assistance in support of national development objectives and priorities
1.4. Progress report on actions taken at the country level towards the implementation of the Secretary-General's Programme for Reform (A/51/950)
1.5. Composition of the United Nations country team
1.6. Composition and output of operational Theme Groups and/or Inter-Agency Task Forces

1.1. Implications of recent political and socio-economic trends for United Nations system development assistance

The currency and financial crisis that started in the middle of 1997 rapidly evolved into a severe economic crisis with wide-ranging social impact. The economy already stagnant in 1997, was expected to contract by 7-8 percent in 1998. However, the relatively stable political environment provided by Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai's government has allowed Thailand to make great strides toward overcoming the crisis, restoring Thailand's external strength, keeping inflation under control, and laying a strong basis for the resumption of growth in 1999. Since early 1998, when the currency started to stabilise, the Government has pursued a less conservative monetary and fiscal policy; with overall public sector deficit being allowed to increase to 5 percent of GDP, and lowering interest rates.

There is already, however, a serious social impact. Due to falling output and lower demand for labour, unemployment and lower wages have been the most immediate and direct social consequences. According to the World Bank's estimate, the crisis will push up the number of people below the poverty line from 9 million to 13 million or 23% of the population by the year 2000. Although the Government tried to protect the social sector budget, a sudden increase in the number of people who need the services, as they can no longer afford private hospitals and private schools, inevitably led to inadequate and lower-quality services. Some of these social impacts are discussed below.

Unemployment and falling labour demand. Economic decline, the corporate crisis, and a credit squeeze are causing lay-offs, real wage declines, weak demand for new labour market entrants, and falling margins in the informal sector. Whether the impact in a given sector is primarily through higher unemployment or lower wages depends on societal and economic structures. Unemployment in Thailand has increased and is expected to exceed 6 percent by year-end. This is not essentially an urban shock, despite the high profile of urban unemployment figures. Rural areas are affected by labour movements, production linkages, and intra-household relationships because of the highly integrated nature of the economies and the declining demand in urban areas. Increased under-employment and falling wages are widespread and indicators of a decline in well-being are greater than shown by open unemployment. Finally, there is evidence that women are disproportionately targeted for lay-offs as societies regress to traditional perceptions of men as the primary bread-winners.

Public spending squeeze. Public spending is being constrained by revenue falls, the effects of exchange rate changes on interest bills and the need to finance the increasing liabilities of the government in the financial sector and in corporate restructuring. Budgets were cut initially as part of the macroeconomic adjustment process. While fiscal targets have since been adjusted, public services may still suffer cutbacks creating both short-and-long-run impacts on households. Of particular concern are potentially irreversible effects on investments in human resources. Constraints may also mean funding is cut in areas that have a serious impact on relatively poor households.

Erosion of the social fabric. Economic stresses are leading to social and political problems. Rapid development has brought rising incomes and expectations in the past decades. It has also led to rapid social change, urbanisation, migration, and expansion of schooling. A sudden stop to the rapid growth can be expected to disturb the social equilibrium. These shocks will affect incomes, well-being, access to services, and will interact with the coping strategies that households adopt to protect their consumption levels. The effects on the poor will depend on the depth and duration of the macroeconomic recession and on whether distribution worsens or improves during the crisis.

Although financial conditions have continued to improve in Thailand during the year, a broader recovery has yet to be achieved. Financial and corporate restructuring has been the cornerstone of the Government's reform programme, with a number of direct measures also being taken to revive the real economy. These include: (i) raising the public sector deficit through carefully targeted expenditures on the social safety net, infrastructure, state enterprise investment, and accelerating project implementation; (ii) expediting tax refunds due to exporters and corporations, and temporarily postponing the payment of corporate income tax; (iii) providing externally-financed credit facilities, especially for small industries, and exporters; (iv) expanding rural infrastructure projects and supporting credit flows to the agricultural sector; (v) removing tax disincentives to corporate debt restructuring; and (vi) restructuring the borrowing operations of the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF), thereby helping extend maturities and reduce distortions in the money market.

The financial and economic crisis has led to a renewed reflection on the past development path which attached highest priority to rapid economic growth, and on the financial, business and development practices which had been taken for granted before the crisis. Many brainstorming sessions and debates within government and with civil society organizations, including the media, have been held. Many of the fundamental issues underlying the crisis such as transparency, accountability, public participation, empowerment, regulatory frameworks and corporate governance, emerged from these debates. They also reinforced the national awareness and consensus on the central role of good governance to achieve sustainable, balanced and equitable development. Many important steps were taken to institutionalise political, administrative, and social reforms as envisioned in the 1997 Constitution. The organic laws governing the election and political parties were duly enacted. The judicial review has been in place and active for the first time in Thai political history with the establishment of a Constitutional Court. According to the new constitution, several organic and other important laws are to be introduced within specific timeframes, many within two years, including those that concern the Administrative Court, the National Counter Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman, the State Audit Commissioner, the Referendum and the National Human Rights Commission.

Besides macro-economic measures to stimulate the overall economy, the Government launched many crisis-response government and loan programmes to mitigate adverse social impact. Most notable of which are the Social Investment Project funded by loans from the World Bank and the Overseas Economic and Co-operation Fund of Japan, and the Social Sector Programme Loan of the Asian Development Bank.

