Report from National Coordinator in Thailand

Preparing to Host DELGOSEA’s Final Conference

reported in July 2012

For the DELGOSEA Thailand team, July was all about preparing the project’s final conference that was taking place in Bangkok from 7 - 8 August. The Municipal League of Thailand (MLT), the official project partner of DELGOSEA in Thailand, was hosting the conference and was counting on the support of the office in Bangkok for all kinds of technical and administrative assistance. The two organisations worked in close cooperation to prepare documents and facilities for the more than 150 guests that were expected to intend.

Additionally, there were the presentations of MLT, of the best practice city Phuket as well as the Thai pilot city of Pakkret to prepare – not to forget the market place session where all Thai pilot cities were planning to present their replication results.

This big event nearly but not quite overshadowed the fact that Songhkla Municipality received their last monitoring visit in early July. The task force members and other stakeholders involved were interviewed for a last time and reflected on their replication experience.

Final Monitoring and Preparations for Final Conference

reported in June 2012

Just as the other DELGOSEA national teams, DELGOSEA Thailand was busy with final monitoring trips and reports as well as evaluation activities. Pakkret, the waterfront town that has successfully revitalized an old market area, received its fourth and last monitoring visit on 2 June. The monitoring team was pleased with the progress of the city: the old market hall had been restored, the resettlement of traders has begun promisingly and more customers, both locals and tourists, are coming to the market. The Pakkret Old Waterfront Market Conservation and Development Group has started a collaboration with a boat trip company, which encourages even more tourists to visit. The only city where the monitoring cycle has not yet been completed is Songkhla where the monitoring team will travel in July.

The DELGOSEA Thailand team also turned its attention to the final conference which will be held in Bangkok in early August. With more than 150 representatives of pilot and best practice cities, LGAs, academia, media and civil society invited, much needs to be prepared.

Focusing on pilot cities

reported in May 2012

The DELGOSEA Thailand team was very involved in the regional workshop for the development of policy recommendations, which took place in Phnom Penh at the beginning of May. Several Thai speakers had been invited, on topics as diverse as risk management and benefits of decentralization. The national coordinator also participated actively at the discussion about regional policy recommendations and sustainability of project results and provided input into ‘The Phnom Penh Record of Principles on Strengthening Decentralization and Local Governance.’ The declaration is calling for a more permanent dialogue on decentralization and local governance to be established between ASEAN member states and for expanded collaboration with local authorities (LAs), as well as civil society, in a multi-stakeholder approach.

After the conference the DELGOSEA Thailand team turned its attention again to the progress of the pilot cities. Two of the cities, Yala and Chiang Ray, received visits by the monitoring team at the end of May, giving them the chance to discuss progress and to seek advice on how to deal with remaining challenges. As the project is coming close to the end of the EU co-funded implementation period, both cities are keen to reach the agreed goals. For Yala this was the final monitoring visit and the city's coach was happy with the progress made.

Not only these two cities, but Pankkret and Songkhla as well are very busy with compiling information for the final documentation, collecting pictures and stories from the field. They are currently working on implementing the recommendations that emerged from their latest monitoring visit and are looking forward to meeting their respective monitoring teams again next month to discuss progress.

Preparing the National Workshop on Policy Recommendations

reported in April 2012

In April, the DELGOSEA Thailand team turned their thoughts to the preparations for the national workshop to finalise the policy recommendations for improving national legislation and administrative procedures to favor good governance. This workshop took place on 19 April in Bangkok.

Various meetings were conducted to ensure that everything was in place for a successful workshop, including a pre-workshop session on 18 April with all the coaches and participants from the four pilot cities to review the policy recommendations and prepare presentations for the following day.

The DELGOSEA team was delighted that 52 participants from many different sectors were able to attend the workshop, including representatives from local government associations (LGAs), civil society, media and academia – and, of course, the best practice and pilot cities!

The delegates were looking at issues of sustainability and policy recommendations to ensure that the results and lessons learnt from the DELGOSEA project would not be lost. The emphasis was on fine-tuning the already existing drafts for policy recommendations to improve national legislation and administrative procedures to favor good governance. Many ideas emerged and these will be brought into the discussion at the regional workshop taking place in Cambodia in early May.

The national coordinator for Thailand also attended the 2nd National Workshop on Model Cities which as held in Bangkok on 23 April to share DELGOSEA’s experience with models for environmental sustainably cities in ASEAN. The best practice city of Muangklang where environmentally friendly waste management has transformed the municipality was also attending and reporting on the lessons learnt during the process.

