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Good governance is defined by the ability to govern by inviting the participation of people from every sector, understanding social responsibility, and conducting processes in a fair, efficient, transparent, and accountable manner. Good governance is crucial as communities seek to solve social, environmental and economic problems that are brought on by unsustainable development. Good governance seeks to cure moral and ethical deterioration as well as the weakness and inefficiency of management mechanisms at every level, including national and organizational levels in the public, private, and social sectors.

TEI has pushed “Environmental Governance” - the concept of public participation in environmental projects and policy development - since 1994. Thailand signed the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992, in which the 10th principle stated that “sustainable development needs public participation from every sector.” TEI has compiled research on the roles of environmental and non-governmental organizations working in Thailand, public participation in evaluating environmental impact in Thailand and ASEAN countries, and public participation in social dimension of Asia and Europe. In addition, TEI has also pushed for community and stakeholder participation in multilateral cooperation to solve city and environmental problems and for guidelines and frameworks for the public sector to promote public participation in setting sustainable development policies and the developing operational plans.

Those research efforts set up TEI to be a participant in The Access Initiative (TAI) in 2000-2001as the representative of Asia. TEI worked with members from 4 other continents to develop an environmental good governance indicator tool to assess the government and industrial sector performance in securing public participation. During 2001-2009 this indicator was used with several development projects throughout Thailand, including the industrial development project in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, also known as Map Ta Phut Environmental Governance. Thailand Environment Institute has also served as a lecturer for non-government organizations in the ASEAN neighboring countries working on implementing this indicator.

TEI’s work in good governance has also influenced thinking at high levels in the public and private sectors in Thailand. Not only were environmental governance and/or public participation included as the main point in 3 sections relating to the management of environment and natural resources in the new Constitution that was declared on August 2007, but they were also used by TEI to push for the formulation of environmental and health information that can be accessible in accordance with Section 7 (8) of the Official Information Act, B.E. 2540 (1997).

Thailand Environment Institute has also worked to increase the capacity of civil society organizations and the media in communicating about important issues and securing the right to access information. Public participation and environmental access rights are the origin of the good governance needed to drive sustainable development in the Southeast Asian region and Greater Mekong Sub-region. In the public sector, TEI has supported capacity-building projects with National Municipal League and Local Administrative Organization of 5 countries in Southeast Asian region. Furthermore, TEI has also focused on building relationships and enhancing cooperation among public, academic, social community sectors, and local people so that they can better engage in planning and decision-making, develop sustainable development networks, and connect to other efforts at the local, national, and international scales.

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