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Policy Impact

Transforming the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) into A Global Services Hub: Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Health Services Sector in Thailand

Project undertaken by: Centre for Health Economics, Faculty of Economics

Partner: ASEAN, Ministry of Public Health

About research: Although medical travel is several thousand years old, its more recent history dates back to the 1970s when (rich) individuals from developing countries started traveling to developed countries for medical care. Trade in health services was estimated to be worth 63,822 million THB in 2008, of which 62% was accounted for by medical services and 27% by health promotion. The objective of this paper is to:

  1. Undertake a SWOT analysis for the health services sector in Thailand.
  2. Undertake an analysis of policies/regulatory/institutional support for the health services sector in Thailand.
  3. Develop a profiling of firms that are considered key players for the health services industry.
  4. Provide recommendations drawn from the results of the SWOT analysis as well as from the results of the analysis of policies/regulatory/institutional support on how Thailand could enhance its position to be part of the global service hub in the region

Sustainable Financing and Reform of National Health Insurance System in Thailand.

Project undertaken by: Centre for Health Economics, Faculty of Economics

Partner: Ministry of Public Health, PReMA

About research: In conclusion, this research proposes that in the short run, Option 2, where co-payment is introduced, is preferred, while in the longer run, Option 3, with the distinction between the core and the supplementary packages, is preferred, given that the preconditions are met. Bearing in mind the limitations of the study, results in this research should be received with caution.

Integrated strategic action plan for the Muak Lek basin

Partner: Integrated strategic action plan for the Muak Lek basin was conducted by participatory workshop. The members who joined the workshop consisted of various groups within the watershed area. Moreover, the watershed location overlapped the two provinces of Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima. The participants were divided into four major groups as follows.

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1. Government organization; Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment Sarabui, Muak Lek district officer, Chet Sao Noi Waterfall National Park Public Works and Town & Country Planning, Muak Lek Agriculture Department, District Agriculture Department, District of public health, The office of provincial Tourism and Chamber of Commerce Saraburi province.

2. Local administration organizations, such as sub-district municipality and sub-district administration organizations within Muak Lek watershed area.

3. Private sector, such as the business sector, resort and tourism.

4. People's representatives, including those living within the Muak Lek Watershed

About research: Participatory workshop was conducted to formulate an integrated strategic action plan for the development of the Muak Lek Basin by a brainstorming process from all sectors. To get the framework of the area development and action plan that will be used for protecting the environment of the Muak Lek Basin. The participatory workshop included the use of: (1) input-based knowledge, (2) future search, (3) panel discussion, (4) deep listening dialogue, (5) card Sorting, (6) focus group, (7) problem tree, (8) reflection and (9) network agreement

 Monitoring and Evaluation of the Second National Plan for Older Persons (2002–2021)

Project undertaken by: College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University. Bureau of Empowerment for Older Persons, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (currently the Department of Older Persons).

Partner:
1) National Commission on Older Persons and Cabinet.
2) Bureau of Empowerment for Older Persons, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (currently the Department of Older Persons).

About research:  The primary objective of the project is to monitor and evaluate the performance of the execution of the Second National Plan for Older Persons according to the indicators, as described in various measures, in the strategies of the plan. To assess the process of work related to older persons focusing on the promotion and protection measures. This study makes use of both primary and secondary data sources.

Prototype of the Integration of a Long-Term Care System for Dependent Older Persons

Project undertaken by: College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University and Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board

Partner: Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board

About research: The first objective is to distill the knowledge and lessons learnt from communities with long-term care systems, which have implemented coordination among health facilities, academic institutes, local administrative organizations, families and people in the communities, to provide appropriate health and social care services. The second objective is to determine concrete and replicable mechanisms driving such long-term care systems and the establishment of a secure quality of life suitable for the context of each community. This study makes use of both primary and secondary data sources

 Strategic Plan of Work Promotion for Older Persons

Project undertaken by:
1) College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University
2)  Foundation of Thai Gerontology Research and Development institute (TGRI)
3) Thai Health Promotion Foundation

Partner: National Commission on Older Persons, Cabinet and Ministry of Labour

Strategic Plan for Promotion of the Well-being of Older Persons in Bangkok

Project undertaken by: College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University

Partner: Bangkok Metropolitan Authority

Chinese influence in ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries

Project undertaken by: Center of Excellence for Mekong Studies, Institute of Asian Studies

Partner:

  • East Asia Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand
  • Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters

About research: The role of China in the GMS is directly linked with the North-South transport corridor, a transportation route where the improvement of regional infrastructures and road construction are currently underway, including the construction of Road R3 in Laos. Overall, the North-South transport corridor has instigated extensive cross-border movements of goods, people and capital. The prominent role of China is apparent from the investment in the construction of a large dam in Myanmar, and from the influx of Chinese goods into major points in the Mekong region, such as Vientiane and Thailand’s bordering towns of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

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The role of China in the GMS is even more extensive when considering the Chinese aid and arms trade with Myanmar and Cambodia. Apart from providing assistance in the form of public utilities and road construction in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, China is also the largest foreign investor in Vietnam.