The Monitoring Continues

reported in March 2012

After the focus on capacity building, which had kept DELGOSEA Thailand busy in February, it was time to resume the monitoring activities.

The third monitoring visit to the city of Pakkret took place on 21 March. The team, consisting of the coaches and representatives of TEI/MLT, met with members of the Pakkret city council and the old waterfront community.  The focus this month was on in-depth interviews with some of the key people involved, as well as on taking pictures and collecting quotes and stories for the documentation of the replication process. Apart from formal meetings, the team took some time to observe the developments at the old waterfront market and to visit the owners of some shophouses within the market area. Pakkret is progressing well and only slight adjustments are needed to the implementation schedule.

At the end of March, it was the turn of a best practice city, Muangklang, to involve the DELGOSEA team in one of its activities: the opening of the rice mill at the village accompanied by a spiritual ceremony. This special event coincided with a seminar in which the municipality shared its approach to becoming a low carbon city with representatives from Kampot and Choam Chao in Cambodia. The participants were able to join the parade that took them along the Prasae river allowing them to fully experience the growing biodiversity in Muangklang.

Back in the office, the DELGOSEA staff was busy catching up with some administrative duties, such as following up monitoring reports and reviewing the progress of the pilot cities in discussion with the cities’ coaches.

Concentrating on Capacity Building

reported in February 2012

The Thai DELGOSEA team welcomed a new national coordinator, Aphinya Udomwech, who joined at the beginning of the month and got busy straight away, coordinating three activities and making sure that all stakeholders were contacted and aware of the change in contact person.

After the first monitoring visits to all Thai pilot cities took place in the previous months, it was time for a round of capacity building to help the task force members in all municipalities to address challenges and weaknesses identified during the monitoring trips.

The first of these workshops was in fact a capacity building for the coaches on local governance best practice replications, taking place from 11 – 12 February in Songkhla Province. The aim was to deepen the coaches understanding of the monitoring process and to enable them to support the pilot cities even better in their project implementation.

At the same time, on 11 February, a training workshop took place at Yala municipality, concentrating on capacity building for volunteers who are helping the city reach its objective of improving waterworks services.

Finally, at Chiang Rai municipality, trainings were conducted in two towns, Pijit and Pitsanulok, from 22 – 24 February, focusing on issues related to solid waste management in the city that were identified during the recent monitoring trip to the city.

Chiang Rai in the Spotlight

reported in January 2012

The highlight of January for the DELGOSEA team in Thailand was the celebration of the 750th anniversary of Chiang Rai city to which the national coordinator had been invited, together with the other local government units (LGUs) participating in the DELGOSEA project.The visitors arrived on 25 January and, despite this being a celebratory occasion, took the opportunity to look at some projects in the city that have potential to become best practices and to monitor the visibility of the DELGOSEA project. Everybody was delighted to see a big sign, displaying all partner logos and giving information on the project – excellent publicity!

The festivities, which had brought many people to the town proved on excellent occasion to organise a small forum, giving 20 participants from Chiang Rai municipality, school teachers, executive mayors from other LGUs, representatives from UN-Habitat and the ACCCRN project funded by Rocky Feller Foundation as well as DELGOSEA the opportunity to share experiences and lessons learnt in the area of urban and environmental management. This exercise proved extremely useful, with the small setting allowing for genuine dialogue about common concerns.

Apart from this successful event, the DELGOSEA team was busy with end of the year reporting commitments, preparing the internal interim report as well as the financial report and catching up on monitoring reports.

Monitoring Visits Are Starting in Earnest

reported in December 2011

For December, the monitoring teams of DELGOSEA Thailand had planned visits to all four pilot cities – a busy month! Two different teams went to Yala and Chiang Rai, starting on 29 November with their respective meeting schedules. In both cities, discussions with the task force focused on logframes and indicators with the teams looking at the progress so far as well as potential challenges and delays, carrying out interviews with stakeholders involved.These were productive days and all involved feel reassured by how the implementation process is going

From 19 – 20 December, two monitoring teams visited Pakkret and Songkhla, with the DELGOSEA national coordinator joining the programme in Songkhla. Here as well, the meetings with the task force centred on logframes, indicators and ways to measure the project’s progress, as well as on assigning roles in the monitoring process to each individual team member. After a presentation on the activities that have taken place in Songkhla so far, the monitoring team gave helpful suggestions on how to evaluate people’s satisfaction by using well-designed questionnaires and conducted in-depth interviews with two key members of the task force.

