Bravo, Thailand! It has been five years in a roll that Thailand has maintained its number one spot of all ASEAN countries to have the highest score for SDG index; for 2023, Thailand got the score of 74.7 for its sustainability development. On the global scale, Thailand has secured the 43rd spot out of all 166 countries, moving a spot closer from last year’s spot of 44th.
Thailand remains number 1 for the 5th consecutive year (2019 - 2023), ahead of Vietnam (73.3), Singapore (71.8), Indonesia (70.2), Malaysia (69.8), Philippines (67.1), Brunei (65.7), Cambodia (64.8), Laos (63.0), and Myanmar (60.4). In ASEAN, the most major challenge goals are Goals No. 15, 16, 14, 3, and 2.
The score of Thailand underscores the fruit of the government’s attempt to bring ahead the sustainability development plan to reality. They announced sustainability as the goal of the national development plan.
SDG assessment is comprised of 17 aspects to measure country’ SDG index:
Good health and well-being
Clean water and sanitation
Affordable and clean energy
Decent work and economic growth
Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
Sustainable cities and communities
Responsible consumption and production
Life below water
Life on land
Peace, justice, and strong institutions
Partnerships for the goals
The assessment is divided into two sections: Rating and Trend. Ratings are read by color. Red is for major challenges; orange is for Challenges; Yellow is for challenges remain; and Green is SDG achieved. The trend is indicated by the arrow's direction and color. The red arrow pointing downward is Decreasing. The orange arrow pointing to the right is Stagnating; the yellow arrow pointing toward the northeast direction is Moderately improving. The green arrow pointing upward is on track or maintaining SDG achievement.
According to last year’s SDG report for Thailand, there have been some improvements. For example, for No Poverty (Goal No. 1) and Quality Education (Goal No. 4), they are overall on track or maintaining SDG achievement.
In the category of Good Health and Well-Being (Goal No. 3), Maternal mortality rate, surviving infants who received two WHO-recommended vaccines, and Subjective well-being got rated as SDG achieved.
In the category of Gender Equality (Goal no. 5), the ratio of female-to-male labor force participation got rated as SDG achieved and is On track or maintaining SDG achievement.
In the category of Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal No. 11), the proportion of urban population living in slums and Access to improved water sources (%of urban population) are assessed to be On track or maintaining SDG achievement, while the annual mean concentration of particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) is assessed as moderately improving. Furthermore, Satisfaction with public transport is rated as an SDG achieved.
For Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal No. 12), Production-based SO2 emissions and SO2 emissions embodied in imports are rated as SDG achieved. Nitrogen emissions embodied in imports are also rated as SDG achieved and, moreover, assessed as being On track or maintaining SDG achievement.
For Partnerships for the Goals (Goal No. 17), the Statistical Performance Index is rated as SDG achieved and as being On track or maintaining SDG achievement.
While there is a lot of progress to celebrate, there is still room for improvement. In the category Sustainability Cities and Communities (Goal No. 11), the annual mean concentration of particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) is rated Significant challenges remain. It does not appear to be too surprising, as it is one of the major challenges, we have all faced for the past couple of years. The detrimental effects of PM 2.5 touch us at the core of our daily lives. Some days, it is dangerous to breathe air into our bodies. All sectors, including the government, business, and citizens, have to act swiftly and effectively. We can all help change the orange color to at least yellow or, if possible, green.
One of the aspects that is in serious need of immediate action is Life on land (Goal No. 15): Permanent deforestation. The red color, which refers to the fact that major challenges remain, reinforces the urgent need to act fast before it is too late.
Thailand has stood proudly at the number one spot in the region for 5 consecutive years. But it is crucial to be persistent and keep on improving to ensure even more satisfactory results, as well as fixing and improving the parts that are still not ideal. People of all sections—government, business, and citizens—should play their parts and encourage one another to always strive for the better.