United Nations System in Thailand
Stategy in Support of CERCAP

DRAFT: 99/07/28


Thailand has taken major steps to deal with the financial and economic crisis. It has embarked on a macro-economic stabilization and adjustment programme negotiated with the IMF and has taken measures to stimulate economic recovery. On the social side, it has secured a social sector loan from the Asian Development Bank and a Social Investment Programme Loan from the World Bank, as well as a loan from the Miyazawa Fund of Japan.

One of Thailandís main responses was to establish a National Social Policy Committee (NSPC) to address the social impacts of the economic crisis in the short-term and to develop a longer-term framework and strategy for making the society more resilient and immune to the social consequences of such crises.

The NSPC aims at supporting Thai efforts to find effective solutions to alleviate the social impacts of the economic crisis and their deprivation effects on Thai people nationwide. It also seeks to enhance social reform efforts leading to the transformation of society in pursuit of the holistic people-centred development goals envisioned in the Eighth Plan. It is further expected that the NSPC give effect to the provisions of the New Constitution with regard to human rights, public participation and the empowerment of local communities to become self-governing units within the overall governance framework of the country.

Within this Policy Framework and Strategy, the NSPCís main approach is to empower communities to respond to the crisis impact at the community level. It also aims to adjust the governance structure to create an enabling environment for local communities to deal effectively and holistically with the impacts of the crisis on the community, and to strengthen capacities at all levels for more empowering public management and service.

This approach has been elaborated into a Community Empowerment for Response to Crisis Action Plan (CERCAP), which was approved by the NSPC and the Cabinet and launched by the Prime Minister at a workshop with all major partners on March 16 at Government House. The CERCAP Implementation Team is developing Provincial Guidelines and Local Community Empowerment Guidelines for key actors at local levels to facilitate consistency in implementation across the country.

The CERCAP seeks to empower communities to identify and prioritize issues and problems resulting from the economic crisis through participatory planning and action, involving community groups and other partners, and to manage and monitor their own crisis-response initiatives. The community capacity to take proactive initiatives and manage the process will develop through learning-by-doing. On a demand-driven basis their capacities will be strengthened to ensure self-reliance and optimal and effective use of resources available from various sources, including their own, with sustainable results. Outside support on specific technical issues and advice on project design will be provided by a Community Support Core Team at the tambon level, backed up by a technical core team at the district level involving the main technical agencies as required and requested.

The CERCAP will take a social mobilization approach, generating necessary community support actions at the appropriate levels, from the national (policy) to the local (implementation and operation) levels. CERCAP will be implemented nationwide with 14 Regional Learning Networks in 13 provinces in the administrative regions of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. The CERCAP will draw on the lessons and experience of the Thai-UNCAP pilot area activities and will mainstream its locally-based partnership approach, with the collaboration of the Thai-UNCAP team.

Related initiatives of the RTG involving international institutions are:

All of the above resources will be more effectively used at the community level with the support of the whole system of governance mobilized by the CERCAP.

Over the last year and a half, the UN System has been supporting Thailandís efforts to deal with the economic crisis and its social impacts. This involved a variety of activities supported by various UN Agencies in the areas of policy dialogue and development, formulation and implementation of quick response action programmes, and community empowerment. The UN System has been supporting the NSPC in the development of its policy framework, strategy and action plan, particularly with the elaboration and the launching of CERCAP.

The UNS Strategy in Support of CERCAP encompasses the following principal elements:

  1. A UNS Framework for joint programming or for individual agency special projects in support of CERCAP. UNDP project an example of the latter.
  2. Individual Agency strategies for supporting CERCAP through their ongoing programmes across the country where the windows for such support can be created and the opportunities arise.
  3. Continued support for monitoring of the impact of the crisis in collaboration with Thai partners.
  4. Creation of a Learning Resources Facility through which relevant international experience could be provided on demand.
  5. Mobilizing resources to ensure adequate support to CERCAP
  6. Monitoring CERCAP results and participate in the celebration of success
  7. Networking and sharing information through CERCAP web site
  8. Promoting the community empowerment approach in the region and internationally.

    The United Nations Systems CERCAP Support Facility Framework was developed by a UNS Task Group and approved in principle at a UNS Workshop on March 17. It sets out the context of the CERCAP, institutional and implementation arrangements and four immediate objectives with specified outputs and activities. Developed originally as a possible joint project, it has been adapted to serve as a flexible support facility framework for UNS initiatives. The first such initiative by the UNDP, UNDP CERCAP Support Project, is based directly on the Framework and provides partial support for the first year of the launching and implementation of CERCAP. It is expected that other UN agencies will also develop initiatives within the Framework or join the UNDP project, contributing their own financial and technical support.


Each Agency will develop its own strategy for the support of CERCAP, considering including the following:

This strategy will be published on a UN Agency web page on the UN System CERCAP Web Site with links to individual agency CERCAP web pages where they can provide full information about their strategies and programmes relevant to CERCAP.


    UN Agencies will continue to network with their Thai partners to monitor the impacts of the crisis and to assist where possible. The SURF of the UNDP will undertake a special monitoring mission on behalf of the whole UN System and could maintain the Crisis Impact Monitor page.


    Each UN Agency will identify publications, documents, videos and other communication materials and information that could facilitate rapid learning of knowledge, skills and practical know-how in relation to community empowerment through participatory development management and its facilitation. These resources will be listed on the Resources Centre web page that will provide a one-stop information centre to CERCAP participants at all levels, particularly the Rajabhat Institutions and the Community Support Core Teams at the tambon level.


    The resource mobilization target of the UN System Support Facility Framework is US$7.4 million, with UN Agencies contributing US$2.6 million and other donors contributing US$4.8 million. The Resident Coordinator will invite the heads of interested agencies to work with him on a Resource Mobilization Team.


The UN System will network with Thai partners to continuously monitor the CERCAP process and results and will contribute to the celebration of success in the villages and other local communities, perhaps particularly in those in which they have long standing programme associations. A virtual national community-empowerment bulletin board could be maintained on the web site to track CERCAP Results Monitor. Perhaps each UN Agency could twin with a province, district, tambon or village according to its capacity and vision and sponsor awards with other partners for best practices and showcases. Or the UN System could sponsor a national award.


    UN Agencies will network with each other on their CERCAP initiatives and keep each other up to date with new developments through the CERCAP web site.


CERCAP is unique as a social mobilization approach, dealing with the impacts of the economic crisis through community empowerment. UN agencies can contribute much to create greater awareness of the approach and to promote it in Thailand, as well as in the region and globally.


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Dated: 28Jul1999