National planning goals and strategies
for natural resource and environmental management


The following is an extract of Thailand's Eighth Economic and Social Development Plan (1997-2001), downloaded from the website of NESDB

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
1 Objectives
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 Targets
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 coastal areas.

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 standards.

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 destinations.

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 application.

Chapter 3: Promotion of Popular Participation in Natural Resource and Environmental Management
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 communities.

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 development guidelines:

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 agencies.

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 treatment.

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 activities.

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 eco-tourism.

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 use.

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 resources.

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 mechanisms.

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 objective.

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 communities.

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 waste.

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.

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