The National Social Policy Committee
Policy Framework, Strategies and Action Plan


The Committee confirmed the holistic people-centred approach of the Eighth Plan and the New Constitution’s provision for the empowerment of localities to become self-governing entities within the overall governance framework of Thailand. The combination of these two perspectives provides a unique historical opportunity for Thailand to respond to the crisis in a way that firmly reinforces the strong democratic groundswell of recent years into the dominant wave of the future. It is also reinforced by the support of the international community for this approach, particularly the UN System, including the Worldbank which recently announced that it will take and advocate a holistic approach in responses to the human crisis and proposed a new paradigm of development that has the transformation of the whole society as its aim rather than the narrow focus of the Washington consensus.

The outcomes of the NSPC Workshop can be organized into a policy framework, strategies and an action plan to facilitate follow-up.


The NSPC agreed on the following policy principles to guide Thailand’s crisis-response initiatives:

  1. A whole–systems approach to responding to the economic crisis and to societal development, ensuring that the whole develops with a dynamic balance
  2. A people-centred approach, with development by, of and for people themselves, men and women, with inclusiveness and gender equity as core principles for achieving the well-being of all
  1. Universal targeting of the crisis-response initiatives to address the needs of all Thais across the whole country, based on universal targeting criteria of levels of deprivation, disadvantagement and vulnerability, designed to ensure the well-being of all Thais.
  1. Local communities not just to participate in programmes sponsored by others, but to take the lead role in dealing with the impact of the crisis on the community and its members, targeting those most severely affected
  2. An enabling environment created for local communities and other partners to be effective in their initiatives to address the crisis, supporting self-reliant action rather than doing things for people
  3. Participatory decision-making that creates accountability and transparency at the local level, as well as at wider levels, creating high levels of public trust, to be facilitated in all processes dealing with the crisis
  4. A strong social fabric, consisting of people, families, communities and civil society empowered through participatory processes in a culture of public trust and care, is the most reliable and sustainable safety net to ensure the well-being of all Thias at all times.



The NSPC considered and articulated two broad types of strategies:

  1. Strategies for responding effectively to social impacts of the economic crisis
  2. Longer-term strategies to promote development of the whole Thai society
  1. Strategies for responding effectively to social impacts of the economic crisis
  1. Mobilize the whole Thai society to respond to the crisis, encouraging everyone to become engaged in initiatives to reduce the negative impacts on the Thai people, targeting those most severely affected, and creating waves of synergy for overcoming the crisis, with local communities taking the lead role.
  2. Promote partnership among all actors from all spheres at all levels through networking, joint action and sharing of information, knowledge, ideas and resources
  3. Promote participatory decision-making in all phases of development management, from analysis through implementation to monitoring and evaluation, and rapidly develop capacities to facilitate participatory decision-making, particularly at the local community level
  4. Foster total transparency and a culture of trust through open communication channels and sharing of information, encouraging the media to play a key role in advocacy, promotion, reporting, monitoring and social auditing, including providing access to media to local communities and citizen groups
  5. Encourage the army to become a major partner in empowering local communities with responsive service and support, especially at the one-stop crisis-response centre level
  6. Build on the initiatives implementing the King’s New Theory for selfreliant development and sufficient rural economy, developing selfreliance capacity throughout society, targeting the weakest and most deprived communities and groups.
  7. Monitor progress and celebrate success, identify weaknesses and bottlenecks and overcome constraints to achieve broad-based, even development and universal reversal of crisis impacts through sustainable, selfreliant development efforts.



  1. Longer-term strategies to promote development of the whole Thai society

The NSPC identified a wide range of reform measures that will have to be pursued on a parallel track with the immediate crisis-response measures since these are essential for the long-term sustainability of the social learning and development that the crisis-response is stimulating.

