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ADB Grants $2.45 Million to Thailand’s Water Management and Railway

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help support Thailand’s water and flood management, as well as accounting and financial management reform in the railway sector, with two technical assistance (TA) grants launched today.

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help support Thailand’s water and flood management, as well as accounting and financial management reform in the railway sector, with two technical assistance (TA) grants launched today.

A $1.5 million grant will help develop guidelines, checklists and information management systems for monitoring and evaluating the implementation and impact of flood management in Thailand, while a $0.95 million Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) grant will help improve railway sector performance with a view to enhancing the country’s economic competitiveness.

“Integrated water resources management based on river basins is essential for a participatory and inclusive management model,” said Craig Steffensen, Country Director of the ADB’s Thailand Resident Mission. “At the same time, assisting the State Railway of Thailand to better its accounting and financial information systems will help improve railway operations.”

In line with Thailand’s Master Plan for Water Resources Management, the Strengthening Integrated Water and Flood Management Implementation project team will develop frameworks for water assessments and system analysis, as well as update existing studies on the Yom River Basin.

The TA will also develop innovative approaches for stakeholder consultation and participation. It will be implemented over a two-year period, starting from January 2013, with the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board as the executing agency.

Thailand’s government aims to increase the share of rail in freight transport, raising it from the current 2% to 8% by 2020. The government’s strong commitment to reforming the rail sector is evident in its pledge to provide significant financial resources to modernize and improve railway operations, with investments of up to B176 billion committed during 2010-2015. In addition, Thailand has stated that it wishes to reinvigorate its rail network and services to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and road freight and to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The grants, launched today by ADB’s Thailand Resident Mission, Ministry of Finance of Thailand, and the Embassy of Japan, will be funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and administered by ADB. Read More

Asia must scale up sustainable transport development or face a bleak future of congested roads, pollution, ill health and economic damage, which could have ripple effects around the world, a high level transport forum in Manila heard.

Sustainable Transport ADB graphic

Sustainable Transport ADB graphic

“The choice is to let unsustainable transport become entrenched with dire consequences for the economy, quality of life, health and climate change, or to begin making the changes needed for a sustainable transport future,” said Bindu Lohani, Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development at the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The third ADB Transport Forum focuses on “Inclusive and Sustainable Transport,” providing a platform for more than 400 global transport experts, civil society representatives, development partners and senior officials from developing member countries to discuss key regional transport challenges, share knowledge, and brainstorm ideas to improve the sector.

Booming cities and rising incomes are fueling a dramatic surge in vehicle fleets across Asia. In 1980, just one in 10 motorized vehicles in the world was in Asia, but by 2030 the region is expected to account for nearly half the global total. The epidemic of cars and trucks already weighs heavily, with Asia’s cities now suffering the highest air pollution levels in the world and traffic accidents in the region killing nearly 2,000 people a day.

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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Economics

Youth unemployment hits new highs in Thailand due to COVID-19 restrictions

BANGKOK, Thailand (ILO news) – Joblessness among young men and women in Thailand has reached a level unseen in recent years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Thailand Situation Report - 22 February 2021

The Thailand labour market update  found that youth employment fell by 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 (from the fourth quarter 2019). The youth unemployment rate increased by 3 percentage points for both men and women, reaching a high of 6 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

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