A positive outlook over the long run is that, the prolonged crisis has focused the Government's attention on social impact and short-term and long-term social policies, which were not among priority policy areas when the economy was prospering. The UN system played an important role in bringing this into focus and providing technical assistance for policy formulation and actual implementation. At the policy level, the need for a Social Agenda emerged from the series of UN system consultative meetings inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

1.2. Overview of the development assistance to the country

Although formal data is not yet available, the declining trend of ODA flows to Thailand reversed during 1998 in response to the economic crisis. The dominant item in discussing the ODA flows for Thailand in 1998 has been the implementation of the IMF led financial support that was agreed in Tokyo in August 1997. Pledged support for the package from the IMF, Multilateral and Bilateral donors totalled $17.2 billion. The IMF has disbursed $3 billion of the planned $4 billion stand-by agreement following several successful reviews during 1998.

A US$300 million loan from the World Bank for a social investment project will fund job creation for the poor and the unemployed through existing labour-intensive government programs; expand training for the unemployed; support low income health insurance schemes, small-scale community projects, and larger municipal projects; and set up a monitoring system to evaluate the impact of the crisis and of public action on the poor. The loan is expected to create roughly one million months of jobs and an equivalent amount of training. Also, a national poverty map will be drawn based on a nation-wide systematic participatory assessment which will be an important input for the policy debate on safety net mechanisms

In March 1998 the Thai Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed on a US$500 million loan to address the social impacts of Thailand's economic crisis. The Social Sector Program Loan (SSPL) is the biggest ever provided by the ADB. It is part of the Bank's US$1.2 billion share of the US$17.2 billion International Monetary Fund-led assistance package for Thailand. The Thai Government developed the SSPL program with assistance from the ADB, and in co-ordination with other donors and the UN system through the office of the UN Resident Co-ordinator. Based on its analysis of the impacts of the economic crisis on disadvantaged groups (including the poor, the unemployed, mothers and children, the elderly, the handicapped, etc.), the government asked ADB to assist in addressing needs of three key areas: Labour and social welfare; Education; and Health.

The SSPL takes a dual approach to mitigate short-term impacts of the crisis and to implement structural reforms to increase Thai economic competitiveness and to bring public service systems in line with the 1997 Constitution. Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board consulted with a number of agencies, including the UN system, to develop plans for long-range policy and structural changes.

The UN System is seen as having strong comparative advantages in its capacity to engage in genuine partnership with Thailand and to provide access to international experience and best practices in human development. The UN system programmes, such as Thai-UNCAP, are focused on the implementation of the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan aimed at promoting a people-centred, holistic development. The approach is in line with the consensus of the Social Summit and other global conferences. Thai-UNCAP can therefore be seen as a planning and action system designed to institute partnership between the Government agencies, NGOs, the private sector and the UN System in follow-up to the global agendas. It has now been adopted as an important model and mechanism for responding to the social impact of the crisis at the local level through participatory and collaborative efforts of local partners. The UN system has also played an important role in carrying out initial assessments of the social impact of the crisis as well as the effectiveness of the Government and external response programmes.

A. Summary table of total development assistance in 1997.


 
Source of Aid 
 
US Dollars
Percentage
Multilateral      
UN system (excluding the IFIs)      
  Grants
$14,000,000
12%
  Loans
0
0%
World Bank      
  Grants
0
0%
  Loans
$396,000,000
5%
Other IFIs      
  Grants
0
0%
  Loans
$250,000,000
3%
Non-United Nations system      
  Grants 
0
0%
  Loans 
$2,880,000,000
34%
Bilateral      
  Grants
$84,300,000
75%
  Loans
$4,912,000,000
58%
Sub-total ODA      
  Grants
$88,300,000
87%
  Loans 
$8,438,000,000
100%
NGOs   
$14,100,000
13%
Total development assistance
     
  Grants
$112,400,000
100%
  Loans
$8,438,000,000
100%

 

B. Official Development Assistance (ODA) by type in 1997.


 
ODA by type
US Dollars 
Percentage
Investment Project Assistance 
$46,000,000
1%
Technical co-operation 
$112,000,000
1%
Programme/budgetary aid or
Balance-of-payments support
$8,392,000,000
98%
Food aid
Emergency and relief assistance/Humanitarian assistance
Total 
$8,550,000,000
100%

 

C. United Nations system Official Development Assistance in 1997


 
Funds, Programmes and Agencies
US Dollars
FAO
$376,127
UNDCP 
$196,000
UNDP
$4,048,000
UNEP
$402,000
UNESCO
$102,750
UNFPA 
$1,470,000
UNICEF 
$4,352,781
UNIDO 
$420,000
UNIFEM
$3,000
UNHCR
$32,500
WHO
$2,273,028
IOM 
$104,000
ESCAP 
$9,000
ICAO
zero
ILO 
$781,000
IMF
$2,880,000,000
ITU 
$2,000
UPU
$16,000
World Bank
$396,441,407

 

1.3. Highlights of United Nations assistance in support of national development objectives and priorities

The UN Resident Co-ordinator System in Thailand has worked together on several innovative interventions which are based on broad national "partnership" efforts in areas critical to the emerging opportunities and challenges of the country. The approach has emphasised active participation and collaboration of all partners, and focused on supporting democratic processes at local community levels as well as addressing pressing neglected issues and the social impact of the economic crisis.

