3. The core content of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

3.1 Action plan on labour

3.1.1 Overall situation

The Thai government pays attention to the prevention, suppression and elimination of Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. In 2015, the RTG established the Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) to solve illegal fishery problems with the related sectors. A surveillance and forecasting of the fishery situation centre has been established. Measures to monitor IUU fishing such as Fisheries Regulations 2015 and Amendments (Issue 2) 2015, and more than 100 IUU situation control regulations have been issued. In addition, the Cabinet passed a resolution on 3 November 2015, adopting the National Action Plan to Prevent, Suppress and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing for 2015–2019, the National Marine Fisheries Management Plan and National Policy in the Matter of Marine Fishery Management 2015–2019. Importantly, the National Fisheries Policy Committee passed a resolution on 25 January 2018, approving the country’s fishery development guidelines to rid IUU fishing (IUU – Free Thailand) to show the determination to push the whole Thai fishery system to adhere to international standards and to be accepted among the international community. The Cabinet passed a resolution on 3 April 2018, approving the appointment of a National Committee to set policies, supervise and implement the plan on freeing Thailand from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing with an aim for correct, rapid, and successful achievement.

 

3.2 Action plan for community, land, natural resources and the environment

3.2.1 Overview of the situation

The plan [the National Economic and Social Development Plan No. 12 (B.E. 2560–2564) (2017–2021)] emphasizes the creation of economic and social growth while being environmentally friendly, and the promotion of responsible production and investment and creating green business jobs in private organizations to reduce policy conflicts that affect the environment and people during the development of infrastructure, tourism and community livelihoods. …

The Department of Forestry of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is a government department that has administrative roles in managing forest resources for sustainable use. It is under the process of implementing the policy of reforming the natural resource and environmental management system (forestry) to support the 20-year National Strategy (2017–2037). The Ministry has also pushed forward the Community Forest Act, which gives the opportunity for the community to participate in the collective maintenance and use of forest resources. The Cabinet passed a resolution to approve the principles of the Community Forest Act on 22 May 2018. Most recently, the Community Forest Act was enacted and announced in the Royal Gazette on 24 May 2019. …

Another important challenge is the protection of human rights during the implementation of large-scale development projects to create economic growth especially mega-projects that affect the way of life of people and the environment. The government has various measures such as directions for feasibility studies including environmental and health impacts. A committee is appointed to supervise, setting up measures to support or compensate the affected people such as the provision of relocation. The government has decided to delay some projects as requested by civil society and has engaged in trying to find solutions through discussions with local people. …

Currently, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand strengthens the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process by strictly complying with the National Environmental Quality Promotion and Conservation Act (No. 2) B.E. 2561 (2018), in the second paragraph of Section 48 stating that the EIA must include the issue of compensation for suffering or damage, and in the third paragraph of Section 48 stating that the EIA must add assessment of health impacts and conduct hearings for the opinions of stakeholders and related communities. In addition, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand has also created a transparent process in the EIA and Environmental Health and Impact Assessment (EHIA) by (1) Conducting public hearings by inviting all target groups, including communities, NGOs, local government organizations, stakeholders and the media; (2) Providing opportunities for communities and the public to express their opinions at public forums; (3) Opening multiple channels for complaints; (4) Holding an EIA Monitoring meeting with tripartite components, namely, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, local government officials, industrial plant operators and communities. In addition, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand has strictly supervised the private consulting firms to ensure that they have neutrality in their work. …

Every project of the Industrial Estate and Industrial Port Development Project must have an assessment report on the effect of the environment in the forms of an EIA or EHIA report, in which the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, as the project owner and the authorized approval agency, conducted hearings with surrounding communities and people about the project development, as well as promoting community participation processes from the beginning of the development of the projects until implementation of the projects. In the EIA and EHIA reports, measures are added for reducing the impact on the quality of life of the community including human rights risks. …

For the mining project, details of improvement of the environmental and social impact assessment system are as follows:

(1) Minerals Act B.E. 2560 (2017) and related subordinate legislation divided mining into three types according to the size of the area, types of minerals, geological characteristics of the mineral resources, mining methods and impacts on the quality of environment and public health that may arise from mining. The scope of the mining project (in accordance with the promotion and conservation of national environmental quality law defined as type 2 or type 3 mines) must include preparing the environmental impact assessment report (EIA or EHIA), dependent upon the context of each case.

