Thailand lies at the heart of the Southeast Asian mainland, bordered by Myanmar to the west, Lao PDR and Cambodia to the east, and peninsular Malaysia to the south. Nearly 80% of its 67 million people live in rural areas.

Thailand's main natural resources are agricultural, particularly in the bountiful central plain, and the country is the world’s largest exporter of rice. Its abundant arable land, water, forest, fish, and wildlife resources have provided the raw materials for the impressive economic growth achieved over the last 40 years.

Environmental pressures associated with the country’s rapid development have been significant. Seven environmental concerns have been identified as central to Thailand’s environmental management: forest resources, water resources, land degradation, inland water pollution, solid waste management, hazardous substance management, and climate change.

The country has made notable progress in several areas, including water security, slowing down (and possibly reversal) of forest cover loss, and solid waste management in its capital Bangkok. Other issues, such as surface water pollution and the management of hazardous substances require further improvement.

Thailand has made good progress in moving towards decentralization, recognizing that many environmental responsibilities are best managed by local governments and communities. In addition, it has made significant inroads in engaging the private sector in a variety of environmental initiatives.

CEP in Thailand

CEP has facilitated two rounds of environmental performance reporting in Thailand, covering the period 2003–2011. A biodiversity conservation corridor site has been established in the Tenassarim-Western Forest Complex and Thailand is a focus country for CEP’s climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.

Two strategic environmental assessments (SEA) have involved the country: one on tourism in the Golden Quadrangle and the other on transport and trade in the North-South Economic Corridor.

Click here to learn more about CEP’s work in Thailand.

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