The following is an extract of Thailand's Eighth Economic and Social
Development Plan (1997-2001), downloaded from the website
Chapter 1: Objectives, targets and strategies
Chapter 2: Rehabilitation of natural resources and environments
Chapter 3: Promotion of Popular Participation in Natural Resource and Environmental Management
Chapter 4: Improving Natural Resource and Environmental Management
PART VI : Natural resource and environmental management
The recent history of Thailand's development has seen huge amounts of natural
resources being utilised, under inadequate and inappropriate management systems,
in order to increase national income and upgrade living standards. While the
benefits in terms of rapid economic growth are clear, a number of problems have
accompanied them. Over-exploitation has resulted in unprecedented depletion and
deterioration of Thailand's natural wealth, and has thus affected the Kingdom's
economic stability. Competition for access to resources has given rise to social
conflicts. Poor management of exploitation has led to an increase in the number
of natural disasters. The far greater emphasis placed on the expansion of
economic activity, with concomitant expansion of urban communities, than on
environmental concerns has allonwed pollution problems to develop to the point
where they are hazardous to life and health.
In order that environments and natural resources can serve as factors
contributing to sustainable development and better quality of life, it is vital
for the Eighth Plan to incorporate the urgent conservation and rehabilitation of
natural resources and to protect both urban and rural environments.
Local people and community organisations should be urged to play an
increasingly active role in the management of natural resources and
environments. Economic instruments should be used for controlling and
supervising utilisation and management in this respect. Furthermore, restraint
and greater efficiency should be promoted, so that natural resources can be used
to the greatest possible advantage for the economy as a whole, while having the
least possible environmental impact. Thailand should also play a greater role in
international resource management at both regional and global levels.
Chapter 1: Objectives, targets and strategies
In order that environments and natural resources are maintained in a
condition in which they are of lasting benefit to the quality of life of the
Thai people and to national development, the Eighth Plan sets out the following
objectives for their management:
1.1 To ensure utilisation of natural resources is counter-balanced by
rehabilitation and protection programmes.
1.2 To promote more effective management, involving the collaboration of
various different sectors of society, so as to achieve greater balance in
ecosystems and environments. Opportunities will be provided for local people
and organisations to play a greater role in natural resource and
environmental conservation in their own communities, with support from the
public sector, academic experts, NGOs and business enterprises.
2.1 For enhancing the quality of
life of individuals and communities:
(1) Rehabilitate and protect forest areas covering no less than 25
percent of the entire Kingdom, and demarcate reserve forest zones,
within the period of the Eighth Plan.
(2) Give reserve forest status to no less than one million rai of
mangrove forest by the end of the Eighth Plan period, in order to
safeguard environmental balance and bio-diversity.
(3) Promote proper natural resource management systems for community
forests so as to protect the environment and develop the quality of life
of local people.
(4) Ensure water quality does not fall below 1996 standards in
rivers, seas, coastal areas and all natural water resources, with
particular emphasis on the lower Chao Phraya River, the Tha Chin River,
pollution control zones and major tourist destinations. This will ensure
conditions are appropriate to sustain aquatic life.
(5) Monitor and maintain air quality in cities and pollution control
zones in line with national standards. Limit noise pollution in order to
minimise damage to people's hearing.
(6) Upgrade the garbage collection capacity of municipality and
sanitary districts, and promote safe disposal of hazardous waste.
(7) Promote proper and complete disposal of contaminated waste in
both public and private hospitals.
2.2 For improving economic production:
(1) Reduce areas affected by soil erosion by no less than one million
rai every year of the Eighth Plan period.
(2) Solve other soil problems which make land unusable for
agriculture, such as soil salinity, soil acidity and lack of necessary
micro- organisms, on no less than one million rai of land during the
Eighth Plan period.
(3) Formulate a plan for the rehabilitation of Thailand's marine
environments. This plan will focus on the conservation, rehabilitation
and proper utilisation of natural marine resources and environments,
particularly water quality, marine fauna, coral reefs, sea grass, and
3 Strategies for Natural Resource and Environmental Management
The Eighth Plan proposes the following major strategies to achieve the
objectives and targets set for natural resource and environmental management:
3.1 Rehabilitation of natural resources and environments.
3.2 Promotion of the participation of local people and communities.
3.3 Proper management of natural resources and environments.
Chapter 2: Rehabilitation of natural resources and environments
The Eighth Plan proposes the following development guidelines for the
rehabilitation natural resources and environments in order to promote balance in
the ecosystem and upgrade quality of life for Thai people, and so that they can
contribute towards sustainable national development:
1. Manage the Rehabilitation of Degraded and Abandoned Land, so as to
increase agricultural output and minimise negative environmental impact.
Attention should be given to former mining sites, former shrimp ponds and farm
lands abandoned because of unfavourable soil conditions, such as soil salinity,
soil acidity and coastal-type soils. Specific guidelines to be followed are:
1.1 Promote the conservation of land and water resources, including the
improvement of soil quality by organic methods. Emphasis should be placed on
the promotion of accepted and transferable farming practices, such as
integrated farming to replace monoculture, shifting from chemical to organic
fertilisers, and terrace farming.
