When King Bhumibol Adulyadej ascended the throne on June 9, in 1946 and made a coronation oath "to reign with righteousness, for the benefit and happiness of the people of Siam," little had the Thai people known that the oath meant a profound devotion of His Late Majesty to welfare of his peoples which was translated concretely into development programs and projects nationwide. His majesty's 70 year reign interestingly coincided with modernization schemes influenced by the conventional model of development which divided nations into three major categories: the developed, developing and underdeveloped. While success was evident by measures of material and technological gains, King Bhumibol was aware of the approach's drawbacks whereby the rural, small holder farmers, the largest segment of the population were excluded in the process of national economic development. Natural resources and environment on which small farmers depended were over-utilized and vastly degraded. Globally the world has similarly seen great paradox between benefits and threats of mainstream economic development. At the same time, the global concern for sustainable development has emerged.
The 1992 Earth Summit of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which took place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil resulted in a comprehensive plan of action, Agenda 21, to be taken globally, nationally and locally. "The Rio Declaration" pointed to global community's greater awareness and commitment to end social and economic disparities and to restore deteriorating eco-systems. As of January 2016, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), a global call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all can enjoy peace and prosperity represents a continuing commitment among individual governments, multilateral organizations, and peoples of the world to work together to achieve the targets of action so as to create an equitable, habitable and peaceful world for all.
Amidst rising alternative development thoughts in response to rising environmental and social tension, the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy, evolved from King Bhumibol's thinking on development and his personal efforts to respond to problems of the marginalized in Thailand had taken shape. His wisdom, intellect and compassion for his peoples which were manifested in over 4,000 development projects nationwide, resulted not only in the increase in the overall quality of life of the people, but had inspired large and small movements in alternative livelihoods, applying His Late Majesty's theories in agricultural production and natural resource management, to name a few.
In terms of development directions of Thailand which characterized by enthusiasm for economic growth via industrialization propelled by globalized economy, King Bhumibol's thoughts on sufficiency economy has offered significant implications for the economy of the nation. "A sufficiency economy means to have an economy where people are more self-reliant and have adequate livelihood for themselves" with three main components: moderation, reasonableness and self-immunity, His Late Majesty emphasized that the development of the nation that must begin from within and have to be carried out step by step to ensure that the strong foundation was built before higher levels of economic growth are to be promoted. Moreover, the impact of His Late Majesty's efforts to improve the quality of life of his people had also reached an international level. Many countries became partners and benefited from royal development. In 2006 the United Nations Development Program presented the Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to King Bhumibol.
While the recent passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej has caused much sadness and sorrow, the fruits of his love and compassion felt by the people of Thailand and friends from around the world have continued to inspire the building of networks of sufficiency philosophy practitioners in various sectors. Recently, the National Reform Steering Assembly has begun the mission to examine and compile King Bhumibol's lifetime work and achievements. "King Bhumibol's Science" was consequently coined to make the knowledge, theories and philosophy of His Late Majesty widely accessible and beneficial to the public at large as Thailand continues to struggle for the right balance in her development path. In order to gain a genuine and in-depth understanding of King Bhumibol's Science, it is vital that a forum for thinkers, practitioners, students and teachers, policy makers, government officials, the civil society sector, and the mass media be created so that all can collectively contemplate on the implications that King Bhumibol's Science have in light of a movement that is global in scale, common our mission to create a sustainable future.
OBJECTIVES1) To create a platform for all constituents-the people, thinkers, academics, civil society, the mass media, religious organizations both nationally and internationally-to come together and exchange views on King Bhumibol's Science and the implications in global sustainability movement.
2) To provide opportunities for partnerships building in expanding the scope of applications of King Bhumibol's Science in order to achieve sustainable development goals.
3) To collectively formulate directions of human and social development based on King Bhumibol's Science.