Covid outbreak stymies Thailand's SDG prospects
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Covid outbreak stymies Thailand's SDG prospects

The ongoing spread of Covid-19 has become a major challenge for Thailand in trying to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030, warns the government's planning unit.

Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), said the Covid-19 outbreaks which have happened since early 2020 pose more risks for Thailand to reach the SDGs by 2030, especially on poverty, hunger eradication, public health and well-being, education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

The SDGs or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

The SDGs were established in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

The 17 SDGs are zero poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reducing inequality; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships to achieve the goals.

The NESDC reported that development of SDGs between 2016-2020, Thailand achieved between 74% and 100% of the goals on zero poverty, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, and inequality reduction thanks to economic stability, the accelerated development of infrastructure, higher investment on research and development and attempts to reduce inequality.

However, the state think tank noted Thailand has reached 50-73% of the goals on hunger eradication, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, life below water or natural resources, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

The NESDC proposed the public and private sectors as well as civic organisations work together to speed up the development, focusing on each small category such as poverty eradication.

Other topics which should be focused on include social protection, violence against children and women, water and waste treatment, arms trade, information access, basic freedom and corruption.

He said the government also needs to develop a data centre in order to create a better monitoring system for efficiency development and raise quality standards.

Vichai Assarasakorn, vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the top priority for Thailand right now is to tackle poverty, citing poverty as the root cause of other current problems including hunger, disparity, education, public health and political unrest.

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