Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Speeches & Transcripts

Remarks by Thailand Country Director on World Development Report 2014–Risk and Opportunity

April 28, 2014

Ulrich Zachau Dissemination Seminar World Development Report 2014 at Thailand Development Research Institute Bangkok, Thailand

As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. Sawatdee krub.   

In recent years, the world has suffered a multitude of crises.

  • Financial and economic turmoil disrupted the world economy, with a loss of income, jobs, and social stability. 
  • Massive natural disasters have devastated entire communities from Haiti to Thailand to Japan, leaving behind a trail of fatalities and economic losses.
  • Concerns about global warming have also grown, and so have fears about the spread of deadly contagious diseases. 

How can we become more resilient to such crises and risks, and correspondingly, how can we take most advantage of opportunities? The World Development Report 2014 (WDR 2014), Risk and Opportunity—Managing Risk for Development, seeks to provide answers to this question.

Now, pursuing opportunities requires taking risks. But many people, especially the poor, are often reluctant to take risks, because they fear the potential negative consequences. Yet, failure to act and take necessary risks can trap people in poverty, leave them vulnerable to shocks, and even less able to pursue opportunities that would otherwise improve their well-being.


" Thailand improved the management of macroeconomic, financial, and corporate risks after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998. This has helped Thailand navigate the recent Global Financial Crisis. There are other risks where Thailand can take further action to manage risks. "
Image

Ulrich Zachau

World Bank Country Director for Thailand

The key is to manage risks effectively. The World Development Report 2014 demonstrates that effective risk management can be a powerful instrument for development. It can save lives, avert economic shocks, and help people build better, more secure futures. This report calls for individuals and institutions to go beyond “fighting crises”, take initiative, and become “systematic risk managers”. Recognizing, preparing for, and reducing risk can pay off abundantly. 

Consider Thailand

  • Thailand improved the management of macroeconomic, financial, and corporate risks after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998. This has helped Thailand navigate the recent Global Financial Crisis.
  • There are other risks where Thailand can take further action to manage risks.
  • Thailand can (1)  improve water management to help with flood control and rising water levels in Bangkok; (2) strengthen skills development to manage risks to competitiveness; and (3) reduce energy intensity to address both competitiveness climate change risks.

Risk can never be completely eliminated. But families, firms, and governments can do a great deal to reduce risks:

  • Risk reducing energy, water, and transport investments and policies;
  • Community-based prevention, education, and training;
  • Insurance;
  • And effective regulation.

The World Development Report 2014 aims to synthesize worldwide research and countries’ experiences and good practices into a useful compendium that is easily accessible and well-referenced. It can be a valuable guide both for mainstreaming risk management into the development agenda, and for helping countries and communities strengthen their own risk management systems.

My hope is that the WDR 2014 will lead to risk management policies that allow us to minimize the danger of future crises, to seize opportunities for development, and to help realize a world free of poverty, with shared prosperity for all.

I would like to thank the Thailand Development Research Institute (or the TDRI) for co-hosting today’s seminar.  I also want to thank Norman Loayza, the Director of the WDR 2014, for coming to Bangkok for this seminar. I hope all of you will find the seminar more or less useful for your work, your organizations, and for Thailand as a whole.

Kob khun mak krub.



Api
Api