story : 25
Nov 05 / Vol. 22 No. 16
His Royal Development
is the text of the Oath of Succession to the Throne taken
by His Majesty King Bhumibol during his coronation on the
5th of May, 1950. For 55 long years since then, the King has
faithfully and earnestly carried out his pledge. More than
3,000 development projects have been initiated by the King
and implemented throughout the country, most of them aimed
at improving the living conditions of his subjects, especially
those in the remote rural areas.
All these development projects have
originated from the frequent and extensive trips made by His
Majesty, sometimes accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
and other members of the Royal Family, to all regions of the
Kingdom, using one of the four provincial royal residences
as the starting point. They are located in Chiang Mai in the
North, Sakon Nakhon in the Northeast, Hua Hin in the Mid-South,
and Narathiwat in the Far South.
HM King Bhumibol in his frequent visits
to his people in the rural areas which
make him a most travelled king.
Before the King visits a particular area, he will study the
information from documents and maps in order to learn in detail
about the conditions of the area. After arriving at the site,
he will collect more information on pertinent facts and the
latest data by interviewing the local people, conducting an
on the spot survey and discussing with relevant officials.
From the King's initiatives, the government
agencies concerned will seek more information to plan the
operation or draft the master plan consistent with the King's
wishes. The King always insists that his initiatives are only
suggestions, so that there is room for others to manoeuvre.
If the proposed project is found feasible in terms of benefits
and cost-effectiveness, the government will carry it out.
Otherwise, the government has the right to abandon it.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej
was crowned as the 9th king
of the Chakri Dynasty on 5 May 1950.
When the King's initiative is judged feasible, the Office
of the Royal Development Projects Board (RDPB) will coordinate
with various agencies and assign to them the task of drafting
the details of the project. Afterwards, the Office will again
study the drafts to make sure that they will be implemented
effectively and in line with the King's initiative. Then the
responsible agencies will proceed with the project with the
coordination of the RDPB Office. In some cases, a special
central organization is established to take charge.
When the King goes on a visiti
to his subjects, HM Queen Sirikit (the one on the
side of the King) often goes with him to assist
in alleviating the suffering of the people.
During the implementation,
the RDPB Office will periodically monitor and evaluate the
work. And the King himself will return to the project site,
whenever there is an opportunity, to observe the progress,
and to suggest solutions if he finds any problems or obstacles.
The King has thus become not only the most travelled monarch
in Thai history (and perhaps the monarch who has made the
most working trips among rulers of the world today), but also
the best informed about the whole spectrum of rural problems
Majesty never simply issue instructions and go it alone. The
impetus always come from the local people, who must agree with
the proposal and cooperate to see to its success. The Royal
Development Projects have all been started in this way.
They cover a wide range of subjects from the introduction of
new crops to water conservation, from swamp drainage to the
preservation of forests, and their aim has been sustainable
development, serving not only immediate needs, but also those
of future generations. This is to be achieved by conserving
the environment and restoring areas that have already suffered
The Royal Development Projects are divided into eight categories
according to the sector of the economy that is targeted viz:
Agriculture, Environment, Public Health, Occupational Promotion,
Water Resources, Communications, Public Welfare, and others.
They can also be classified according to how they are related
to His Majesty, as follows:
The Projects initiated according to His Majesty's wishes:
These are the projects in which the King conducts study and
experiments himself. They are based on the recommendations of
experts and carried out with his private funds in the early
stages. Once the projects have yielded satisfactory results,
His Majesty passes them onto the government for further development.
The Royal Projects: They are the private projects
of Their Majesties the King and Queen, such as the crop substitution
project in the North, which aimed at stopping opium cultivation,
deforestation and the slash and burn cultivation method traditionally
used by the hilltribes. His Majesty has given them advice and
assistance on the planting of cool climate fruits and flowers
for a better income.
The Projects Under Royal Patronage: These are
projects operated by the private sector using its own financial,
technical and human resources and based on His Majesty's advice
and guidelines. They include the Thai Encyclopedia for Youth
Project, the Dictionary Project and the Din Daeng Cooperative
Village Development Project.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the Royal Development
Projects, His Majesty initiated the establishment of six Royal
Development Study Centres, in various regions of the
country to serve as the place for conducting study, research
and experimentation in search of development guidelines and
methods suitable to the different conditions of each area and
the occupations of the local people. The results of such study,
research and experimentation will be disseminated to the local
people. The Centres are also intended to serve as "living
natural museums" where interested people can come to observe
and gain knowledge from the real thing. The Six Centres are
located in Chiang Mai in the North, Chachoengsao, Phetchaburi
and Chanthaburi in the Central Plain, Sakon Nakhon in the Northeast
and Narathiwat in the South.
The King talks directly with his subjects.
That's how he learns about their miseries.
From the above you will see how His Majesty has diligently upheld
the traditional Thai precepts of virtuous kingship by assisting
his subjects to alleviate their distress and increase their
happiness. Indeed, he is today recognized not only by the Thai
people, but also by knowledgeable foreign people, as the only
monarch in the world who is dedicated both mentally and physically
to development work for the sake of the nation.
Sources: The Government Public Relations Department, the Golden
Jubilee Network, the Office of the Royal Development Projects