On August 21, 2016, at Pak Ping Ing Tang Boutique Hotel, Nonthaburi, young advocates met in a small group to form up the network to monitor the implementation of The Act for Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem B.E. 2559 (2016) which is already in effect. The essence of this Act is concerning the establishment of the working mechanism which is the collaboration of five major ministries stipulated to be the responsible bodies in giving directions to address the issues of the prevention and solution of pregnancy problems among girls and young women between 10-20 years of age. These ministries include Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ministry of Labour, and Ministry of Interior.
In addition to the establishment of national and local mechanisms, the other essence clearly stated is the right of adolescents in Section 5: an adolescent has the right to make a decision by himself and has the right to information and knowledge, right to reproductive health service, right to confidentiality and privacy, and right to social welfare provision, that are equal and non-discriminative, and is entitled to any other rights for the purpose of this Act accurately, completely and adequately.
The fact that adolescent right is explicitly addressed and recognized makes this Act become one of the very few progressive laws in the world that emphasize young right. This is consistent with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that focus on building partnerships to achieve the goals by promoting collaboration from all sectors, enhancing government agencies and public organizations, including the shared accountability to the goals. It is, hopefully, expected that the essence of the Act will lead to the achievement of Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Regarding the implementation to propose policies and guidelines as well as monitoring, the Act stipulates the establishment of the Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem Committee consisting of the Prime Minister as the Chairperson. Two representatives of children and youth appointed by the Chairperson from the representatives of the Children and Youth Council of Thailand provided that one is male, and one is female.
As the essence of the Act focuses on adolescent right and representatives of children and youth are to be appointed as the national committee, it is undeniable that young people play the major role in advocating this Act to achieve its ultimate aim. Therefore, the United Nations Population Fund Thailand (UNFPA Thailand) in collaboration with the Women’s Health Advocacy Foundation co-hosted this small-group meeting, by inviting representatives from provincial youth councils and local youth networks to confer and analyze this role to achieve the meaningful engagement of the youth.
The results derived from this meeting will be prepared and developed into a proposal then further submitted to the responsible authorities for their consideration and implementation.
On August 22, 2016, the Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem Committee arranged its 1/1016 meeting at the Office of the Secretariat of the Cabinet. This first session was conferred by Deputy Prime Minister Adm. Narong Pipattanasai, Minister of Social Development and Human Security Pol. Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew, Assistant Minister of Public Health M.D. Thawat Suntrajarn, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Education Mr. Suphat Jampathong, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Interior Mr. Suttipong Juljarern, and Director General of Department of Health M.D. Wachira Pengjuntr, together with representatives from the five main ministries and other related agencies to consider the implementation in accord with the Act for Prevention and Solution of the Adolescent Pregnancy Problem B.E. 2559 (2016).