1.3.1 Response to Social Impact of Economic Crisis

Following the onset of the financial and economic crisis in Thailand in mid 1997, the Resident Co-ordinator System undertook a series of National Dialogue and Consultative Meetings bringing together government agencies, private sector and civil society organisations, the UN system and international donors to consider critical policy issues especially relevant to the social impact. These activities examined the underlying causes of the crisis and the impact on human development. For instance, all UN agencies participated in a joint consultative meeting organised through the Office of the Prime Minister on 5 March 1998 on the Social Impact of the Economic Crisis and Responses from the Government, Private Sector, Civil Society and International Community. The meeting endorsed the need to re-examine the social agenda emphasising public participation, empowerment and an enabling environment, commitment to good governance and decentralisation of government bureaucracies.

In May 1998, at a high level consultation between UN development experts, government and non-government leaders, the UN System proposed and drafted a framework for rapid recovery. The framework is entitled, A Peopled-Centred Development Strategy for Rapid Recovery in Thailand, and consists of four components:

1. Reflate the Thai Economy
2. Promote more Equitable Growth
3. Strengthen the Social Contract with the People
4. Manage Globalisation Better
The UN system also identified 19 possible areas where it could collaborate with Thai institutions to implement the strategies and components many of which were subsequently pursued and supported by respective UN agencies. Several UN agencies are responding to these needs in a well co-ordinated manner, based on the above frameworks that have been jointly developed with Government, through their respective studies and programmes. Examples include: UNICEF (assessment of the impact of the crisis on education; and campaign to mitigate school dropouts); WHO (assessment of the impact of the crisis on health and health services); ILO (technical assistance to improve the labour force survey and reliable database on employment/unemployment; promotion of small and medium enterprises for employment regeneration; improvement of social safety nets); UNIDO (rural industry); UNDP (decentralisation of the civil service; skills training for laid off workers; governance programmes; rural poverty alleviation programme); UNFPA (assessment of the impact of the crisis on the population programme including the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action).

Partly as a result of the UN consultative process, the Royal Thai Government created a cabinet-level Social Policy Committee (SPC) chaired by the Prime Minister, to oversee and co-ordinate policy and programme review and development in the social sector, particularly in light of the current economic crisis and its adverse social consequences. At the request of the SPC, the UN system supported its Secretariat in the preparations and conducting of an SPC Workshop Retreat which was held on 12-13 November 1998 at Sampran. The workshop was chaired and attended by the Prime Minister. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a clear policy framework, strategy and action plan of the SPC to deal with the social issues of the crisis. The workshop was successful in focussing the members of the committee on the potential for a greater involvement of the Thai people themselves as the primary resource for responding to the crisis. The workshop considered the opportunity and need for a greater focus on "community empowerment" as well as the reform of Government services to support local initiatives. The workshop considered several key policy measures and reforms such as a decentralised budget allocations system, tax reform, re-orientation of the civil service at the field level, legal reforms, the role of the media, and private sector responsibilities. The workshop agreed to establish four Work Groups to develop specific areas of follow up, viz.: networking; knowledge-based policy development; attitude change in the public service; and holistic budget mechanisms.

A major reform anticipated by the workshop discussions is the consolidation of Government services at the local level, utilising a "one stop service centre" or similar mechanism and approach. Subsequent to the workshop, the Prime Minister has vigorously promoted this concept and goal. Following the workshop and based on its deliberation and conclusions, the SPC Secretariat with the continuing support of a UN system consultant is pursuing a follow up to the workshop. In this regard the attached "National Social Policy Committee Workshop Outcomes: A Vision of a Coherent Follow-Up" paper has been developed and is guiding the Secretariat work. This was consolidated into a 'Cabinet Paper' which was submitted, reviewed and endorsed by the Cabinet on 1 December 1998. The SPC Secretariat will hold a Secretariat workshop facilitated by the UN consultant to further develop the paper and Cabinet endorsement into an operational action plan.

In parallel the UN system is planning its further collaboration to support the SPC action programme. In this regard a workshop of the UN system and the Secretariat will be held in early 1999 to consider the range and most appropriate means of providing UN support to jointly pursue and provide technical back up and advice in the implementation of the action plan.

A major focus of UN System advocacy has been to reduce the negative social impacts. The success of this advocacy can be seen in the progressive relaxation of the IMF budgetary requirements through the year. This has released more than US$ 200 million to be used to support implementation of social sector measures. This UN response in Thailand addresses most of the issues identified in the Action Plan: The United Nations Response to the Challenge of Globalisation, for countries directly affected by the financial crisis in East Asia and elsewhere.

The UN System collaborated closely with the Government and ADB during negotiations for a three-year Social Sector Programme Loan. As indicated above, the loan, estimated at US$ 500 million, outlines certain policy measures that the Government will undertake with regard to three important sectors - labour market and social welfare, education and health. The social welfare aspects include medical, maternity, disability, and death benefits for laid-off workers. In education, the objective of the programme is to: minimise the incidence of drop-outs; protect operational budgets for teacher training and instructional materials in science, mathematics, and foreign language education; In health, reallocate the budget toward health programmes for the poor and re-deploying health staff to rural areas; and maintain programme coverage for maternal, child health, and HIV/AIDS activities. It will provide balance of payment assistance, along with grant technical assistance for necessary policy adjustment.

