BANGKOK – The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have renewed their multi-year partnership to strengthen national capacities in Asia, including Thailand, for the promotion of social cohesion and inclusion. Under the European Union’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, EU, UNDP, and other UN Agencies will build on the networks, approaches, and expertise established during the first phase of this project, implemented over the last two years.
Countries in Southeast Asia face new challenges due to Covid-19. The pandemic has exacerbated already existing economic hardship and political grievances that can become drivers of conflict. To decrease these risks, efforts to promote greater tolerance, reduce inequalities, and ensure continued respect for diversity are more than ever relevant.
As part of a regional initiative in Asia, this renewed UNDP-EU partnership in Thailand will play a key role in supporting the Thai response to the pandemic, using a whole-of-society approach to strengthen social cohesion. The partnership will focus on improving community resilience using digital tools, and will develop civic empowerment platforms to ensure the inclusion of local voices in decision-making processes. The partnership with the EU will also provide a co-creation space for sustainable peacebuilding solutions that will bolster other aspects of UNDP’s existing work towards achieving sustainable development.
“Thailand is implementing a strong and successful response to fight against the coronavirus pandemic which has severely impacted the lives of millions of people,” said Renaud Meyer, UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand. “Combined with the challenges of today’s increasingly digital world as well as decades-old social issues, it is increasingly clear that the impact of the pandemic will be long felt by the Thai people.
“But the pandemic also provides a unique opportunity to define a ‘new normal’ and to ensure a recovery leading to a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development pathway for Thailand. With this objective, UNDP will be providing support to Thailand to develop a whole-of-government and human-rights based strategy to identify and mitigate future potential risks that could further challenge social cohesion. We’re pleased that the EU will be by our side on this journey.”
EU Ambassador to Thailand Pirkka Tapiola added: "The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of our lives. In these difficult times, the EU stands strong and committed to pursue its partnership with UNDP to promote multilateralism as a way to respond to global challenges and the risks they pose at the regional, national and local level. It is only by joining forces that we can ensure security, stability and peace through social cohesion and inclusion. “
The current situation is unprecedented and requires innovation and thinking outside the box. This is the approach promoted through this partnership, which combines research, support to policy-making and capacity-building at national and community-level, using creative work to convey powerful messages promoting peace and tolerance."
Building on the results of the previous phase of the partnership, the EU and UNDP will work closely with government, community leaders, civil society organizations, and regional and international organizations. UNDP will also seek to collaborate with new partners such as the private sector and business community who can share innovative approaches with development practitioners. This inclusive approach to promote tolerance is key to ensuring Thailand’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
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