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Annex IV: Monitoring of the Second Master Plan on Community Development, Environment and Narcotic Crop Control in Highland Areas (1997-2001)88 - summary

Following the Cabinet resolution of 7 February 1989 on hill tribes and narcotic crops, the First Master Plan (1992-1996) was formulated to serve as a framework among the concerned government agencies in preparing their own operational plans. The Second Master Plan (1997-2001) was drawn up to solve problems in highland areas, with special emphasis on the integration of hill tribe people into the national administration system. In line with the main objectives of the second plan,89 the report highlights issues related to (1) monitoring the government implementation projects/programmes; and (2) field data collection for future policy formulation.

Government implementation of the master plans

About B1 793.44 million was needed to implement the projects and programmes proposed in the Second Master Plan. Due to the economic crisis, the government could allocate only B259.95 million, which was the main constraint in implementing the plan. Nevertheless, the plan's main objectives were achieved, especially the individual identification of hill tribe people. The survey was carried out for identification, to enable the granting of citizenship by the end of 2001. However, limited success was reported concerning natural resource conservation. This was related to the Cabinet resolution on 30 June 1998 on strategies to solve problems of land use and resource management in forest areas, which led to a delay in implementation. During the second plan, the Royal Forest Department completed the land use survey in the forest areas, to be followed by land right identification. The department will then be able to allocate the land for cultivation and residence in the highland areas. As for the establishment of legal administrative villages90, the second plan could implement only 16.33 percent of all target villages proposed in the plan.

Overall highland development in the second plan - field data collection

Based on the field data collection on highland administrative villages, 22.5 percent of the villages were classified as Level 1 (least developed), down from 61.1 percent in the first plan. Overall 59.2 percent of highland communities were upgraded to Level 2 (medium level of development). Most of the hill tribe people were granted Thai citizenship. In border areas, due to frequent migration, only a few obtained citizenship.

The main problems in highland areas are limited cultivation land and low productivity followed by health care problems, drug problems, education and citizenship. People's awareness on the importance of natural resource conservation varies from one area to another.

Concerning education, the majority of highland people have completed the primary level and there is a tendency to continue to the high-school level. About 24.5 percent of highland people cannot communicate in the Thai language. As for health care, most highland communities have access to health care services, except for remote villages. The main health problem in highland areas is diarrhoea, followed by stomach problems and malaria. People in remote villages have very limited information on heath and sanitation, although most of them know how to store food, go to latrines and use contraceptives.

In terms of occupation, agriculture is the main economic activity of high land people. The cultivation pattern changed from slash-and-burn to dry and wet rice production, due mainly to the scarcity of slashable land. The average size of land holding is 18 rai per household. Most agricultural areas have no land rights, as they are located in forest reserve areas. The average annual income per household is B31 126 and the average income per head B7 323. Hill tribe people have low income, due to the fact that their production is only for self-consumption and not for sale. Most of them do not dispose of any financial means to change their occupation.

Concerning participation, most hill tribe people participate in political and development activities. They have become aware of the significance of natural resource conservation. For language reasons, village leaders are the key actors in communicating with the government. As for narcotic issues, the narcotic crop cultivation area is declining rapidly, owing largely to government initiatives. However, the drug problem remains widespread in highland communities.


The implementation of the Second Master Plan looks closely at the target population. Past development efforts had achieved the concrete results in hill tribe people identification. It is expected that implementation under the normal system91 can be achieved in the future. The natural resource conservation has not yet been achieved due to the limitations of the Cabinet resolution of 30 June 1998. To hasten the process of highland development, there are some recommendations:

88 The report was prepared in 2001 by NESDB as the Secretariat of the National Committee for the Solution of National Security Involving Hill Tribes and Control of Narcotic Crops. The Third Master Plan will not be formulated; instead, a guideline on highland development 2002-2006 (the nature of which is similar to the master plan) is being prepared as a reference to the line agencies concerned (interview, NESDB, 29/11/01)

89 The objectives include (1) citizenship issue, (2) natural resource conservation, (3) permanent settlement and (4) quality of life improvement and preparation for integrating into the normal development system without affecting the natural resources.

90 An administrative village refers to a village legally recognized and numbered accordingly by the government. In highland areas, due to geographical isolation, many villages remain unregistered (they are called pok ban, meaning village compound). The aim in the long run is to integrate these village compounds into administrative villages.

91 "Normal system" here refers to the situation where the support activities of highland development will be transferred to relevant line agencies, instead of DPW mobile teams or special development projects taking care of a wide area concerning development and welfare.

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