Emanating from the UN consultations, the Government has now finalised the Social Investment Project with the World Bank and UNDP. The project, estimated at US$ 460 million, will provide supplementary resources over a period of three years for the Government to support ongoing government programmes to address unemployment, loss of income and the higher costs of social services arising from the crisis. The activities will include public works in Bangkok and construction of water weirs in rural areas; expanded vocational training for the unemployed; improved and increased subsidies for health insurance under the Low-Income and Voluntary Health Card schemes; and promotion of rural industries. The project also includes the formulation and launch of a Social Investment Fund (SIF), a non-government grant facility for community-initiated development projects. The fund will support and hence empower communities, promote participation and decentralisation, support local governments' investment programmes, and forge a broad-based development partnership involving civil society. The UNDP is collaborating with the Government and the World Bank to fund TA support to the management system of the SIF, including on-going monitoring and evaluation.

In this way the Government, the private sector, civil society, and the UN System are working toward a positive outcome to the economic crisis, and in particular, to a lessening of its social impact. Moreover, all parties have emphasised the need to chart a path toward long-term adjustment, to develop a social system that places strong emphasis on people-centred development through genuine co-operation and partnership, to strengthen the social safety net at the family, community, and societal levels, and to promote good governance.

1.3.2 Trafficking of Women and Children

With the rapid and varying economic and political developments, and social transformations of the last decade in countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region, trafficking of people has become an increasingly complex and serious reality and too often an abuse of basic human rights. Some of the factors exacerbating the trafficking phenomena in the region have been the improvements in the transport infrastructure, the opening of border crossings, the widening economic and social gap between some countries in the region in terms of opportunities for improving basic standards of living.

Numerous governmental and non-governmental agencies and eight of the UN agencies, ESCAP, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNIFEM, have addressed the trafficking of women and children independently. Under the framework of the Resident Co-ordinator System, these UN agencies in late 1997 and early 1998 formed a working group together with UNDCP and two NGOs to jointly assess the problem, and to tackle it collectively by developing common proposals. Similarly national governments are also looking to a more regional, multi-sectoral approach. In realising these dynamics, it became apparent that a UN sub-regional response could be initiated in complementing and reinforcing current initiatives on trafficking by facilitating inter-agency, cross-border and sub regional collaboration and communication. In addition, the UN system can support and facilitate a program of activities addressing the root causes of trafficking, activities offering legal, physical and psychological protection and empowerment to persons who are or have been trafficked; activities addressing the future of women and children who have survived trafficking; and activities assisting the most vulnerable, such as ethnic minorities and highland residents.

The complexity of the issue requires a truly collaborative and innovative approach in recognition of the fact that trafficking is connected to a vast number of developmental issues: poverty, social inequality, migration, refugee status, gender, domestic violence, labour, legal, education, rights, and health. The UN agencies are in the unique position of having the expertise and networks, including both governmental and non-governmental organisations, in all these areas; and offer the chance for a co-ordinated, strong and effective response to combat the exploitation and abuse of women and children being trafficked. Without such a response, the situation and the lives of tens/hundreds of thousands can only worsen.

While many of the UN agencies have been involved in anti-trafficking initiatives on an individual basis, they realise that collaborative actions could achieve more widespread results. In 1998 the UN Working Group on Trafficking in the Mekong Region completed a needs assessment (see attached report), which covered the Mekong sub-region and involved consultations with a large number of concerned parties at all levels. Based on this assessment the Working Group overviewed the formulation by a Task Force of a project proposal. This was eventually submitted and received funding of $2.2 million by the Turner Foundation (UNFIP) to implement the project over a three year period.

The UN Working Group on Trafficking continued to meet and plan the detailed preparations for launching the project in early 1999, including the establishment of a core project office (Project Manager), a sub-regional Steering Committee, and six National Project Committees (and National Project Co-ordinators). The project will support research; a data base on trafficking; and a wide range of activities for prevention/education; rescue and resettlement; and law enforcement.

This programme is considered a model of actual UN system joint programming, from early joint needs assessment to joint planning, formulation and implementation through the highly operational UN Working Group which provides continuous technical advice, backup and support.

1.3.3 Thai United Nation Collaborative Action Plan

In response to the mandate and national agenda set by the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan for "people-centred development", the UN system in Thailand has concentrated on a collaborative effort to support the active implementation of the Plan, especially at local grass-roots levels. For this purpose, the Thailand-United Nations Collaborative Action Plan (Thai-UNCAP) was launched in March 1997. Thai-UNCAP is a Thai-UN development partnership between government agencies, local communities, the private sector, NGOs, knowledge institutions and the UN agencies. Thai-UNCAP programmes and projects aim to empower local communities to alleviate poverty and to ensure access to basic services and the protection of particularly vulnerable groups in four pilot provinces in four regions and a selected Bangkok district. Its distinctiveness lies in the "process" that bases development activities on the empowerment of communities and social institutions through bottom-up planning, management and implementation. In contrast to traditional, top-down, programmes from line agencies, Thai-UNCAP takes the critical time and effort to invest in human capacities and to create people's ownership and commitment essential to sustainable long-term results. The pilot areas and pilot projects of Thai-UNCAP put into practice the "holistic people-centred development approach" espoused by the Eighth Plan.

