By The Economist at 11:32 AM 5/31/2020 (PDT)
During their time with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Economist was very pleased to have the opportunity to talk with the delegate of Thailand, one of the sponsors of Working Paper Bob:
[The Economist]:Could you give me a brief overview of what’s in your paper?
[Thailand]: Generally I guess a brief overview of what is in our working paper is the plan for developing sustainable and economically feasible transportation infrastructure for developed, underdeveloped, semi-developed nations. The committee recognizes that not every nation is in the same spot, you know, for example we have countries like Laos who are very underdeveloped in terms of public transportation infrastructure compared to countries like Singapore who have one of the best infrastructure systems in the world. So our committee has developed a plan to integrate sustainable transportation infrastructure effectively into each of these three categories.
[The Economist]: Do you think your paper covers all or a majority of the goals/needs of this committee?
[Thailand]: Definitely, definitely we had all the countries in the committee state their affirmation for the working paper, they stated concerns that they had when editing, reediting it over again and making sure that every country’s opinion is encompassed in the working paper.
[The Economist]: Was there anything particularly difficult to come to an agreement about?
Thailand: Definitely with China, [a] very opposing force in the committee, because of a different government style with different needs with not only sustainable expectations but also economic expectations so definitely very powerful force in our committee, but I think most of our committee agreed we should try to separate out the plans side by side and also make sure each country is given to the right to do what they like with the working paper.
[The Economist]: Are there any sticking points in this resolution that you think may make it difficult to pass, or do you think it covers everyone’s needs?
[Thailand]: I think one of the most difficult things is the amount of government expectation in the resolution because a lot of governments aren’t really incentivized to work with other Western nations or ally with the European Union or to, I guess, take loans from other nations. Especially Thailand - right now, we’re in a coup and we have a lot of money focused on the military and we’re trying to focus on keeping our country safe and stable and so transportation may not be a top most priority for us but we have to integrate this into our resolution paper, we have to ensure that the government themselves are responsible for making sure that money is well allocated, well spent and that’s kind of a sticking point in the resolution paper, but its up to the governments themselves so we’ll have to see.
[The Economist]: What are you proudest of in your working paper?
[Thailand]: I’m most proud of the way that we’ve handled the development of sustainable transportation infrastructure because that was a huge topic back when we were first debating in all of our moderated caucuses and on the secondary speaker’s list, we had a lot of issues with sustainable transportation infrastructure, specifically China voted for, I guess, more stable infrastructure first and then focusing on environmentally feasible methods. But a lot of other countries agreed that we should try to integrate them side by side or at last in parallel, knock two birds out with one stone. So I’m really glad that we‘ve come to the conclusion that developed countries in terms of transportation infrastructure should be able to build off of that and build more sustainable transportation infrastructure but countries with very underdeveloped infrastructure should focus on getting their basic needs attained. I’m very glad we came to that compromise.
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