The meeting of National Project Advisory Committee (NPAC) was organized by the Foundation for Older Persons’ Development (FOPDEV), HelpAge International and Senior Citizen Council of Thailand (SCCT), implementing partners of the project under the European Union funding entitled on Promoting older people's rights and income security by building organisational capacity in Thailand. This EUR 554,645 project (ca. THB 20 million), 90% of which is funded by the European Union, is implemented over 4 years (2013 - 2017) and aims to 1) establish mutual understanding in the current status of older persons policies 2) present results and achievements of stakeholders and 3) promote the empowerment of older people and civil society organisations (CSOs) to prepare Thailand for a secured aging society with connectivity to the ASEAN community.
In his opening remarks, Jerome PONS, Head of Cooperation Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand stressed the EU's commitment that it would continue to make funding opportunities available to support civil society and help strengthen the local civil society organizations and their capacity to engage with public authorities.
According to Mr. Sawang Kaewkantha, Executive Director of FOPDEV, the project has brought together 30 groups of older people under the strengthened Older People Groups (OPGs) Model to carry out joint activities, enabled 3,000 members in the project areas to implement actions under the Watch Group Volunteer on Older People’s rights and Income Generating Activities. These OPGs and their members have been able to access their rights and entitlements on financial and social welfare supports and to get supplement incomes for their families. They are recognised and involved in local development planning enabling them to access resources from local authorities which continuously supports their action plans. OPGs have been involved in the planning of older persons’ development at provincial and national levels which will ensure the relevant governmental policies and plans support older persons’ development and their social security services etc. The project also contributed to two collaborating CSO networks working on policy engagement and advocacy on national social pension system, including the Old Age Allowance (OAA) as basic social pension and 2nd cycle of the national human rights report and action plan of the Royal Thai Government (RTG) under universal periodic review (UPR) process to UNHCR.
The future policy supports on promoting the empowerment of older people and civil society and their contribution to prepare Thailand for a secured aging society were also discussed among meeting participants from relevant national key stakeholders. Stakeholders included representatives from governmental agencies, academic institutions, older people’s organization and civil society organization.