The pilot areas were chosen based on poverty criteria through consultations of the Ministry of Interior and NESDB. A series of initial provincial level meetings identified local partners. Participatory workshops provided training for men and women "facilitators" drawn from Provincial and District Government officials, Tambon and Village leaders, local NGOs, school teachers and business people. These facilitators have worked with their communities on the identification and implementation of gender sensitive poverty alleviation activities, using participatory planning and needs assessment processes at the Tambon and village level with support from the partnership groups. Training and activities for each pilot area are shown in table 1.

During 1998, the Thai-UNCAP process was fully implemented and resulted in concrete development initiatives by local communities in all 5 pilot areas. For example facilitators in Pattani Province in southern Thailand formed teams to include the participation of local leaders, the village chiefs, local school teachers, and community development and public health officers. These people actively involve members of their communities to identify problems and needs. The facilitator team of Bangkao village went ahead to initiate and organise a meeting of their community. The meetings included participation by a group of homemakers, youth, and village committees. Local initiatives/projects of Bangkao village include an equitable reallocation of unused land for vegetable and cash crops and a self-financed activity of the local women's group in making traditional Muslim school uniforms for students. In Bangobulong village, meetings are held regularly after the Friday religious service at the community mosque. An example of locally initiated and self-reliant activities was the invention and application of a simple drilling machine to search for underground water to provide wells to water the local rubber tree nurseries. Other community-driven activities included planting pesticide-free vegetables, improving local co-operative stores, increasing participation of women in community development activities, and the building of a sport centre for local youth groups. The Minister of Foreign Affairs visited several Thai-UNCAP activities in Pattani in August 1998

In Yannawa District, a low income area in Bangkok, the Chao Praya community is implementing a project to improve child care services. It includes the construction of a community child care centre and improving the quality of the existing services, the provision of teachers and a survey to identify unmet needs. The Klong Kwang Community has started a local savings group and community women are receiving training on income generating activities from the Yannawa Rotary Club. UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDCP have funded an NGO in the areas of reproductive health and childcare needs assessment. The environment and sanitation network in the district are carrying out a land use survey to identify environmental issues.

In Payao Province in northern Thailand, Thai-UNCAP is working to promote the quality of life of disadvantaged women and children currently supported by UNICEF and with the collaborative drug prevention programme of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board. UNICEF was designated a lead agency for the pilot in Phayao province. Two External Change Agents have been facilitating the process for participatory development. Over the past year, the change agents have been collaborating with various local bodies particularly the Sub-district Administrative Organisation (TAO) to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged. Presently at the sub-district level there is a working group (5 members) to assist the External Change Agents in efforts to empower the poor and disadvantaged families by helping them to assess their situation and problems, plan and take necessary actions as well as monitoring and evaluation. These families were also provided opportunities to learn from others through field visits and training. A number of groups were formed and are presently involved in efforts to strengthen their family livelihood with special focus on the rights of their children particularly with respect to health, education and protection. Local youths were trained and involved in various development activities such as income generating activities including food and bamboo shoot preservation, fish farming and handicraft production. These activities are managed by the communities and include the use of Thai-UNCAP small grant funds. Community drug demand reduction activities have been integrated with development activities and have included assistance in food production and the establishment of community saving groups. FAO carried out a technical review of small-scale agricultural irrigation proposals developed by two villages. In terms of overall development management, civil society groups in several villages are working with the local administration to produce a development plan and budget for the Tambon. This is a significant step for decentralised public administration with effective community involvement.

In Petchburi Province, Thai-UNCAP working with local civic groups and the local government has assisted villagers in food processing activities to increase incomes. Networking to improve marketing and distribution of the produce has included the private sector. Fishing communities in Bangkhunsai Tambon, Banlam District have devised and implemented environmentally sustainable cockle production systems. Bangkao Tambon, Cha-am District has mobilised support for an environment assessment for plans to upgrade an access canal to increase fishery production. Several villages in Thayang District have begun implementing a self sufficient, sustainable agricultural system first outlined by the King of Thailand.

To achieve the above results in each area, the following are examples of the Thai-UNCAP process activities that were implemented:
 