(2) Improvements in the environmental and social impact assessment system for mining projects in order to be prudent and concise by requiring public hearings with affected communities, both according to the mineral law and in accordance with the law on promotion and conservation of national environmental quality are as follows:

(2.1) Minerals Act B.E. 2560 (2017) and subordinate legislation stipulates that a public hearing of the community is required and, in the event, that the community does not agree, a public referendum, in the area requesting a concession certificate, shall be conducted according to the characteristics and methods announced by the Minister.

(2.2) The National Environmental Quality Promotion and Conservation Act B.E. 2535 (1992). The project must conduct the EIA report with two times a participatory process, namely, the first time at the initial stage of the project to hear opinions on the draft proposal of the project and the scope of the study and, the second time, during the preparation of the draft report, measures to prevent and correct the environmental impact, as well as the area rehabilitation plan after the expiration of the concession. For the project that requires the EHIA report, four times participation is required: (1) To listen to opinions on the scope of the study; (2) For participation in the impact assessment; (3) For hearing opinions on the draft report; and (4) For the authorized approval agencies to organize the process for hearing opinions and to clarify in detail.

(3) In addition, the Mineral Act B.E. 2560 (2017) and the relevant subordinate legislation require the preparation of basic information on the environment and public health and creating a barrier area in the case that the mine may result in causing highly adverse impacts to the quality of environment and public health.

(4) At present, every step of the environmental and social impact assessment of the mining project considers the importance of three types of impacts from large-scale projects: (1) The impact of environmental pollution on health; (2) Forcing communities to relocate without compensation or insufficient plans; and (3) Lack of public consultation or inadequate studies with communities that are affected by the development of large-scale projects. Therefore, the Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM) has emphasized the accuracy and transparency of information in every step from preparation of the area for the request for permissions, details of areas and communities, geological report, mining project plans and area rehabilitation, the EIA report, details and the opinions of the community, both according to the requirements of the mineral law and the law on the promotion and conservation of national environmental quality. As well as these issues, details of the consideration of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report from the Specialist Committee are to be stipulated as additional conditions for approval. …

The Department of Industrial Works has specified the location of factories to be away from public places or communities and defined the specification of the type and size of the factory that requires having environmental personnel at the factory to determine the amount of pollution (water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution and sound/noise pollution) that can be released into the environment. They will also assign a specialist to be responsible for the safe storage of hazardous materials under the responsibility of the Department of Industrial Works in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Act B.E. 2535 (1992) including regulation criteria to eliminate waste or unused waste and the supervision of chemicals and hazardous waste as well. The steps in determining the authorization to establish or expand the factory that needs to prepare the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA) must go through the process of the public hearing as required by the Ministry of Industry for safety. There are safety measures from the risk assessment of the factories that must prepare a risk analysis report for the potential dangers in operating a factory. Criteria are set for hazard identification for risk assessment and the preparation of risk management plans and safety measures for the working environment including boilers, industrial gas, chemicals, radioactive materials, electrical systems in the factories, fires and cold storage. …

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand is assigned by the government to develop industrial estates in three Special Economic Zone (SEZ) areas in three provinces: Sa Kaeo Industrial Estate, Sa Kaeo Province, Sadao Industrial Estate, Songkhla Province, and industrial estates in the Special Economic Zone in Tak Province. Each industrial estate established has studied the impact on environment, economy, society and community through the preparation of the environmental impact assessment report and use it as a tool to create preventative and alleviative measures towards environmental impact and to monitor environmental quality. One of the measures requires factories in the industrial estates to pay attention to the importance of hiring local labour which will help reduce migrant labour problems. But if using migrant workers is a necessity, the operator should choose only registered ones.

However, in the future, the government has laid down a policy for establishing and developing an industrial estate to do the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report, to which all related departments must adhere to as a guideline. The SEA is an assessment of integrated sustainability in the area of environment, economy, society and community.

 

3.2.3 Action Plan (2019–2022)

Pillar 1: State duties in protecting (Protect)

 

No.