Following on from Songkhla, the national coordinator and the local coach continued to Prik municipality, one of the best practice cities in Thailand, for a meeting to brief representatives of the city on DELGOSEA’s process. Ten executives from the town, including the local coach, took part and were very interested to hear about the achievements of DELGOSEA and the plans for 2012.

Part of a good monitoring process is the sharing of the results with all stakeholders to ensure that lessons can be learnt by a wider audience. Such a meeting took place on 21 December, involving a total of 23 monitors, representatives of four pilot cities and the TEI/DELGOSEA project team. This presented the opportunity for all monitoring teams and pilot cities to exchange information on the progress of their activities, to brainstorm on the following ones and to bounce ideas of each other. The preparation of the documentation of the transfer process was another important topic on the agenda. It proved to be a very productive day, with the monitoring plans of all cities updated and everybody being on top of the plans for the next year.

One Last Study Visit

reported in November 2011

Finally, Danang from Vietnam, the last remaining pilot city, which had not yet visited their best practice partner, was eager to make the trip to Phuket to learn more about fiscal management and investment in tourism. A group of eight delegates visited the Old Town from 13 – 17 November for a close look at what had made the Thai model such a success. After a presentation by an external expert on the issues at hand, a tour of the Old Town, led by community leaders, followed. In-depth talks with representatives of the local council and administration formed part of the programme for the next day, and the group received a thorough introduction to the government structure and the community approach used to promote the concept of the preservation of the historic city centre. The visitors felt inspired and are looking forward to intensifying their cooperation with their hosts. ACVN and Danang representatives were happy to offer the resource persons Dr. Yongtanit and Dr.Tasanee to participate in the capacity building activity which will be held in Danang during 28-30 Nov.

On 21st Nov, Songkhla Province - one of BP of the thematic area on institutional governance - had a meeting among municipal councils, municipal staffs, and executives to share and learn about DELGOSEA; especially how Prik can get involved and benefit from it. Dr.Chanisada Choosuk, the junior expert and Dr. Bharkbhum Bhochanukool, as the coach were invited to present what they have done and what they have gained from DELGOSEA as well as how to go forward. Many questions from audiences had been raised and they are very proud to see their good job published thru Delgosea website as well as material.

It's All about Monitoring

reported in October and November 2011

DELGOSEA Thailand spent October preparing the monitoring of the pilot cities, which will be the main focus of the work for the national coordinating team over the next few months. The team managed to keep the project on track despite the extremely difficult flood situation in many parts of Thailand – quite an achievement!

From 13 -14 October, the first meeting about the monitoring process took part in Bangkok, attended by the national coordinator, the project coaches, representatives of pilot cities as well as academic experts. Each city’s logframe, one of the most important monitoring tools available to DELGOSEA, were discussed and updated, indicators for baseline data collected and a sequence for the monitoring visits agreed with the coaches and the cities. Another aspect covered at this meeting was the issue of capacity building which will be closely targeted to the needs of each individual pilot city, as identified by the monitoring team after the first visit to the cities. Finally, counterparts at each municipality were identified and the logistics for the first round of visits prepared. By the end of the two days, the participants felt very satisfied with the good preparation and planning for this important new project phase.

The individual programme for each city started with a meeting of the task force for Chiang Rai on 11 November 2011, attended by eight members of the Chiang Rai task force and one monitoring expert. The purpose of this get-together was to decide on the agenda and speakers for the first activity in the city, as well as to clarify the plan and methodology for the monitoring. Agreement was easily found, and the kick-off meeting on 29 November 2011 is as good as arranged.

Focus on the Midterm Conference

reported September 2011

Just like all the other DELGOSEA teams across the region, in August and September DELGOSEA Thailand concentrated heavily on the midterm conference which was taking place on the Indonesian island of Batam from 27 – 28 September 2011. A preparatory meeting for the conference was held in Bangkok from 16 – 17 August with 21 representatives of pilot cities, coaches, TEI and project staff. The aim was to share the lessons learnt from the study visits to the best practice cities, to review the replication process and the action plan for the monitoring of the four pilot cities and to get ready for the midterm conference. The participants were happy with the results; a logical framework was drafted for all four pilot cities and policy recommendations were drafted for the improvement of national policies, legislation and administrative procedures to support the efforts of the current and future replication of best practices.

A total of 34 delegates from Thailand attended the conference – an impressive number! All four pilot cities had prepared an exhibition, presentations and leaflets to distribute during the market place session. 15 coaches and representatives of the pilot cities stayed for another day to take part in the training workshop on monitoring and evaluation, which was focusing particularly on the use of logframes in the monitoring process.

