23 February 2023: Team Thailand convened the Thailand Symposia “Experience The Future of Life” at the Pavillon Gabriel – Potel et Chabot, Paris, France to ensure member countries of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) of the Kingdom’s commitment to host Expo 2028 Phuket Thailand and making it a success.
The Symposia featured a deep focus on the core value of the Expo under the theme “Future of Life: Living in Harmony, Sharing Prosperity”. It aims to promote innovative and collaborative solutions towards the sustainable future through Phuket Declaration and other key deliverables of the Expo. To affirm the country’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental conservation, the Symposia showcased Thailand’s success stories in such commitment, how it will shape the Expo in Phuket, including Phuket’s capacity and readiness to help the Expo achieve the goal.
Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang, a representative of Thailand Candidature Committee and Chairman of the Board of Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau or TCEB, who led Thailand Team, reaffirmed Thailand’s commitment and readiness by highlighting the Thai cabinet’s approval of the budget for the expo, a sign of full support of the Thai government and a collective demonstration of support from the private or business sector in Thailand. To lend weight on the proposed theme, she put into spotlight leading ranking of Thailand on sustainable development on international stage and stated that Thailand is fully prepared to be the platform for all countries to engage in dialogues and foster solutions through co-creation and collaboration for the benefits of global citizens at the Expo and beyond.
To exemplify sustainable development on environmental front, Mr. Chankit Chamnivikaipong, a professional cinematographer and a founder of ThaiWhales Website, told the audience of his experience and his work in the conservation of whales in the Gulf of Thailand and the conservation of leatherback turtles in Andaman Sea of Thailand. He emphasised that whales and leatherback sea turtles are key indicators of ocean and healthy environment. People should not be the only specie that survives on the planet. Each individual needs to find that passion to care for and live in harmony with nature to pave the way for a sustainable and resilient future living for all.
For the showcase of sustainable development on social front, Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob, Secretary-General of Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage and Former Governor of the Bank of Thailand, illustrated the case study of the royal Doi Tung Development Project (DTDP) in Chiang Rai Province in the north of Thailand. The project has come a long way, from an Alternative Development project aiming to replace drug crops and address the arid land to become a Sustainable Alternative Livelihood Development project providing alternative cash crop and reforestation for the ethnic groups residing in the area. The project has proved a success of Thailand’s sustainability journey with the crops being a brand marketable in both Thailand and overseas. This is due to the fact that the project has regarded people as the greatest asset or it has been implemented with people-centred approach, followed by environmental sustainability and conservation, and economic growth. Termed The Mae Fah Luang model, this approach is not limited to remote regions of Thailand but has been shared with its neighbouring and other countries as well, such as Myanmar and Afghanistan. The model’s key factor is to promote self-sufficiency and sustainability for the target communities within the region.
Phuket’s representative, Mr. Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of Sustainable Tourism Development Foundation and Advisory Chairman Phuket Tourist Association, highlighted the upgrade of land, air and water transport infrastructure capacity in Phuket and, importantly, the island’s sustainability master plan and sustainable activities, including 3 projects in the pipeline focusing on individual carbon offset, food before waste project and low carbon destination. In this connection, he stressed that the legacy of the Expo is not merely a matter of the maximisation of the physical building but a focus on implanting sustainable living. He emphasised that with its ongoing comprehensive infrastructure and connectivity, Phuket has moved from sustainable tourism to sustainable destination and is dedicated to serving as a global platform to advocate global solutions.
Mr. Yossapon Boonsom, a representative of the architect group responsible for site design and development, expressed his confidence that the Expo in 2028 firmly stands as the perfect platform to demonstrate the future way of life that human can co-exist with nature harmoniously, without leaving anyone behind. The development of the site, thus, deliberately focuses on the sustainability model where people, planet and prosperity are the essential groundwork in transforming threats into opportunities, passion into collaboration, intangible into tangible approaches towards sustainable future of life.
In conclusion, Mrs. Phantipha Iamsudha Ekarohit, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, reiterated Thailand’s absolute commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals and, thus, the Expo 2028 Phuket Thailand will deliver meaningful progress towards sustainable development and leading humanity to a sustainable future of life for all. Thailand will also prioritise inclusive participation by all countries and people through the provision of support that cover all participation costs throughout the entire process for developing countries to participate in the Expo. On top of that, tailor-made benefits, for instance, capacity building workshops, educational programmes and scholarships will also be offered to participating countries to enable post-expo partnerships, paving the way for future and long-term cooperation.