 

Issues

 

Activities

Responsible agencies Time-frame (2019–2022) Indicators (wide frame) Compliance with National Strategy/ SDGs/UNGPs
1. Developing and improving laws, regulations, policies and related measures Review, amend, revise and propose laws, regulations and measures regarding land management, water resources and climate that are affected by business operations –   Ministry of Agriculture

–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

– Ministry of Industry

2019–2022 Amount of laws, regulations, and measures relating to land management, water resources and climate that are affected by business operations that have been reviewed, revised, and regulated –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 6, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Revise the laws that cause monopolies in agriculture –  Ministry of Agriculture 2019–2022 –   Number of laws reviewed and propose amendments to prevent or reduce monopolies in the agricultural sector –   National Strategy for National Competitiveness Enhancement

–   SDG 2

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

Relevant agencies took the comments and recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, which the Cabinet has resolved to consider improving the Act to Promote and Conserve National Environmental Quality Act B.E. 2535 (1992) and expedite enactment of the Act on People Participation in the Public Policy Process B.E. (draft) and issue regulations on the Report of Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) – Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 2019–2022 –   Consideration has been taken in accordance with recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand

–   Meeting for consideration of the Act on People Participation in the Public Policy Process B.E. (draft) and Regulations on the Report of Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers report

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 5 and 7

2. Public participation Promoting the management of community forests to solve the problem of coexistence between forests and communities – Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 2019–2022 – Activities, projects and measures organized to promote or solve community forest management problems –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

Organize discussions and public hearing to receive people’s opinions, including from related ethnic groups in the area. The public and communities should get access to complete information and participate in decision- making processes easily, as well as giving comments on the evaluation of the effect on the environment, land expropriation considerations, land management and forest conservation of the government, etc. before undertaking any project, including large-scale projects relating to energy management, power plants, petroleum, and drilling for the exploration of natural resources, in order to encourage people and communities to have a role in determining project operation areas, considering the way of life and culture. –   Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council

–   Ministry of Agriculture

–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Energy

–   Ministry of Interior

–   Ministry of Industry

2019–2022 Number of activities and projects organized to listen to the opinions of the people relating to operations that affect the public –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 7, 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

3. Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EIA/ EHIA) Require the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) to assess public participation in a neutral, independent, and transparent manner.

Monitor and investigate after passing the environment evaluation to control the business sector not to violate various rights after the project has been approved.

–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Industry

2019–2022 –   Doing EIA/EHIA as required by law, with people and communities in the area participating

–   Set a process to monitor the project periodically

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

3. Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EIA/ EHIA) Require the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) to assess public participation in a neutral, independent, and transparent manner.

Monitor and investigate after passing the environment evaluation to control the business sector not to violate various rights after the project has been approved.

–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Industry

2019–2022 –   Doing EIA/EHIA as required by law, with people and communities in the area participating

–   Set a process to monitor the project periodically

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

Review and develop the evaluation system for environment impact and the process to receive public opinion and stakeholder participation from the start and in every step of the project. Inform public of the impact assessment report. Access to information must be easy and convenient. –   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Energy

–   Ministry of Industry

2019–2022 – Reviewed and developed an evaluation system for environment impact and the process to receive public opinion and stakeholder participation.

– Access to EIA/EHIA assessment data

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

Strengthen the current impact assessment process to be stronger, especially in large-scale development projects such as infrastructure and mining and energy
projects 
–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Energy

–   Ministry of Industry

–   Ministry of Transport

2019–2022 –   Strictly implementing the EIA/EHIA process especially on large projects –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

Follow up and monitor the implementation of the measures specified in the EIA report for prevention and addressing of expected impacts from the project accurately and quickly in order to be a database of projects to prevent and address the expected effects in the future –   Agency that is authorized to approve the project is the main responsible agency with the following joint agencies:

–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Industry

–   Ministry of Energy

–   Ministry of Transport

2019–2022 – Monitoring of compliance with the measures set out in the EIA/EHIA evaluation report for prevention and

–   address the expected effects in the future

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8

Prepare Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA), a systematic analysis process to assess the potential environmental impact arising from implementing and policy, plan and programme (PPP) levels to achieve the goal on sustainable environment in compliance with the SDGs –  Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council 2019–2022 –   Guidelines for Strategic Environment Assessment

