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Press release

Thailand – World’s Groundbreaker in Population and Development

1 June 2020, Bangkok – Thailand is one of the groundbreaker and front runner countries in achieving population and development targets for the past 25 years since it endorsed the Program of Action of the International Conference of Population and Development (ICPD) along with the other 178 governments. The country, nevertheless, vows to intensify its commitments to advance population and development agenda as the foundation of human capital development and in alignment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Within the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) strategies, Thailand will continue universal availability of quality, accessible, and safe modern contraceptives together with accessible sexual and reproductive health information and services for all. Also, the country will ensure to reduce maternal mortality ratio to 15 per 100,000 live births by 2030 by having essential services of sexual and reproductive health in the UHC and of achieving the target of 25 per 1,000 live births per 1,000 adolescents aged between 15-19 by the year 2026 based on the Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Act and on the National Reproductive Health Policy. The commitments were announced by Dr. Samreung Yangkratok, Vice Minister of Public Health, on behalf of the Royal Thai Government at the Nairobi Summit in November 2019 which marked the 25th anniversary of the ICPD.

These commitments build on hard works by the country all through decades. The success has been remarkably recognized internationally. Thailand’s good practices in maternal health are shared with other countries through Thailand-based South-South and Triangular Cooperation on safe motherhood. This manifests the national dedication to ensure that its population, especially women, are entitled and enjoy the sexual and reproductive health and rights as the bedrock for sustainable human capital development.

Now that Thailand is an aged society. The report “Population and Development for A Sustainable Future in Thailand, 25 Years after the ICPD”, jointly launched online today by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and Thailand Science Research and Innovation, says that the number of older persons continue to rise from approximately 1.4 million in 1960 to 10.7 million in 2015, 18.7 million in 2030 and 23 million by 2050. Meanwhile, the number of the younger and working age generation, aged 15-59, began to shrink to 66.4 million in 2015, is projected to decrease to 58.7 million in 2030 and to 51.9 million by 2050. In 2018, for the first time in Thailand’s history, the number of older persons exceeded the number of children under age 15.[1] That is an alarming signal for the country to value every single human resource to ensure sustainable future.

Moreover, the report cites the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018 that Thailand ranked only 88th among 140 nations in terms of the perceived ease of finding skilled employees. As for the quality of vocational training, it ranked 75th. Digital skills and the skillset of secondary school and university graduates both ranked 61st. These results are in line with the low share of adults with advanced education in Thailand, which was only 15.9 per cent in 2016 (ILOSTAT). To close current gaps in skills, the country will need to gear up efforts to reskill its workforce.[2]

Human capital development becomes not only obligatory but also urgent. This is because the demand for skilled workers is rising but the size of young generation is smaller amid higher inequality in accessing quality education, higher number of student dropouts, inactive youth and teen mothers. And this year, the COVID-19 pandemic makes the agenda of human capital development even more compelling. All cannot deny that we must take action to close the wider gap of inequality especially for vulnerable youth and population including women and girls”, says Marcela Suazo, Country Director for UNFPA Thailand, and Representative for UNFPA Malaysia.

UNFPA is calling all sectors in the country, government, private sector, CSOs, young people, academia and media to concertedly join forces to find innovative solutions and invest in a rights-based and quality human capital development to support younger generation to prepare to age with potentials, good health and well-being and to live an intergenerational society where young and older people support, contribute and understand one another under.”

UNFPA supports and partners with all sectors to create positive environment for young people to voice their needs and demands, exercise their rights, and access to youth-friendly information platforms. These are foundations and preparing Thailand for a sustainable future amid population ageing, leaving no one behind.


Read the full report and the policy brief of “Population and Development for A Sustainable Future in Thailand, 25 Years after the ICPD” at: or scan the QR code.





[2] The report “Population and Development for A Sustainable Future in Thailand, 25 Years after the ICPD”, page 60,