Visitors to Thailand this year will have noticed the special Royal Emblem marking His Majesty's 60th year on the throne. This emblem will be displayed in many forms throughout the land to mark this most auspicious year: flags bearing the emblem will be hung from public and private buildings, and special crystal brooches have been struck to mark this special occasion.
These are part of the nationwide celebrations taking place this year to mark His Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Year in which Royal Families and heads of state from 26 countries have come to join in the celebrations in which His Majesty became the first recipient of The United Nations Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award. Royal Barge processions, fireworks displays, concerts, exhibitions and a myriad of events have been, and continue to be held throughout the land to mark this very special year.
King Bhumibol is known throughout the world as a monarch who works tirelessly for the benefit of his people; a man who has initiated no fewer than 3,000 Royal development projects in which the people are directly consulted on how best to tackle problems pertaining to their individual regions.
On the occasion of the presentation of the UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award, the Thai government and the United Nations were joining hands in organizing a panel discussion, "His Majesty the King and Human Development." The discussion has taken place at Vites Samosorn, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok on May 26, from 9:00 to mid-day. President of Privy Council and Senior Statesman General Prem Tinsulanon gave opening remarks and the UN Secretary-General also gave a speech. An exhibition on His Majesty's projects and the UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award was also held at the same place.
The following is the text of a speech given on May 26, 06 in Bangkok by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of the presentation of the UN Human development Lifetime Achievement Award to His majesty the King.
"Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentleman, Later today (May 26, 2006) I will have the honour to present the United Nations Development Programme's inaugural Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej. I fell especially privileged to do so on the 60th anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne.
For the United Nations, this ceremony has special significance for another reason as well: it marks the very first time that we have recognised outstanding contributions to development through this award.
Human development, reduced to its essence, is a very simple concept: it is about empowering people-not the few, not even the many, but all people. It is about empowering them through education, through opportunity, through healthcare and nutrition. It is about empowering individuals with choices, so that they may live healthy, knowledgeable and creative lives.
Human development puts the individual at the centre of development. It emphasises economic growth and sustainability, human rights and security, equity and political participation.
The United Nations prioritises such development at the very centre of its agenda, and we put tremendous effort into promoting it. We do it through the UNDP's global and national Human Development Reports, we do it through the development work of UN country teams in 166 countries across the world, and we do it through this award.
After all, if Human Development is about putting people first, there can no better advocate for it than His Majesty. At this coronation in 1946, His Majesty uttered the famous Oath of Accession: "We shall reign with righteousness, for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people." Ever since, His Majesty has lived this oath, selflessly devoting his time and efforts to the well-being and welfare of the people of Thailand, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or legal status.
As the world's "Development King", His Majesty reached out to the poorest and most vulnerable people of Thailand, listened to their problems and empowered them to take their lives into their own hands.
His Majesty's rural-development projects have benefited millions of people across Thailand. They have prompted small-scale agriculture, appropriate farming technologies, sustainable use of water resources, conservation and flood and drought mitigation.
In northern Thailand, His Majesty's rural-development initiatives have helped reduce opium harvests through crop substitution. At the same time, these projects have improved access to healthcare and education for the local population and brought significant benefits to the ethnic groups living in the mountainous region along the Myanmar (Burmese) and Lao borders.
His Majesty's active support for a wide range of social causes has proved crucial their success. From promoting child health to combating iodine deficiency, from campaigning against disease to increasing access to education, programmes supported by his Majesty impact the everyday lives of millions of his subjects.
At the same time, His Majesty's visionary thinking has helped shape the global development dialogue.
His Majesty's "sufficiency economy" philosophy, emphasising moderation, responsible consumption and resilience to external shocks, is of great relevance to communities everywhere during these time of rapid globalisation. The philosophy's "middle-path" approach strongly reinforces the United Nations'own advocacy of a people-centred and sustainable path towards human development.
His Majesty's development agenda and visionary thinking are an inspiration to His Majesty's work and help draw attention to their underlying thinking well beyond the borders of the Kingdom of Thailand.
With today's award, we hope to further promote the ideas and experiences of His Majesty's work and help draw attention to their underlying thinking well beyond the borders of the Kingdom of Thailand.
For His Majesty's extraordinary achievements and deep and unwavering commitment to human development, this afternoon it will be my great honour to present to His Majesty the UNDP's first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Thank you."
It is trimmed in gold on a golden blue background, and encircled by diamonds representing wise and important courtiers who serve His Majesty.
The Royal Cipher is placed on the throne of Bhadrapith and surmounted by the great crown of victory and Insignia. At its base is a pink ribbon, trimmed with gold and carrying the inscription:"The Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty the King's Accession to the Throne B.E. 2549 (A.D. 2006)."