Table 1 - UN System Support Activities and Training by Thai-UNCAP Pilot Area
Pilot Area
Training
Activities
General    UNDCP provided financial support for planning consultant
Payao  35 Facilitators trained in August - September 1997 to work in 7 pilot villages
Planning Workshop, March 1998.
Villagers involved in TAO development budget planning 
43 proposals generated by grassroots groups targeting income generation and small saving schemes, UNICEF supporting 10 proposals. UNDCP, ONCB and Bangchak Petroleum also supporting activities. FAO assisting irrigation projects.
By mid 98 an holistic, people centred TAO development plan agreed.
Pattani  6 Tambons and Facilitators identified. Operations room established for working groups to support groups activities. Initial micro-projects include youth skills development, drug prevention, and local marketing. Other activities include chicken raising, fish raising and improving family relations
Yannawa  Community Groups formed, Training in Childcare and reproductive health by NGO funded by UNFPA, UNDCP & UNICEF  3 projects commenced including: a childcare centre established, women groups engaged in income-generating activities, environmental land-use survey; and community savings groups formed.
Petchburi  Facilitators trained in October 1997, Expanding Partnership Exercise in November 1997
Planning Workshop in June 1998
10 grassroot's group proposals include food processing, co-operative stores, and environmental conservation. Private sector involvement includes S&P Company, Chareon Pokphand and Bangchak Petroleum. TAT involved in eco-tourism proposal from Bangkunsai Tambon. Other activities include pig raising and mushroom growing.
Mahasarakham Planning Workshop in February 1998. Training of 150 members of working committees in the targeted districts and tambons in Sept 1998  Provincial Sub-Committee adopted work programme in May 1998. UNICEF activities on-going 

In terms of the role of the UN system, the objective of Thai-UNCAP is to promote enhanced UN System collaboration and effectiveness as partners with increased capacity to support community needs. Besides involvement in the community identification, participation and capacity building process in the pilot areas, at least two UN Agencies have teamed together in each of the Thai-UNCAP pilot areas to facilitate UN System support in the respected areas (see table 2). The UN System is also supporting the Thai-UNCAP core operational support team to develop a participatory monitoring and evaluation system to ensure regular feedback and improvement of the approach.

The Thai-UNCAP process is bringing together groups in Thai society that have not traditionally worked together in a participatory way. The approach is providing benefits to all the partners in the process. Villagers and community members are benefiting from increased employment and income generating activities, local government officials are achieving more efficient and effective use of budgetary and local resources, and the number of civil society groups and their activities are increasing. At the first workshop to exchange experiences from Thai-UNCAP in November 1998 the discussion focussed on: (i) Appropriate way to promote participation in community development; (ii) the role of TAO and outsiders in the participation process; (iii) the learning network; and (iv) expansion of Thai-UNCAP.
 

Table 2 - Lead UN Agencies by Thai-UNCAP Pilot Area
UN Agency 
Pilot Area 
Other Programme Activities
ESCAP  Pattani and Petchburi  Poverty Alleviation and Social Integration
FAO  Mahasarakham  FARM Programme
ILO Petchburi Income Generation
UNDCP  Payao, Pattani and Yannawa  Drug Demand Reduction
UNDP 
Petchburi, Yannawa, Payao, Mahasarakham and Pattani 
SHD and Poverty Alleviation
UNESCO  Payao  Formal and Non-Formal Education
UNFPA  Pattani, Yannawa and Payao  Reproductive Health and Education for Moslem Adolescents, Development and Management of Reproductive Health Peer Education.
UNICEF  Payao, Mahasarakham and Yannawa  Participatory Programme for Improving the Quality of Life of Children in Disadvantaged Families.
UNIDO  Yannawa and Mahasarakham Rural Industrialisation
UNIFEM  Yannawa  Gender Mainstreaming

 

The third meeting of the Thai-UNCAP Partnership Board took place in the pilot province of Payao in the North on 4 November 1998. The presence of the Prime Minister, Mr. Chuan Leekpai and Khunying Supatra Masdit, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office, at the meeting and the field visit in Payao marked a special importance not only of the event but also of the process and progress of Thai-UNCAP as a model of community empowerment relevant to a more "self reliant" response to the economic and social crisis. The meeting reviewed the periodic evaluation report of Thai-UNCAP activities, and also scrutinised progress made in each pilot area and discussed mechanisms and strategies applied to achieve community empowerment. The Board noted the success of the participatory development process and partnership approach where all parties in the community, i.e. villagers, government officials, NGOs, private organisations and learning institutes, work closely together and learn from each other. The Board endorsed the work plan of Thai-UNCAP for 1999 (see section 2.5) which will focus on: (i) strengthening and expansion of the participatory development process in the existing pilot areas and in other areas; (ii) mobilising resources from the Government, private sector, donors and UN system to support the community-driven process and activities; and (iii) applying the approach and lessons learned from Thai-UNCAP as one modality for community empowerment in the national development schemes particularly for the crisis-response purposes. A report of the meeting is attached.

1.4. Progress report on actions taken at the country level towards the implementation of the Secretary-General's Programme for Reform (A/51/950)

A number of initiatives undertaken by the United Nations family in Thailand are in line with the implementation of activities as outlined in the Secretary-General's reform programme. Important among these are reforms aimed at making the UN system work as one at the country level as called for within the UNDAF context and administratively through shared and common services.

1.4.1 Common Country Assessment (CCA) For Thailand

There are many assessments of the development situation in Thailand but rarely have these been undertaken by teams representing different institutions and never by the United Nation's agencies as a whole. The CCA, as conceived in Thailand, was driven not by the search for indicators, but by the actual development issues facing the country itself as identified by the agencies in joint consultation. The CCA for Thailand is, thus, as much a process of consultation and participation among some 20 UN agencies as it would be a product. The fundamental premise is therefore to establish a framework through which the agencies could work together to produce a common assessment of Thailand's development needs.