The following are key elements of the long-term strategies:

  1. Public sector reforms to change role from one of control, command and implement to an enabling, facilitating, supporting service role.
  2. Educational reforms to foster new attitudes, values and habits that enhance learning capacity, adaptability, flexibility and resiliance in the face of constant changes
  3. Governance reforms to achieve people-centred, community-led goverrnance, involving all partners in a web of networks that link all Thais on a continuous basis to all aspects of decision-making processes affecting the quality of life, well-being and security of all, including future generations
  4. Financial, fiscal and economic reforms that create an enabling environment for all actors in all sectors in society, not just for the private sector, and reflect long-term sustainable resource-use accounting and equitable distribution of incomes and expenditures throughout the country
  5. Law reforms and legislation fully to implement the New Constitution as the basis for democratic development, human rights and people-centred governance
  6. Civil society reforms, led by CSOs themselves, to make them more empowering of people and less controlling, supporting people’s and community’s plans, rather than planning and doing things for the community
  7. Academic institutional reforms to become more people-centred and community oriented, seeking to empower people and communities with knowledge and skills that they require to improve their quality of life and well-being
  8. Media reforms to accept social responsibility and accountability to the communities that support them, to provide forums for public discussion of development issues, to provide learning opportunities about the major trends of development in the world and their implications for Thailand and its people, and to provide communities with access to media to promote their own vision of their development and of Thai society
  9. Private sector reforms to accept social responsibility and accountability and an ecological responsibility to the sustainable use of Thailand’s natural resources and the maintenance of a clean and healthy environment, supporting the plans and efforts of communities to preserve and enhance their own environment and cultural traditions
  10. International organizations to cooperate with all Thai partners to achieve the Thai vision of societal development, accepting a responsibility to the well-being of all Thais and supporting community plans and visions.
  11. Fostering holistic development that is based on the wholeness of the web of life and recognizes the need to take a whole-systems approach to the development of the whole society, in stead of emphasizing economic growth in isolation of the other elements on which its quality and sustainability depend



Action plans for both crisis-response strategies and longer-term societal development were articulated:

  1. Immediate crisis-response action plan
  1. Establish the following workgroups and develop work plans for them:
    1. Networking – led by Dr. Sumet
    2. Knowledge-based policy development – led by Dr. Vichan, Prof. Nidhi
    3. Attitude change in public service – led by Khun Sawai
    4. Holistic budget mechanisms – led by Khun Jirasak
  1. Develop an organization plan for the nation-wide holistic crisis-response organization needed to mobilize efforts (see Figure 1. for a prototype model), including guidelines on the organizing principles for one-stop crisis-response centres
  2. Develop the design of community-led crisis-response processes, detailing the essential elements of the roles of all key partners (See Figure 2. for prototype model)
  3. Develop an action plan for social mobilization to empower communities, mobilize support for their plans and generate synergy throughout society, suggesting the key players in advocacy, social mobilization and programme communication
  4. Develop a whole-system information system to empower communities with information specific to their localities, based on GIS data and similarly structured soci-economic and human development data (building on the BMN system), with a modular building-block design to facilitate monitoring of progress at each level of the crisis-response organization.
  5. Promote understanding of the whole-systems perspective, people-centred development and community empowerment by all key actors and partners, including the media
  6. Develop a capacity development strategy, focusing on capacity to facilitate participatory development, particularly at the local community level, and including strengthening of the NSPC Secretariat to manage the change process
  7. Develop an action plan for the Secretariat, detailing how it would support the various initiatives of the NSPC and the crisis-response organizations at all levels.
  1. Long-term societal development action plan

The specific actions that the NSPC would initiate to address the longer-term strategies for societal development will be discussed at the next meeting of the committee. As many of these strategies are integral to the Eighth Plan, it will be necessary to carry out an assessment of actions already undertaken or under way on these strategies and to determine how the NSPC could contribute to these efforts and what other initiatives it could undertake.

It is proposed that this assessment be carried out and submitted to the next meeting of the Committee.


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Dated: 29Jul1999