The GMS is important to China in two aspects. The first is economically, where China has the upper hand as GMS countries depend on Chinese trade and investment and not vice versa. the second aspect is the non-traditional security or the non-economic aspect, where the GMS is highly significant as the main route connecting China to South and Southeast Asia. It is the main transportation route of energy to the western region of China and the provider of such natural resources as copper, iron ores, tin and foods to China. The GMS countries’ political policies and support are vital to China in the ongoing conflicts in the South China Sea. They also provide a policy base for China’s involvement and promotion of international relations among ASEAN member states.

The role of China in the GMS results in interesting international policy and academic implications.

It has previously been commented that China must fully realize that many states are still uneasy and doubtful about its roles following the earlier notion of the “Chinese threat”. For this reason, China has tried to convince the global community since the early 2000s that its outstanding growth and development are nothing but a “peaceful rise”. This concept was initially developed by groups of scholars and members of the Communist Party in Shanghai to counter the idea of the “Chinese threat, and first appeared in the speech entitled “A New Path for China’s Peaceful Rise and the Future of Asia”, delivered at the Boao Forum for Asia by Mr. Zheng Bijian, the former deputy rector of the Central Committee School, at Hainan in November of 2003. Chinese leaders at the time, including President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, have subsequently reiterated this idea on many occasions in speeches given in both Asia and the United States.

The primary objective for China’s introduction of the ‘peaceful rise’ notion is to refute the earlier perception of “China as a threat” and to assure Asian countries and the United States that China’s impressive economic growth and military strength will never pose any threat to global peace and stability. In contrast, other countries will benefit from China’s progress. Reactions to the concept of “peaceful rise” were diverse, both inside and outside of China. It was certain that such representation by key Chinese leaders had generated a certain degree of trust, especially when it was supported by China’s peaceful roles and attitudes of earlier periods. For many countries the notion of peaceful development seems to be highly convincing.

However, a serious critique put forward at that time tended to stem from the use of the word “rise”, which was quite objectionable even among the Chinese people. The implication of a “prominent surge to limelight” of the word “rise” was widely criticized in China. The main controversy lies in the argument whether it was reasonable to present China in that light. Many people thought it was too soon to speak of the ‘rise’ of China as this view of China’s social and economic development might be too optimistic. They believed that a large number of limitations in China’s internal structures would take generations to overcome for China to truly “rise”. Some outside analysts suggested that the “peaceful rise” notion actually implied inherent threats. If the world did not accept the new roles of China, the Chinese nationalistic sentiments may be roused. For this reason, high-ranking Chinese leaders subsequently tried to avoid this word. For example, although President Hu Jintao used the words “peace” and “peaceful” a total of 11 times in his speech at Boao Forum for Asia 2004, he never once mentioned the word “rise” again.

In fact, China’s main interest from that time onwards has never been on international affairs. Its ultimate goal is to achieve continuing economic growth and social stability to ensure internal political stability. At present, the Chinese government’s pressing concerns are with the internal problems that will have great impacts on the nation’s future, with the current Chinese leaders currently being mainly interested in solving these problems. Despite the focus on internal political stability, based on physical integration and national unity together with sustainable socio-economic progress, China has never overlooked the contribution of its foreign policies to the domestic scenes. A stable external environment has always been China’s covert foreign policy. It strives to gain global recognition as a major superpower and a responsible member of the international community.

The highest expectation that the Chinese people demand from its government is to see continuing economic progress for China while the government needs internal political stability to meet such expectations. Xi Jinping, the current president of China, has proposed the “Chinese Dream” concept as the main goal and new direction for China. It was first mentioned in his speech at the national museum in Tiananmen Square in November 2012. At the time that this speech was delivered, the national museum was holding an exhibition on the theme of “Road to Revival”. This exhibition presented the sufferings that China had to endure at the hands of the Western superpowers and the Chinese Communist Party’s rescue of the country from that fate. When Xi Jinping became president in 2012 the Chinese economy had already begun to slow down. His “Chinese Dream”, which is a dream of “a great revival of the Chinese nation”, therefore, implies the goal of social and economic revival to maintain growth.

Nevertheless, China’s recent activities have raised certain concerns about its direction in the international community. Some of these activities are: the “Maritime Silk Road” strategy, the “One Belt One Road (OBOR)” policy, the many proactive projects, such as investment offers for the construction of a dual track railway system in Thailand and the high-speed train systems in Indonesia and Thailand, the establishment of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and land reclamation activities in the South China Sea for maritime and military strategic purposes. China’s conflicts with a number of ASEAN member states in the South China Sea have, in effect, extended its influential roles in the GMS to all of Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. China’s recent projects and involvement reflect an interest in its political and military stability rather than in economic stability. Southeast Asia has become China’s connecting point in these activities. The big question now is whether China is having a role in or is exerting influences over the region. It is the question that reflects a return to the negative image of China as a perceived threat to ASEAN and GMS countries.

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