The 4th Asian Regional Conference on Safe Communities

The 4th Asian Regional Conference on Safe Communities

(คำกล่าวเปิด “การประชุมระดับภูมิภาคเอเชีย เรื่อง “ชุมชนปลอดภัย ครั้งที่ 4” “ The 4th Asian Regional Conference on Safe Communities ” จัดโดย ศูนย์วิจัยเพื่อสร้างเสริมความปลอดภัยและป้องกันการบาดเจ็บในเด็ก ณ หอประชุมกองทัพเรือ เมื่อวันที่ 22 พฤศจิกายน 2550)

Opening Speech

The 4th Asian Regional Conference on Safe Communities

November 22, 2007


H.E. Paiboon Wattanasiritham

Deputy Prime Minister

and Minister of Social Development and Human Security

Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall

Honorable Guests, Distinguished Speakers and Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased and honored to be invited to preside over the opening ceremony of the 4th Asian Regional Conference on Safe Communities. First of all, I would like to express my appreciation for the capacity of the community and youth representatives at this conference who have expressed their intention to campaign for a safe community environment. In addition, I would like to thank the representative of the World Health Organization and the Safe Communities Networks from various countries for their participation in this conference.

The problem s of accidents and the use of force are considered to be dangers that occur in every country in the world and affect every age group such as children, youths, working-age people and even the elderly. In Thailand, accidents and the use of force are the main causes of deaths. On the average, between 2001 and 2005, the number of Thai citizens who died as a result of accidents and the use of force was about 43,000 people per year. The age group that had the highest ratio of deaths was that of youths followed by working-age people while the main causes of death were road related accidents, dangers around the residential areas and the work place, environment dangers and social dangers.

The data of the Central Information Technology Center of the Royal Thai Police illustrates that in 2005 the number of casualties from road related accidents was 94,364 people or an average of 260 people per day while the number of fatalities was 12,858 people or an average of 35 people per day. The age of the majority of road related accident casualties was between 21 to 35 years followed by 16 to 20 years. It should be noted that, the incidences of accidents generally increase during the New Year and Songkran festivities. During the 2006 New Year celebrations the percentage of casualties and fatalities from motorcycle-related accidents was 85.7 percent of which 65 percent of the casualties did not use motorcycle helmets. On the other hand, the main cause of accidents during the Songran Festivities in 2006 was drunkenness.

Another area of concern is the increase in the number of accidents and deaths resulting from drowning in every age group according to the information gathered from death certificates. In 2005, the rate of fatalities was 7.2 people for every 100,000 people or approximately 4,400 people which increased to 4,600 people in 2006. Of these incidences, the rate of fatalities from drowning in children less than 15 years of age was 10.7 children for every 100,000 children. On the other hand, fatalities from drowning in the elderly were 14 people for every 100,000 people.

In order to address these issues, the Government has adjusted its role to that of providing opportunities for communities to mobilize, plan and resolve community problems using the community-based strategy. This strategy is an effort to implement measures to prevent and address accidents, natural disasters and social dangers by integrating work plans relating to the issues at hand. Pilot safe communities have been established in 11 provinces. Of these communities, 2 pilot communities namely, Choomchon Tambon Wang Sai Poon (ชุมชนตำบลวังทรายพูน) in Pichitr Province and Choomchon Soi Petchburi 7 (ชุมชนซอยเพชรบุรี 7) in Bangkok, have the capacity to appraise the degree of danger, prioritize the importance of problems and make plans to address the issues by mobilizing the participation of the people, youths and local networks. Preparations are being made to submit these pilot communities for accreditation as an International Safe Community of the WHO Safe Community Network.

This international conference is a forum for the exchange of learning where the lessons derived from the activities of academics, local administrators and communities concerning safety management at the national and international levels can be synthesized. In addition, this forum can lead to the formation of a safe community network of academics, implementers and administrators in the International Safe Community Project. Moreover, the conference could foster the creation of a network of safe community implementers and lead to the extension of the concept to new communities in order to create more successful safe communities in the future.

I wish all participants at the 4th Asian Regional Conference on Safe Communities in Bangkok a fruitful and memorable time at this event. Finally, I have great pleasure in declaring the conference open.

Thank you

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