BANGKOK, 22 October 2018 – Ms. Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director concluded her five-day visit to Thailand with an urgent call for increased investments in young people. As part of her visit, she interacted with young people as part of the UNICEF’s global initiative, Generation Unlimited forum at King Mongkut’s University of Technology where young innovators across Thailand came together to design solutions that will improve their learning and development.
“Thailand, like many countries around the world, is faced with a critical challenge — which is also a critical opportunity: how best to support its growing population of young people,” said Fore. “There is an urgent need for a collective effort for greater investments in adolescents and young people today to ensure that they are educated, empowered and skilled, if the country has to move towards the Thailand 4.0 vision.”
In Thailand, around 15 per cent of young people aged 15 – 24 years (about 1.3 million) are not in education, employment, or training, and two thirds of them are young women, according to 2017 labour statistic from the International Labour Organization. Without adequate investment in education and training, millions of young people will be unprepared and unskilled for the fast-changing environment – a serious threat to the country’s progress and stability.
“The private sector has a critical role to play and should start investing more in educating and empowering young people so that they are ready to contribute as the future workforce of this country. UNICEF will be happy to work together with the private sector to explore possibilities for increased investments for young people,” said Fore who also had meetings with leading business leaders on the business benefits of investing in children during her visit this week.
As part of the UNICEF 70 years anniversary celebrations, Fore presented Life-Time Achievement Award to Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for her significant contributions for improving the lives of children in Thailand, especially the most disadvantaged ones. The award was presented to Her Royal Highness by her at Chitralada Palace in Bangkok on Monday.
During her visit this week, Fore and Mr. Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative of Thailand, also met the Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, to emphasize the need to provide children and young people with new skills and learning opportunities that will help them shape better futures for themselves and for Thailand. Both parties agreed to strengthen their collaboration to promote increased investment in human capital development in Thailand.
“I am delighted to learn that we share a common vision and a shared sense of urgency for ensuring greater investments in young children and adolescents in Thailand today. Investments in early childhood development, education and skills will prepare the millions of young people in Thailand for the future workforce – and enable the country’s progress towards High Income status,” said Fore.
Fore concluded her five-day official trip to Thailand with her visit to “Art for the Future” exhibition which included street arts, paintings and graffiti for children on Chareonkrung Road, where 16 young artists came together to call on Thai public to support and take action for children. The event is part of the celebrations of UNICEF’s 70 years anniversary in Thailand. During the event, she also interacted with youth representatives from U-Report Thailand, a youth engagement platform supported by UNICEF to amplify youth voices through online polls and outreach activities.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.