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Background Information

Thailand has a long historical in technical and economic cooperation. In 1950 the country established the Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation (DTEC) to work with cooperating partners in supporting projects in the country. Since the last decade when Thailand achieved high economic growth and technological progress. Thailand has also implemented bilateral cooperation with other developing countries, so-called South-South cooperation, for more than 30 years following the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan. Such cooperation focuses mainly on human resources development in three main areas: education, health, and agriculture. Activities cover training, dispatching of Thai experts, and provision of equipment, including tailor-made training programmes. In 2004, the government of Thailand created the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) to promote South-South cooperation and North-South-South cooperation under partnership programmes with other donor countries including non-government organizations and international agencies for development cooperation in developing countries in various regions. TICA technological cooperation to other developing countries includes particularly, neighbouring countries namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. In recent years, the programme has been expanded to other developing countries such as Timor East, Sri Lanka, and some African countries. Some Thai agencies, including the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD), have their own strategies on development assistance which are also trade-related issues.


Examples of Key Projects of  Thailand

GMS Program Thailand plays a key role on the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation Program (GMS Programme) started in 1992. The aims of the programme is to promote economic and social development in the six Mekong countries—namely, Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, by strengthening economic linkages between and among them. Thailand has also been a major provider of financial and technical assistance to neighbouring GMS countries for the implementation of priority sub-regional projects. The GMS has 300 million habitants and one of the richest biodiversity.
ACMECS Thailand initiated the “Ayeyawadi - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy” (ACMECS) an agreement between Thailand and the neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The aims of ACMECS are to create joint economic activities along the border areas, strengthen infrastructure linkages through a multi-sectoral approach, facilitate cross-border trade and investment, enhance private sector participation in development and improve its competitiveness, develop human resources and skill competencies, as well as protect the environment and promote sustainable use of the sub region’s shared natural resources. The five areas of cooperation are as follows: Trade and investment facilitation, Agricultural and industrial cooperation, Transport linkages, Tourism cooperation, Human resources development.  ACMECS aims also to address economic disparity within ASEAN, foster income-generating activities and carry out practical, result-oriented development project.
IMT-GT Thailand supports cooperation projects on the context of the Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) initiative in areas such as facilitating mobility of skilled workers in these countries. Thailand has supported since long data the actions to improve the quality and effectiveness of training systems in these countries.
ASEAN – IAI(Singapore)

The Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) is a framework for regional cooperation through which the more developed ASEAN members could help those member countries that most need it. This initiative is guided by Dr Mahathir's (former President of Malaysia) principle of "prosper thy neighbour" and, by so doing, to “prosper ASEAN”. The IAI will focus on education, skills development and worker training. These will be key factors of competitiveness in the New Economy. To catalyse the IAI, ASEAN members will contribute what they can. To kick off the IAI, Singapore offered, under a five-year technical assistance programme, several training institutes in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, provide IT “Train-the-Trainers” courses and training attachments to its educational institutions. Singapore will also increase the number of existing Singapore Scholarships given to ASEAN nationals.
BIMSTEC Thailand has played leadership on the financing and implementation of BIMSTEC. This programme has origins in the sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok and given the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). Myanmar joined the organization as a full member at a Special Ministerial Meeting held in Bangkok in December 1997, upon which the name of the grouping was changed to BIMST-EC - Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. The BIMSTEC has 13 priority including trade and investment, agriculture, transport and communication, technology, energy, public health, poverty alleviation, protection of biodiversity, environment and natural disaster management, culture among others.
Health Thailand has a model programme on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment together with Brazil, another country with long experience on this issue. Thailand first began researching the potential of manufacturing generic drugs for HIV in 1992 and began manufacturing more than 300 generic drugs three years ago, resulting in price drops to consumers of five to 10 times the list price of multinational pharmaceutical companies. Most recently, Thai government has supplied free technology for the manufacture of AIDS generic drugs to five of the most populated African countries. Thailand is transferring the technology of production free to African countries on a government-to-government basis and at the present some interested countries included Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda and Nigeria. In the regional context, Thailand has been one of the largest donors for example, to help fight avian influenza outbreak in the region.
Agriculture Thailand has projects of cooperation on agricultural and rural development cooperation mainly with neighbouring countries in order to reduce cross-border income disparities.  The country has been very activity in projects under the context of ASEAN by enhancing the role of the AMAF (ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forest). Thailand has also cooperated significantly in triangular basis with Japan in projects implemented in neighbouring countries, especially MGS countries and East Timor. The Japan-Thailand Technical Cooperation includes also Animal Disease in particular bird flu which one of greatest concerns of the region.
Education and training TICA administers international development cooperation projects including the award of more than 1,500 fellowships per year to developing countries. In addition, Thailand has also supported the involvement of “private sector” in development cooperation among the South, by sponsoring various institutions located in Thailand such as Mekong Institute (MI) and International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD), in their development programme extended to public or private sector in other developing countries.  Some examples are the Annual International Training Courses Programme, Thai International Postgraduate Programme, and Third Country Training Programme which offers the opportunity for participants from other developing countries, particularly those in the Asia-Pacific region, to attend training courses in Thailand. In 2006 Thailand has given development assistance through Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) close to the amount of 135 million baht (nearly 4 million US dollars) to countries in the Sub-Mekong region to improve human resource development in the sub-region through seminar, workshops, training and scholarships.
Public Administration Thailand finance training and study courses, envoy of experts and development of projects with many developing countries, aiming to enhance capacity building and development priorities, in the areas that we have capacity and expertise. At present, key development activities are, for instance, the on-going capacity building projects in agriculture, health, and education to escalate human well-being and to stimulate economic development, or the tailor-made training programme to echo other developing countries’ needs in human resources development.
Science and Technology Thailand supports the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology which consists of five programme areas, namely: Food and Agriculture Development Research, Energy and Natural Resources Development Research, Manufacturing Industries, Transportation and Communication Development Research, Health and Social Development Research, and Science and Technology Infrastructure Development. An ASEAN Trust Fund on Science and Technology was established to finance the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology.
Environment Thailand cooperation for sustainable development and environmental protection includes a range of activities from natural resource management to urban development management, water systems, energy management, waste management; techniques in pollution reduction, eco-efficiency of industry are examples of such cooperation. The projects are included on GMS, BISMATEC, and ASEAN among others. ici
Infrastructure Thailand has established the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA), which spent almost US$ 220 million for the construction of infrastructure in neighbouring countries.
Social Development A Thailand is keen to share its development expertise and reach out to other countries to advance poverty reduction Thailand is a leader in a number of regional and sub-regional cooperation initiatives in areas including trade, investment and tourism. These initiatives are carried out through bodies, mechanisms and cooperatives such as the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) among others.
Trade Thailand’s Strategy for International Development Cooperation (2007-2011) reinforces regional cooperation, especially within the frameworks of ACMECS, GMS, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia – Malaysia – Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). All of these regional groupings have given priorities to development programmes, which could have multiplying effects to other sectors, especially trade and investment. A main objective of these cooperation frameworks is to bridge the development gaps


Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand