Asia-Pacific

Civil Society Under Serious Attack

Despite their contribution to social justice, civil society organisations came under “serious attack” in 109 countries in 2015, according to a new report published by CIVICUS Monday.

Making Sustainability Part of the Corporate DNA

Companies, governments and non-profit actors agree that economic growth and sustainable development have to go hand in hand to shape our increasingly globalised world in a fair way.

Can Better Technology Lure Asia’s Youth Back to Farming?

Farming and agriculture may not seem cool to young people, but if they can learn the thrill of nurturing plants to produce food, and are provided with their favorite apps and communications software on agriculture, food insecurity will not be an issue, food and agriculture experts said during the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Food Security Forum from June 22 to 24 at the ADB headquarters here.

Least Developed Countries’ Vulnerabilities Make Graduation Difficult

Last month, over two thousand high-level participants from across the world met in Antalya, Turkey for the Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action, an action plan used to guide sustainable economic development efforts for Least Developed Countries for the 2011 to 2020 period. The main goal was to understand the lessons learnt by the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) over the past five years and apply the knowledge moving forward.

Cotton Crisis

Pakistan’s economy is in grave trouble. According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2015-16, it failed to meet the growth target of 5.5pc in FY2016. GDP grew by 4.7 pc. This was mainly due to the ‘major setback’ (to use the finance minister’s words) in agriculture.

Collective Indifference or Silent Acceptance?

When blogger Rajib Haider was killed in 2013, the outcry was tremendous. But, over the next three years, at least 38 more were added to the list of those murdered, which includes writers, publisher, foreigners, religious minorities and LGBT rights activists. There have been reports about alleged IS involvement, and last week, the security forces launched a drive that resulted in the arrest of 194 'militants'. But the collective outrage over people being murdered seems to have mellowed.

Xenophobic Rhetoric, Now Socially and Politically ‘Acceptable’ ?

“Xenophobic and racist rhetoric seems not only to be on the rise, but also to be becoming more socially and politically acceptable.”The warning has been heralded by the authoritative voice of Mogens Lykketoft, current president of the United Nations General Assembly, who on World Refugee Day on June 20, reacted to the just announced new record number of people displaced from their homes due to conflict and persecution.

Aquaculture Meets Agriculture on Bangladesh’s Low-Lying Coast

A continuous influx of sea water is threatening agriculture and food security in vast coastal areas of Bangladesh, but farmers are finding ways to adapt, like cultivating fish and crops at the same time.

Yoga Unites the UN for Sustainable Development

The word yoga means "unite" in Sanskrit, and the Indian government hopes that the ancient practice will help United Nations member states to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

An Elite Club of Suicide Bombers

It is always baffling, isn’t it, to see the yawning difference in our responses in South Asia to a gathering communal threat, for instance, as opposed to the catastrophic prospect of nuclear annihilation? Only recently, Pakistan toggled between public outcry and terrified whispers when teeming mourners showed up at the funeral of an executed religious zealot, the savage killer of a popular provincial governor.

Asia’s Rising Prosperity, Climate Change Taking Toll on Food Security

Asia’s economic growth over the last decade has been relentless, bringing with it a rising population and an influx of people from the countryside to the cities in search of prosperity. These trends are not expected to abate.

Unmet Expectations

Donald Trump’s rise in America, a wave of pro-Brexit and xenophobic sentiment in the UK, mass demonstrations in France and Brazil, a political crisis in South Africa, communal polarisation in India, and religious zealotry coupled with anti-corruption agitation in Pakistan. On the face of it, there’s very little that connects these disparate events. Each appears unique to a country’s history and its contemporary interaction of domestic and global events.

Xenophobia: ‘Hate Is Mainstreamed, Walls Are Back, Suspicion Kills’

“Hate is becoming mainstreamed. Walls – which tormented previous generations, and have never yielded any sustainable solution to any problem – are returning. Barriers of suspicion are rising, snaking through and between our societies – and they are killers…”

Children of a Lesser God: Trafficking Soars in India

Sunita Pal, a frail 17-year-old, lies in a tiny bed in the women’s ward of New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Her face and head swathed in bandages, with only a bruised eye and swollen lips visible, the girl recounts her ordeal to a TV channel propped up by a pillow. She talks of her employers beating her with a stick every day, depriving her of food and threatening to kill her if she dared report her misery to anybody.

What If Turkey Drops Its “Human Bomb” on Europe?

Will the rapid--though silent escalation of political tensions between the European Union and Turkey, which has been taking a dangerous turn over the last few weeks, push Ankara to drop a “human bomb” on Europe by opening its borders for refugees to enter Greece and other EU countries?

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