Hosting a Delegation from the Philippines

reported in September 2011

From 5 - 8 September, eight members from the Alaminos city council, led by the mayor, visited Udonthani in Thailand to get an impression of how a wetland for wastewater treatment could be constructed. The Thailand Environmental Institute (TEI) jointly with DELGOSEA invited Dr. Jirasak Jindaroj, an expert of constructed wetland to join as a resource person. After attending his presentation, ten delegates visited both sites of the constructed wetland as well as two communities, which have successfully embarked on urban organic agriculture and environmental activities. The trip was most informative and reassured the visitors that they had selected a good best practice example: constructed wetland was indeed easy to design with low maintenance costs, therefore not requiring a large budget. Both the hosts and the visitors were keen to keep up the relationship and continue to exchange information.

Time for the mid-term evaluation

reported in July, 2011

At the end of July, it was the turn of DELGOSEA Thailand to receive a visit from Dr. Marion Fisher, the evaluator of the EU-project. Dr. Fisher stayed from 25 – 28 July, travelling to the four Thai pilot cities, Songhkla, Yala, Pakkret and Chiang Rai for tours and interviews, accompanied by members of the project team. This was a learning process for both sides: not only gained Dr. Fisher insights into the action plans of the pilot cities, she was also able to offer helpful comments and suggestions.

Exchange visits are taking off

reported in July 2011

In June and July, DELGOSEA Thailand was busy with all aspects of exchange visits: after preparatory meetings in June, four pilot cities visited the partner cities in July that had provided the best practices now being implemented. Three delegations from the pilot cities Chiang Ray, Songkhla and Pakkret Municipalities went to Indonesia to meet up with their counterparts in Kartamantul Regency, Jogyakarta and Solo City from 12 – 17 July 2011.  From 19 – 24 July, it was the turn of representatives from Yala city to catch up with their colleagues from Lang Son City in Vietnam. For both sides these visits were a fascinating experience, the visitors especially gaining new ideas and inspiration to guide them in their work.

DELGOSEA Thailand also played host to two delegations from other countries in June, one each from the Philippines and Indonesia, who paid a visit to their respective best practice cities and discussed the developments in their cities. During 8 – 12 June, representatives of Misami Oriental, Philippines, explored Phuket City to find out more about how to improve their old city, some of them continuing on to Muangklang to gain an insight into the ‘low-carbon city’ concept being implemented there. Muangklang was a popular destination, also receiving a delegation from Wakatobi Regency, Indonesia, at the end of June. Both delegations showed themselves very satisfied with their trips and had enjoyed the chance to deepen the relationships with the partner city.

Workshop in Pakkret Municipality

reported in May 2011

On 9 May 2011, DELGOSEA Thailand National Coordinator Tharee Kamuang and Thailand Environment Institute’s Senior Expert, Mr Thomchang Homnerd travelled to Pakkret Municipality to assist the pilot city team in replication. Mr Homnerd conducted a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and strategy map workshop to identify the barriers for replication and subsequently formulate strategies that address these barriers. This support assisted Pakkret’s team in moving forward with the development of transfer concepts, a key output that will facilitate successful replication

With the activities conducted at the MLT office and the workshop organized in Pakkret Municipality, all the pilot cities were able to finalize their transfer concepts. While the Pakkret workshop was more focused and targeted to only one pilot city, the insights it provided were also important for the other pilot cities.   

Pilot Cities and Coaches partner in Replication

reported in April 2011

On 28-29 April 2011, twelve coaches and representatives from the four DELGOSEA pilot cities worked together on the transfer concepts at the office of the Municipal League of Thailand (MLT). On the first day, participants finalized the agreements and materials that have been presented the day after during the National Workshop. For DELGOSEA Thailand, this also provided a venue for the coaches and the pilot cities to plan their consequent course of action to facilitate replication.

Pilot cities benefitted from the suggestions provided by different government agencies, community-based organizations, and experts invited to attend the National Workshop. The preparatory work, conducted on the first day and the National Workshop held on the second day assisted the pilot cities in finalizing their transfer concepts.  These activities build the rapport between the coaches and the pilot cities.