Several alternative strategies of dividing up the seamless web that covers the whole spectrum of development issues were considered and the group decided that the best strategy was to adopt the framework used in the Eighth National Development Plan for Thailand. This divided the issues into the following clusters:

Poverty and inequality
Governance and human rights
Education
Health and nutrition
Working life
Family life
Environment
As a process, the CCA has been a success. The degree of interest and commitment shown by the various UN agencies has been impressive and it has been clear that there is considerable talent within the United Nations system. Whether the approach adopted in Thailand can be used as a model for other countries would depend upon the number of UN personnel available locally. Bangkok is fortunate to have the regional offices of several of the major agencies present as well as the Regional Commission. Hence, the Resident Co-ordinator for Thailand was fortunate to have a large pool of expertise available upon which to draw. Any difficulties lay not so much in the area of inter-agency collaboration, as in the fact that initially some staff saw themselves as essentially on the programming side of implementation rather than on the more analytic and policy side required by the CCA. This has decidedly changed over nearly one year of close collaboration and the final product is a concise analysis and summary of the main development challenges currently facing Thailand.

The CCA document also includes a brief background analysis of Thailand's compliance with the major UN Global Conferences, and has adopted a core set of common indicators for tracking and eventually evaluating national and UN supported development activity.

The CCA draft was completed at the end of the year and shared with Government for further consultation and finalisation. It serves as an excellent framework for a UNDAF exercise now foreseen to commence in mid 1999.

1.4.2 Common Services

The operations of the ICSC Common System (DSA rates, salary surveys, hardship reviews etc), security management, pouch services and UN dispensary are already being managed on a UN system basis. The guidelines for the Administrative Management of the Resident Co-ordinator System were received from the UN Development Group Office in respect of the Secretary-General's Programme of United Nations Reform. As required under its Governance section, this subject was discussed on 22 October 1998 in the UN Country Team comprising of the Heads of all Resident Agencies. It was decided to establish a UN Management Committee for Common Premises and Services represented by the Administrative Heads of the participating agencies to explore the possibilities of handling administrative services on a UN system basis. The first meeting of the UN Management Committee has already been held and the process initiated.

1.5. Composition of the United Nations system country team

UN Resident Co-ordinator: Mr. Michael Heyn

Funds, Programmes and Agencies represented: Name and title of representatives:

(a) Based in the country:

ESCAP Mr. Adrianus Mooy, Executive Secretary
FAO Dr. Prem Nath, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
IBRD Mr. Jayasankar Shivakumar, Country Director
ICAO Mr. Lalit B. Shah, Regional Representative
ILO Ms. Mitsuko Horiuchi, Assistant Director-General
Mr. Siwu Lu, Officer-in-Charge, Bangkok Area Office
IMF Mr. Reza Moghadam, Resident Representative
IOM Ms. Regina Boucault, Regional Representative
ITU Dr. Michael Calvano, Co-ordinator ai. Regional Office for Asia & Pacific
UNCHS (HABITAT) Mr. Peter Swan, Senior Programme Adviser
UNDCP Mr. Christian Kornevall, Representative, Regional Centre for East Asia & Pacific
UNEP Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Director and Regional Representative
UNESCO Mr. Rupert Maclean, Officer-in-Charge, APRO
UNFPA Dr. Sheila Macrae, UNFPA Country Representative
UNHCR Ms. Amelia Bonifacio, Regional Representative for Thailand and Cambodia
UNICEF Mr. Kul Gautum, Regional Director, Mr. Fida Shah, Officer-in-Charge for Thailand
UNIDO Vacant
UNIFEM Ms. Lorraine Corner, Regional Programme Adviser
UPU Mr. Piyatep Canungmai, National Associate Expert
WHO Dr. Edward B. Doberstyn, WHO Representative
UNAIDS Mr. William Beachner, Acting Team Leader

(b) Outside the country :

None

1.6. Composition and Output of Theme Groups and/or Inter-Agency Task Forces

During 1998, the UN Resident Co-ordinator system has consolidated and focused the various UN and Thai partner theme groups on the common concerns and urgent issues of the social impact of the economic crisis. Several Joint UN Theme Group meetings involving all UN agencies, International and Thai partners have been co-ordinated therefore by the UN Resident Co-ordinator. For example, in June and October all agencies met to discuss the Social Sector Laon Programme financed by the Asian Development Bank. The UN agencies provided valuable input to the ADB technical assistance projects. At another meeting with all UN Agencies as well as donors a dialogue was held with the Secretary of the Social Policy Committee. The Social Policy Committee (SPC) was established by the Thai Government to co-ordinate efforts to support the Thai people to respond to the social impact of the economic crisis. The UN Joint Theme Groups met further to prepare for a collaborative support of an SPC workshop retreat, which was held on 13 and 14 November 1998, and addressed by the Prime Minister. Other Theme Group meetings identified crisis focused sub-groups for further dialogue (with a lead agency identified for each): Impact on the urban poor, World Bank; Employment Regeneration: Some Approaches and Activities, ILO; Education monitoring and information, non-formal education, UNESCO; Impact on children, UNICEF; Impact on Women, UNIFEM. These lead agencies have assumed a facilitating role in bringing the UN together on these issues.