1.2 Introduce new farming practices in land reform zones, abandoned
shrimp ponds and abandoned mining sites, by providing the necessary
knowledge and training, financial support and appropriate technology. This
will enable farmers to earn enough income to support themselves in the long
term and so stop them abandoning rural areas, and induce them to carry on
rehabilitating the land and not utilise it for non- farming activities.
2. Reduce the Volume and Distribution of Pollution in Local Environments,
by proper management of various types of pollution, such as community and
industrial wastewater, air pollution, industrial waste and hazardous substances
so they do not pose a threat to public health and living conditions.
2.1 Reduce and control water pollution from community activities and
agricultural and industrial production.
(1) Formulate pollution control plans for 25 major river basins
around the country.
(2) Designate guidelines and emergency operational plans to prevent
the spread of pollution which affects the quality of terrestrial water
resources and of marine waters.
2.2 Reduce the volume of air pollution on industrial estates and in
traffic-congested areas, particularly the volume of sulphurous compounds in
diesel exhaust, black smoke and dust entering the atmosphere.
(1) Regulate vehicle standards and improve the quality of
petroleum-derived fuels – by, for example, reducing exclusive gravity
– and reduce sulphurous substances in diesel oil. In addition, the
quality of oil should be brought in line with pollution reduction
measures and relevant authorities should carry out feasibility studies
for raising vehicle standards.
(2) Identify pollution sources which need stricter measures to
control the emission of air pollution in order to reach approved
2.3 Waste and garbage disposal.
(1) Encourage provincial authorities to seek appropriate plots to
serve as long-term sites for land-fill garbage disposal, and to
designate appropriate areas in urban plans.
(2) Establish appropriate criteria for garbage and waste management,
which cover the processes of collection, transportation and hygienic
disposal. In addition, emphasis should be placed on the processes of
reducing, reusing and recycling waste.
2.4 Reduce and control sources of hazardous substances, by subjecting
factories that produce or utilise hazardous substances in large volumes to
environmental impact and risk assessments and strict guidelines on control
of the substances.
3. Support the Establishment of Comprehensive Waste Treatment and Disposal,
comprising comprehensive wastewater treatment and garbage disposal.
3.1 Encourage long-term investment in comprehensive wastewater treatment
and garbage disposal facilities in regional economic centres, namely the
five provinces of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, the eastern coastal areas
of Chon Buri and Rayong provinces and other coastal cities and tourist
3.2 Promote the establishment of centralised waste disposal facilities
and contaminated garbage disposal centres for the joint use of communities
and neighbouring provinces.
4. Promote the development of waste disposal technology and green
technologies to be applied to the production process, which will minimise
environmental impact. Such technologies will be prototypes that may be put into
commercial production. Also, promote analysis and evaluation of technology for
appropriate environmental management that can be transferred for effective
Chapter 3: Promotion of Popular Participation in Natural Resource and
These development guidelines seek to encourage greater participation by local
people and communities in more effective and systematic management of natural
resources. They are:
1. Expand the Public Sector’s Role in Promoting Popular
Participation in Natural Resource and Environmental Management, by:
1.1 Changing the attitudes of government officials and upgrading the
capacity of relevant government agencies for effective cooperation with and
facilitation of, local communities in conservation of natural resources and
environments in such a way that they will be of real benefit to those
1.2 Conducting public relations campaigns to raise public awareness of the
consequences of deteriorating natural resources and environment. The public
should, moreover, cooperate in the monitoring and alleviation of problems
affecting natural resources and environments.
2. Develop Information Networks on Natural Resource and Environmental
Conservation, and disseminate useful data to the public, recognising the
equal right of access to information of all parties.
3. Provide More Opportunities for Local Communities and People to Participate
Actively in Natural Resource and Environmental Management, by:
3.1 Providing opportunities for people and communities to participate in
decision-making about, monitoring and evaluation of public development
projects likely to have an impact on natural resources and the environment.
The government should facilitate continual public discussion at every step of
those projects: initiation, preparation and implementation.
3.2 Enacting the Community Forest Legislation, in a form which is
acceptable to all parties concerned, so that local people will have legal
rights to protect and utilise community forests.
3.3 Providing legal guarantees of the rights of local communities and small
fishermen to participate in coastal resource management, as well as the
conservation, rehabilitation and maintenance of mangrove forests, sea grass
and coral reefs, to ensure sustainable use of coastal resources, especially
those related to the fishing industry.
3.4 Encouraging local communities and organisations to conduct eco-tourism
within their localities for the benefit of community economies. They should
learn the processes of project formulation and planning in order to obtain
financial assistance from the government budget, natural resource conservation
funds or other sources.
