Thailand embarked on an OECD Multi-dimensional Country Review (MDCR) in July 2017. The review is a first deliverable of the 2018-19 Country Programme between Thailand and the OECD and aims at supporting public action by the national authorities of Thailand in sustaining sustainable development and progress in the well-being of its citizens.

Development is not about getting everything right, but about getting right what matters most. Economic growth matters, but is just one facet of development. Policy makers are required to reconcile economic, social and environmental objectives to ensure that their country’s development path is sustainable and that the lives of its citizens improve. OECD Multidimensional Country Reviews (MDCR) help governments chart this path through the identification of key constraints and policy recommendations to overcome them.

The MDCRs are composed of three distinct phases: Initial Assessment, In-depth Analysis and Recommendations, and From Analysis to Action. This approach allows for progressive learning and co-creation of reforms that fully respond to the country’s specific challenges and opportunities and come with guidance on implementation. Throughout, the process conjugates expert policy analysis with participatory approaches including Foresight and Governmental Learning that involve actors from the private and public sectors, civil society, and academia. Analytical work is based on all available statistics on Thailand, including well-being, macro- and microeconomic data, at national, sectoral, household and firm levels, using both domestic and international sources.

This report is the result of the second phase of the MDCR of Thailand and lays out pathways for three transitions to build Thailand’s capabilities and achieve its goal of sustainable development. The first transition is from a growth path with high structural inequalities and informality to one that focuses on unlocking the full potential of all regions and builds on convergence as a driver of structural transformation. A more effective organisation of multi-level governance, particularly with regards to financial resources, is a crucial capability Thailand needs to develop to support a new growth agenda. Under the current system, the complex organisation and uneven distribution of power and resources across central government bodies and local administrations contributes to co-ordination problems and poor institutional capacity. More effective multilevel governance is also crucial for the third transition, which pertains to water and the environment. Moving from a resource-intensive growth path with costly natural disasters to one characterised by sustainable development will require a new approach. In the case of water, this means moving from ad-hoc responses to effective management of water security.

This MDCR intends to assist Thailand in formulating development strategy and to support the policy reforms needed to achieve further sustainable and inclusive development. This report comes at a time where Thailand faces important decisions on its future development path and needs to focus on creating the capabilities necessary for the next stages of sustainable development. While the recommendations are intended to support policy action by Kazakhstan’s national authorities, the findings are also relevant for academics, the private sector and civil society.

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