Besides this Joint UN Theme Group approach to the crisis other issues/programmes specific UN Theme Groups have operated effectively in 1998. Under the framework of the Resident Co-ordinator System and as indicated above, UN agencies formed a working group on Trafficking in Women and Children in the Mekong Sub-region (CPR, CMB, LAO, MYA, THA, VIE). As explained above, a $2.3 million project, approved by the UNF (Turner Fund), will be implemented under a UN system approach through this inter-agency UN Working Group to provide coordination; to avoid duplication in activities and fill gaps; work with both Governments and NGOs; mobilize community based experiences in the areas of prevention, protection, reintegration and enforcement. UNDP serves as the lead agency in this inter-agency group comprised of: ESCAP, ILO/IPEC, IOM, UNAIDS, UNDCP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNDP, and most recently, OHCHR; and 3 NGOs: Asia Net, ECPAT, MRLC. The Project will focus on reducing the overall numbers of women and children trafficked.

A further UN Theme Group has focused on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. UNAIDS is the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Through the co-sponsors and other partners, UNAIDS leads and catalyses an expanded response to the epidemic to improve prevention and care, reduce people's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, and alleviate the epidemic's devastating public health and economic impact.

In Thailand, the UNAIDS Theme Group was established in 1996, composed of the resident representatives of all UNAIDS cosponsors namely: UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, WHO, the World Bank and other UN organisations working on AIDS-related activities: UNDCP and UNIFEM. The Chairperson of the Theme Group rotates among the members annually or biannually. The UNDP Resident Co-ordinator chaired the Theme Group in 1996, followed by the UNICEF Country Representative in 1997 and the WHO Representative in 1998-1999. The Technical Working Group comprising staff designated by the resident representatives of each UN organisation carries out joint planning and oversees the collaborative activities. The Theme Group and the Technical Working Group work in collaboration with NGOs, groups of people living with HIV/AIDS, relevant governmental organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, private sector, academic and research institutions.

In 1998, a plan of action for 1998-1999 activities under the Thailand UNAIDS Theme Group was formulated with the support of the Strategic Planning and Development Funds from UNAIDS Geneva. Areas of focus, activities with time frame, expected outcome, budget, executing and implementing agencies were identified. 12 projects proposed from governmental, non-governmental agencies and academic institutions were supported under this plan of action with the total amount of USD200, 000. Subjects included care and support, prevention of drug abuse, compassion for people living with HIV/AIDS, information sharing, promotion of roles of local authorities in HIV/IADS work, research and development and promotion of best practices. In 1998 these have included: Regular sharing of information on the activities funded by each agency; - Organisation and support for special Donors and NGOs meetings; - Support to specific mass communication activities promoting compassion with people living with HIV or AIDS; - Preparation of a strategic plan of action for UNAIDS collaboration for 1998-1999 that will focus on the following areas where gaps or needs for innovative work were identified: Improving children attitudes in relation to AIDS; Strengthening the response to the epidemic in the South; Policy definition on preventive activities in drug users; Advocacy and capacity building to strengthen the response of Sub-District Administration to AIDS. Among the most significant outputs identified in some of the projects implemented are: - increased community awareness on children affected by AIDS (their specific needs and opportunities for a consistent response, including the area of emotional support); the organisation of District or TAO based plans for a response to AIDS that comprehends special attention to children affected by AIDS.

Part Two of the Annual Report
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List of publications attached to Resident Co-ordinator Report

Social Impact

Report of the Meeting, - Consultative Meeting on Social Impact of the Economic Crisis and Responses from the Government, Private Sector, Civil Society and International Community, 5 March 1998.

Responding to the Thai Economic Crisis, UNDP Working Paper, May 1998.

Responding to the Economic Crisis and Impact on Human Development in Thailand, May 1998.

A People-Centred Development Strategy for Rapid Recovery in Thailand, UNDP Thailand, June 1998.

Mitigating the Social Impact of the Economic Crisis: A Review of the Royal Thai Government's Responses by Santosh Mehrotra, Ph. D. (Cantab.), Economic Advisor, UNICEF, New York, August 1998.

The National Social Policy Committee Workshop Outcomes: A Vision of a Coherent Follow-up, November 1998.

Action Plan for Launching the Holistic Crisis Response Organisation for Community Empowerment, SPC, December 1998.

UN System Response to the Economic Crisis and Its Social Impact - January 1999:
Thailand
Republic of Korea
Vietnam
The Philippines
Malaysia
Lao PDR
Indonesia
Inter-Country Level

Thai-UNCAP

Thai-UNCAP Newsletter, Volume 2 Issue 1, January 1998.
Thai-UNCAP Newsletter, Volume 2 Issue 2, May-August 1998.
Summary Report of Thai-UN Partnership Board Meeting 1/2541, 4 November 1998.
Interim Report - Thai-UNCAP Poverty Strategies Initiative: Capacity Building and Strategy on Poverty Alleviation, November 1998.

Cross-border Trafficking in Women and Children

Needs Assessment on Cross-border Trafficking in Women and Children - the Mekong Sub-Region -, 20 February 1998.

Project Document for Trafficking in Women and Children in the Mekong Sub-Region, December 1998.

CCA

Draft CCA Document

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