Chapter 4: Improving Natural Resource and Environmental Management
Emphasis will be placed on a thorough and systematic approach and the
provision of appropriate legislation, so as to achieve effective management of
natural resources and environments. The Eighth Plan proposes the following
1. Establish Systematic Management of Water Resources, especially at
river basin level, including the provision of clean drinking water and
supervision of water quality, pollution control and drainage. This will include:
1.1 Organising supervisory and coordinating mechanisms for the
development of water resources at both national and river basin levels, so
as to ensure consistency in and continuity in the work of all related
1.2 With the participation of all parties concerned, setting up
appropriate systems at various levels for the allocation of water resources
between the various types of water consumer, based on the principles of
necessity, priority and fairness.
1.3 Collecting fees for raw water from industrial and agricultural
producers and from domestic consumers. The pricing structure for domestic
consumption and industrial production will be adjusted to properly reflect
the actual costs of procurement, production, distribution and wastewater
1.4 Improving the transmission and allocation systems for both irrigation
and domestic consumption in communities, so as to minimise wastage of clean
water through leaks.
1.5 Conduct public information campaigns to promote thrifty and effective
use of water, encourage the utilisation of water-saving devices and the
re-use of cooling water and treated wastewater in some industrial
2. Coordinate Land Use Policy and Management Consistent with and Appropriate
for the Development Potential of Each Area, which ensure fair distribution
of benefits to all local people and communities.
2.1 Mark out specific land use zones both inside and outside national
reserve forest, taking into account soil characteristics in those areas.
Also, coastal land use planning should take into account local economic and
social conditions and the impact on coastal environment conservation. The
country’s irrigation zones should be preserved so as to enhance
agricultural production. Laws, rules, regulations and incentive schemes
should all be considered as ways of ensuring that this zoning is respected.
2.2 Designate and demarcate local ecosystem zones, taking into account
any cultural and traditional diversity within the zones so that local people’s
existing lifestyles can contribute to the sustainable management of natural
resources and the environment.
2.3 Adjust the administration of the current agricultural land reform
system so as to resolve the problems of landless farmers, both by issuing
land rights documents and establishing a system for monitoring and
inspecting utilisation and reforms of public land.
3. Ensure Sound Management of Community Environments and Green Areas, by
setting out clearer policies and implementation guidelines for the conservation
of natural environments, green areas, vacant plots and urban public parks. The
respective proportions of available land devoted to these sites, the number of
people and rate of growth in urban communities, and landscape characteristics
should all be major considerations.
4. Conserve Natural and Heritage Sites, by formulating managerial and
conservation guidelines; for example the registration and declaration of areas
of natural beauty and heritage sites. The development potential of these areas
should be upgraded in such a way as to enhance economic activity and promote
5. Promote an Holistic, Systematic Approach to Natural Resource Management
5.1 Expedite surveys and assess existing mineral and natural resources
nationwide, focusing on the impacts of their exploitation on the local
eco-system, preserve mineral resources within conservation zones for future
5.2 Encourage more effective use of mineral resources under sound
conservation methods, taking account of sound balance in natural resources and
environments, and coordinating it with the utilisation of other natural
6. Improve Systems for the Prevention and Relief of Hardship and Suffering
Caused by Natural Disasters
6.1 Upgrade the efficiency of those agencies responsible for prevention of
and rehabilitation from natural disasters, with greater emphasis on early
warning and prevention of natural disasters.
6.2 Establish area-level coordination systems for the different types of
natural disaster, making effective use of existing management and prevention
6.3 Get regional and provincial authorities to draw up maps showing areas
prone to natural disasters to be used as resources in early warning,
prevention and containment of natural disasters.
6.4 Establish measures for public participation in self defence against
natural disasters, enforce rules and regulations and provide training to raise
the public’s knowledge about natural disasters.
7. Improve the Efficiency of Public Agencies involved in natural resource
management, including the control and resolution of environmental problems
7.1 Change methods and approaches in planning and budgeting for natural
resource management programmes away from departmental considerations to
areas like provincial groupings, local conditions and the potential for
development of each type of natural resource. Operational procedures and
networks should involve multi-lateral cooperation, united by a common
7.2 Develop and improve the efficiency of monitoring, supervision and
control systems for natural resources, by encouraging the owners of relevant
enterprises to monitor, supervise and record pollution problems. In this way
a thoroughgoing surveillance system can be created.
7.3 Advocate legislation to prohibit fishing methods destructive to
coastal eco-systems, particularly the use of push-nets and trawling, and
urge fishermen to switch to more sustainable methods.
7.4 Supervise and control the decentralisation from urban to rural areas
of industrial activities likely to have an impact on local environments,
while looking after the health of factory workers and those living in nearby
7.5 Draft and amend rules and regulations on environmental protection to
bring them in line with current pollution problems and to minimise damage to
the environment, for example by introducing fees for garbage collection when
necessary and introducing an insurance system for the disposal of hazardous
8. Enlarge the Kingdom’s Role in International Cooperation on Environmental
Protection, by making explicit statements of Thailand’s stance on
environmental policy in international fora. Relevant organisations and personnel
should be equipped to play a greater role in international environmental
negotiations at both bi-lateral and multi-lateral levels, in order to protect
the national benefit. Also, emphasis should be placed on technical cooperation
to address international problems and concerns, such as depletion of the ozone
layer and global warming.
Top of this page