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OVERVIEW OF KHON KAEN

Located in the center of the northeastern region, Khon Kaen enjoys the services of two of Thailand’s major river basins, namely the Upper Nam Chee and Namphong. Forests in the north bordering Chaiyaphum province also provide fertile land, while the vast plain on the southern part of the province provides much arid agricultural land.

Khon Kaen is a regional center for education, financial institutions, government offices and transportation. The province is also an industrial center as well as an agricultural hub. In terms of Gross Provincial Product (GPP), Khon Kaen is the second largest economy in the Northeastern region and has the highest average income per capita (around 65,558 THB) in the region.

POVERTY-ENVIRONMENT ISSUES IN KHON KAEN

Under the new clustering of provincial administration, Khon Kaen leads cluster 12, which comprises of four provinces including Roi-et, Mahasarakam and Kalasin. According to the provincial and clustered provincial development plan, Khon Kaen, given its advantageous geographical location and abundance in natural resources, is to be promoted as both a food and energy production hub for the region. However, concerned stakeholders are calling for the careful analysis of the impacts of these current development policies on the province’s agricultural ecosystems and river basins which are vital to the province’s agriculture, industries, livelihood and well-being of local residents.

Recent poverty-environment linkages in Khon Kaen and neighboring provinces result from the government’s policy to promote renewable energy. The production of crop-based ethyl alcohol or ethanol has been encouraged through government incentive schemes. Under these schemes, Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for ethanol production is waived to make it expedient to start production. However, the rapidly growing sugar as well as paper and pulp industries are contributing to the increased level of pollution and conflict relating to the management of natural resources such as water. Some 40,719 households depend on these rivers and ponds for aquaculture for their livelihoods. In the past decade, damage done to these farmers is estimated in hundreds of millions baht..

The cultivation of sugarcane and cassava as raw materials for the ethanol industry benefits farmers, thus contributes to the reduction of poverty. At the same time, it increases pressure on land.
Regulators and planners of economic development have difficulty in making policy decisions that may contribute to poverty reduction, while at the same time not harming the environment and livelihoods of environment-dependent farmers.

POVERTY ENVIRONMENT INITIATIVE IN KHON KAEN

The PEI programme will support the strengthening of the capacities of development planners in Khon Kaen in utilizing the sub-global assessment process and other relevant development evaluation tools in their development planning to achieve the goal of maintaining balance between economic growth and sustainable environmental management. The PEI in Khon Kaen will focus on three sub-districts namely Bua Ngern, Tha Krasoem, Nam Phong. The key policy question to be addressed is:

“How can Khon Kaen province achieve its goals to increase agricultural productivity and household income while at the same maintaining the well-being of residents?

COMMITTEES AND PARTNERS IN KHON KAEN

To manage and monitor all PEI activities in Khon Kaen, the following committees were established:

(1) PEI Provincial Steering Committee to provide guidance on the PEI work plan and activities, approve the provincial work plan and major adjustments of it during the course of implementation, and to facilitate, support and monitor the PEI implementation. The committee is chaired by the Deputy Governor and composed of representatives from related provincial and local government agencies, civil society, private sector;

(2) PEI Working Committee to manage the PEI activities, and provide technical comments, advices, and support for the implementation of all PEI activities in Khon Kaen. The Committee is chaired by Director of Regional Environmental Office 10 and composed of representatives from the provincial governor’s office, local administration organizations from sub-districts selected for SGA and PEI activities, and civil society groups.

PEI ACTIVITIES IN KHON KAEN

1. Strengthen awareness and understanding of poverty-environment linkages through works and forums both at the provincial and local levels;

2. Review existing mechanisms, systems and tools for provincial and clustered provincial planning in order to identify gaps in poverty-environment mainstreaming and to make recommendations for improvement;

3. Strengthen capacity of provincial and local planners in using spatial planning and SGA as tools for provincial and local planning;

4. Support the implementation of the sub-global assessment in selected sub-districts to evaluate the conditions and changes in ecosystem services and their impact on the well-being of local residents;

5. Strengthen local networks to advocate for sustainable agricultural practices and better environmental management


 

 

 

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