–   Promotion and dissemination of evaluation guidelines of Strategic Environment Assessment for agencies to follow

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10

5. Management of natural resources and the environment Enforcing administrative- related laws in managing natural resources and the environment with regard to protection of human rights and affected communities –   Office of the Attorney General

–   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

2019–2022 –   Activities/projects on promotion of law enforcement in managing natural resources and the environment with efficiency –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10

Review and develop mechanisms to manage natural resources and the environment by focusing on participation of all sectors, including women and ethnic groups –   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Interior

2019–2022 Reviewed and developed mechanisms to manage natural resources and the environment by focusing on  participation of all sectors –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

Supporting the role of communities in conservation and restoring natural resources and inspecting environmental quality –   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Interior

2019–2022 Activities/projects to support the role of communities in conservation and restoring natural resources and environment –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

7. Minorities and ethnic groups Provide mechanisms for ongoing consultation with the community and open to the public to participate in making decisions which includes minorities and ethnic groups affected by the management of land, natural resources and preserving the forest –   Ministry of Social Development and Human Security

–   Ministry of Interior

2019–2022 Mechanisms for consultation with the community includes minorities and ethnic groups affected by the management of land, natural resources and preserving the forest –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

8. Development of government operations Establish a report on environmental assessment, critical business situations and cases of human rights violations that occurred, as well as specify protection measures of human rights of villagers in the area –   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Interior

2019–2022 –   Established report on environmental assessment, critical business situations and cases of human rights violations that occurred

Measures to protect the human rights of local peoples

–   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7

9. Business operations Consider creating a mechanism to monitor businesses’ actions that violate land rights, natural resources and the environment –   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Industry

–   Ministry of Interior

2019–2022 A mechanism established to monitor the actions of businesses that violate land rights, natural resources and the environment –   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

– SDG 11, 13, 14 and 15

–   UNGPs Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10

 

Pillar 2: Responsibilities of the business sector in respecting of human rights

2.1 Compliance with laws, standards and principles of human rights relating to the environment, natural resources, community and land

  • State enterprises and the business sector must review the organization’s rules and regulations and improve them to comply with relevant laws, standards and principles of human rights related to the environment, natural resources, community and land, especially the UNGPs, to prevent human rights violations.
  • State enterprises and the business sector must promote and monitor their subsidiaries, including their supply chain in respect to relevant laws, standards and human rights principles related to the environment, natural resources, community and land.
  • State enterprises and the business sector must cooperate with the government and international organizations in the event of monitoring and review compliance with laws, standards and principles of human rights related to the environment, natural resources, community and land.

 

Pillar 3: Duties of the state and the business sector to provide remedy (Remedy)

 

No.

 

Issues

 

Activities

Responsible agencies Time-frame (2019–2022) Indicators (wide frame) Compliance with National Strategy/ SDGs/UNGPs
3. Prosecution Increasing efficiency in civil and criminal proceedings in cases related to the environment, natural resources and land rights – Office of the Attorney General 2019–2022 Relevant law enforcement officer strictly proceeded with civil and criminal cases related to environmental, natural resources and land rights –   National Strategy for Public Sector Rebalancing and Development

–   SDG 16

–   UNGPs Articles 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31

5. Remedies Develop systematic measures to effectively remedy the affected persons from managing natural resources or conducting business that violates land rights, natural resources and the environment, covering physical and mental damage and in line with the needs of affected people and communities from business/ government projects –   Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment

–   Ministry of the Interior

–   Ministry of Justice

–   Ministry of Industry

2019–2022 Government sectors, state enterprises, and businesses have measures to remedy the

affected persons from managing natural resources or conducting business that violates land rights, natural resources and the environment

–   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

–   SDG 11 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31

Establish a systematically plan for land restoration, natural resources and the environment in places affected by business operations –   Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

–   Ministry of Interior

2019–2022 Government, state enterprises and businesses with systematically plans for land restoration, natural resources and the environment in places affected by business –   National Strategy for Eco-Friendly Development and Growth

– SDG 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16

–   UNGPs Articles 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31