Workshop to Improve Transfer Concepts Conducted in Pilot Sites 

reported in March 2011

With the first draft of the transfer concept finalized, DELGOSEA Thailand coordinated separate workshops with pilot sites to improve the draft transfer concept. First stop is Pakkret Municipality wherein a team of coaches headed by Mr. Suntisuk with Dr. Tasanee and Ms. Somporn liaised with deputy mayors, municipal staff, and different stakeholders and gathered their insights on the draft transfer concept. Next stop is Songla Municipality, visited by a team headed by Dr. Bharkbhum assisted by Mr. Akkalak and Mr. Wuttichai. Third stop is Yala City and fourth stop is Chaing Rai. Dr. Siripen was accompanied by Ms. Nutchanapa and Mr. Wittaya in Yala while Ms. Rungnapa was assisted by Mr. Daoruang and Mr. Sakchai in Chaing Rai.  

All the four workshops followed the same format. First, participants are given basic information on good governance and the importance of the four thematic areas. Then, a coach presents the Best Practice Model for replication. The morning session culminates with a presentation of the pilot area by its draft transfer concept. Majority of the afternoon session is devoted to brainstorming with the participants to improve the transfer concept. Once the draft transfer concept is finalized, it is presented to the respective mayors of the pilot sites for approval. Before the workshop concludes, a “task force for BP replication” is established in each pilot site.

Drafting of Transfer Concepts Commenced

reported in February 2011

13-14 February 2011. To start the ball-rolling in the development of transfer concepts, DELGOSEA Thailand organized a two-day workshop in Thailand Environment Institute (TEI). The workshop was attended by key persons from pilot municipalities and all the DELGOSEA-trained coaches. Brainstorming on the draft transfer concept is the agenda of the day. The participants started working on the transfer concept by identifying relevant stakeholders, providing a title, and detailed information.

During the workshop, the final decision on BP models for replication by the pilot sites. The workshop also provided a venue for the workshop participants to fully appreciate the DELGOSEA project and better understand good governance. It also gave workshop participants a working knowledge on the four thematic areas namely; People’s Participation, Institutional Governance, Inclusive Urban Public Services, and Fiscal Management and Investment.

Kick-off Meeting for the DELGOSEA Project Held 

reported in January 2011

14 January 2011, DELGOSEA Thailand organized a kick-off meeting, gathering 10 coaches who participated in the Trainers Training in Pattaya. The main goal of the meeting is to create awareness on the 16 Best Practices (BP) model for replication. It is also provides an opportunity to popularize the DELGOSEA project among various stakeholders and create a plan for the transfer concept.

A representative from the Municipal League of Thailand (MLT) formally opened the meeting. It was followed by a short presentation of the 16 BP model for replication by the National Coordinator and coaches. The meeting culminated with a discussion on the preliminary plan for the transfer concept workshop by coaches and representatives from the pilot areas. The discussion was facilitated by the junior expert of the DELGOSEA project in Thailand, Dr. Chanisada.

Translated versions in Thai of the BP models were also distributed in the meeting.

4th Pilot City in Thailand Named

reported in January 2011

After joining the kick-off meeting on 14 January 2011, representatives from Pakkret Municipality decided to join the DELGOSEA project. Aptly called as the 4th City to join best practices (BP) replication in Thailand, Pakkret Municipality joined the circle of Yala, Songla, and Chang Rai cities. And to seal the deal, Dr. Paul Chamniern (“Dr. Paul”) and Ms. Tharee Kamuang (“Tharee”) visited Pakkret City on 21 January 2011 for the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, formalizing the engagement of Pakkret Municipality in DELGOSEA BP replication. After presenting the 16 BP models for replication, Pakkret Municipality decided to replicate Humane Relocation and Empowerment of Street Vendors of Solo City, Indonesia.

The Memorandum of Agreement signed by the mayor and Dr. Paul last 21 January 2011 will include the signature of the Municipal League of Thailand President.

DELGOSEA Thailand Met with EC Representative

reported in December 2010

17 December 2010, Dr. Paul and Ms. Tharee met with the Mr. Luca Pierantoni (“Mr. Luca”) of the European Commission in Thailand to discuss local governments in the country. Mr. Luca and representatives of DELGOSEA Thailand was joined by the Thailand Country Representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Ms. Atilgan. The discussion revolved around the structure of local governments in Thailand. Mr. Luca asked about local governments in Thailand and Dr. Paul explained it in details. During the discussion, Mr. Luca expressed interest in funding projects that seek to strengthen local governments and other projects related to local governance. He invited Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) and KAS to a consultation meeting slated in January 2011. In return, Dr. Paul explained the DELGOSEA project to Mr. Luca and invited the latter to join the transfer concept workshop scheduled in March 2011. Mr. Luca accepted the invitation and promised to join the March workshop.