Thailand Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
General Surasak Karnjanarat
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand

On April 23, 2016, in an international conference, General Surasak Karnjanarat represented the “Group of 77” developing countries in which Thailand was an integral part along with China. Here, General Karnjanarat stressed the need to implement the Paris Agreement through action on adaptation in developing countries. In order to enhance the Paris Agreement objectives and the ratification process, General Karnjanarat stated the need for lowering global carbon emissions and pursuing efforts to decrease global temperatures. General Karnjanarat further addressed the conference with respect to the Paris Agreement pledge that “the Group of 77 had been the most affected by climate change, and yet, was already undertaking ambitious measures to prevent harm and move towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. In this regard, General Karnjanarat stated that “Developed countries had a responsibility to support their developing counterparts in their endeavors by emphasizing that in the fight against climate change, the Group of 77 stood ready and willing to play its part and to make a commitment to the present, as well as future generations to come”. During this conference, General Karnjanarat suggested that the most effective way for the Paris Agreement to come into force would be for developed and developing countries to jointly assist and help each other in their efforts for climate change reduction.

Contact: webmaster@mnre.mail.go.th

Climate Program Advocate
Penchom Saetang
Director of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH)

Penchom Saetang’s work is influential with respect to the Paris Agreement as she proposed community-based climate change awareness strategies that focused on a wide range of areas. These areas include enhancement of neighborhood capacity to collect pollutant data; support of environmental litigation; and advocacy for a national policy to guarantee the public the “right to know” of released pollutants. In order to ensure that citizen concerns are represented in the latest negotiations by industries and the government on climate change, Penchom designed a national campaign for “climate justice”. This campaign raised awareness about climate change issues during the lead up to the Paris Agreement. In this campaign, she works with a wide range of citizen networks across Thailand to see that measurable changes are made for creating a socially and environmentally responsible industry in developing countries.

Contact: penchom.earth@gmail.com   Address: Nonthaburi , 12. Thailand

Climate Program Opponent
Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri
General Secretary of the Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF) based in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri attended the Paris Climate Conference in 2015 and raised concerns on behalf of the indigenous people of Thailand about the negative implications of the Paris Agreement in 2015. For instance, one of the concerns about the Paris Agreement that was raised by indigenous people representatives like Kittisak was that in such climate agreements there is a lack of a human rights perspective that leaves marginal groups of people in the society behind.

Another concern addressed by the indigenous representatives is that human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights are not recognized in article two of the Paris Agreement’s text, which refers to the implementation of the Agreement for holding global temperature rise. As an outcome, Thailand’s Government implemented policies like the reclaiming of forests that violated the rights of indigenous people and discriminated against them. They were arrested and placed in jail for holding small amount of forest wood for repairing their houses. The representatives highlighted that in most areas indigenous people in Thailand were charged and accused for causing global warming whereas most illegal commercial loggers are not arrested and remain unaccountable. In addtion, Kittisak addressed two flaws of the Thai Government’s policies in relation to the Paris Agreement. One is that “The government has implemented a top-down policy to curb deforestation and climate change.” Another flaw that Kittisak highlighted is that “Indigenous people have already experienced the impact of climate change in the past years. We are trying to adapt our way of life to cope with the changes. But community-based approaches don’t get enough attention at the policy level.” By highlighting these concerns and flaws of the Paris Agreement and the policies of the Thai Government, Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri reveals that unless the rights of indigenous people are equally recognized and given equal consideration, such Climate Agreements will remain ineffective.

Contact: kittisak.rattanakrajangsri@gmail.com

Learn More

To learn more about Penchom Saetang and her work related to climate change visit https://www.ashoka.org/en/fellow/penchom-saetang#intro

To know more about leading Government Official General Surasak Karnjanarat and the Ministry Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand visit http://webeng.mnre.go.th/main.php?filename=contact

To learn more about the speech General Surasak Karnjanarat gave on April 23, 2016 about the Paris Agreement on behalf of the “Group of 77” countries and China visit: http://reliefweb.int/report/world/secretary-general-hails-history-making-ceremony-world-leaders-175-countries-sign-paris

To learn more about the concerns and flaws of the Paris Agreement raised by indigenous peoples’ representatives like Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri visit: http://www.earthjournalism.net/stories/thailand-will-have-a-lot-to-do-following-adoption-of-the-new-paris-climate-agreement-on-saturday-while-looking-forward-to-collaborate-in-the-next-year-climate-talk-as-a-chair-of-g77