Thailand is ready to work closely with other member states of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) for regional integration.
Speaking at the 68th Session of the UN-ESCAP, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra placed an emphasis on closer cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially in economic and social aspects.
In her statement at the session, held at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok from 17 - 23 May 2012, the Prime Minister pointed out that in order to achieve Asia-Pacific integration, every country needed to support the integration processes of various sub-regional groupings, such as ASEAN, saying that sub-regional frameworks could provide building blocs for the broader integration process.
She stated that Thailand and other ASEAN members have been working closely with UN-ESCAP in many projects, such as the establishment of the Tsunami Regional Trust Fund and the formulation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which includes Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway projects.
At the same session, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul was elected Chairperson of the 68th session of UN-ESCAP. He emphasized that connectivity would play a critical role for regional integration and cooperation. Moreover, enhanced connectivity can open up new economic trade routes, offer new trading opportunities, bring in investment, and allow people to come together.
In his statement at the session, Foreign Minister Surapong said that Thailand has recently funded approximately 1.5 billion baht in infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian region. He also explained that while infrastructure connectivity and full facilitation of trade and services are vital, enhancing people-to-people connectivity plays a key role in building a stable and prosperous community. This is significantly reflected in the building of a “We” feeling among people in ASEAN.
Meanwhile, the United Nations suggested that all Asia-Pacific nations should come closer together to sustain its dynamic growth and ecological health, in order to make prosperity more inclusive. Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of UN-ESCAP, urged the Asia-Pacific countries to raise the challenge of the transformational leadership needed to promote growth that was not only dynamic but also shared and sustainable.