On January 28, ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) partner in Thailand Transportation for All (T4A) held a virtual public awareness campaign on the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Enabling Masterplan). An opening remark was given by Mr. Prasit Inthachom, Deputy-Director of the Department of Public Works for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) accompanied by the Chairman of ADF Mr. Puay Tiak Lim. The co-founder of T4A Dr. Suporntum Mongkolsawadi provided the welcoming remarks. Ms. Saowalak Thongkuay from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) 2021 – 2024 delivered the keynote speech on good practices for translating the UNCRPD into concrete actions to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. According to Ms. Thongkuay, the three pillars of ASEAN (economic, socio-cultural and political security) were previously implemented in siloes, however, the Enabling Masterplan introduced the need for all pillars to work together to mainstream disability rights holistically.
The campaign consisted of two panel sessions with a focus on the Enabling Masterplan and its implementation particularly related to accessible transportation and smart city projects in Thailand. During the first panel session the representative of Thailand to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) H.E. Prof. Dr. Amara Pongsapich said that the disability community must be included from the beginning of the policymaking process. Dr. Pongsapich explained that some policymakers are not aware of disability rights, and therefore, public awareness activities are very important for policymakers. The representative of Thailand to Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD) H.E. Siripong Sriarkha pointed out that we must know the current state of the Enabling Masterplan’s implementation including the successes, accomplishments, achievements, what gaps still exist and strategies to address those gaps for the second half of the Enabling Masterplan’s implementation. The second panel featured four speakers: (1) Mr. Napong Nophaket from National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA); (2) Mr. Prasit Inthachom, Deputy Director, Department of Public Works, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA); (3) Mr. Soralak Sotthiyothin, Director of Architecture Division, Mass Transit Rapid Authority (MRTA); and, (4) Mr. Krisana Lalai, Chairperson, Friendly Design Foundation (FDF). Speakers discussed the implementation, achievements and impact of accessible transportation and smart cities by showcasing an example of Bangkapi’s inclusive smart city project. A closing remark was provided by Mr. Chusak Chantayanont, the Chairperson of Disability Thailand. T4A presented a music video showing the current state of accessible transportation in Thailand and how it is perceived by persons with disabilities. A total of 161 people participated in this virtual campaign event.