Asia-Pacific

Bangladesh Can Be Leprosy-Free Before 2030 Prime Minister Tells National Zero Leprosy Conference

Leprosy is not a curse but should be detected and treated early, Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has told delegates at a gathering in her country's capital to discuss the elimination of the disease.

Accelerating SDG Progress in Asia – Pacific

“The 2030 Agenda is coming to life”, declared the Secretary General at the opening of the first SDG Summit, a quadrennial event for the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As leaders from Asia – Pacific took the floor, they highlighted country progress of SDG implementation and reaffirmed commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Statements reflected different approaches across the region. Yet all converged on one priority: accelerated actions and transformative pathways.

Why Is Growth Slowing in China?

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 14%. Since then, its growth rate has declined by more than half to 6.6% in 2018. The five-year moving average growth rate is at its lowest since reforms began in 1978, although annual growth briefly fell lower during 1989, the year of the Tian An Men incident.

South-South Cooperation Offers Solutions to Urgent Climate Challenges

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and developing countries are recognized as hotspots for climatic risks. Through solidarity, peer-to-peer learning and collective self-reliance, developing countries are collaborating among themselves to address the threat.

Building a Leprosy Free Bangladesh

Despite having remarkable success in leprosy control in the last decades, the Bangladesh government is now moving forward with a vision to build a leprosy- free country.

The Economic & Humanitarian Catastrophe Threatening Pacific Island Communities

When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) last month, he pointed out the dramatic impact of climate change triggering natural disasters around the world--- from glaciers that melt, ice caps that disappear and corals that bleach.

India’s Electric Mobility Needs Enabling Infrastructure to Pick up Speed

Dogged by intractable air pollution debilitating large northern swathes from mainly urban vehicle emissions, India earlier this year announced targets for a 40 percent non-fossil component in its fuel-mix by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Commitments (NDC) to the Paris accord on climate change. It aims for full electrification of public transit systems and of one-third private vehicles by 2030.

The Story Behind The Gambia’s Lawsuit against Myanmar over the Rohingya Genocide

On Nov. 11, the Gambia filed a lawsuit against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice for the southeast asian country’s atrocities against the Rohingya population. 

Did Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Bring Back a Polarising Wartime Figure?

The Economist proclaimed recently that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the man who, as secretary of defense, presided over this horrifying episode (the final phase of Sri Lanka’s terrorist inspired internal conflict), has just been elected president of Sri Lanka.

Running from the Storm – How Bangladesh’s Climate Migrants are Becoming Food Secure

It was almost a decade ago when Ruma Begum and her family left their home in Bangladesh’s coastal Tazumuddin upazila or sub-district and travelled some 50 km away to start a new life. They had been driven out of their home by an extreme and changing climate that has continued to ravage the district of Bhola.

Catalysing Change for Gender Equality

Great strides have been taken to empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing adopted an ambitious global agenda to achieve gender equality twenty-five years ago. Gender parity has been achieved in primary education. Maternal mortality has been halved. Today, the region’s governments are committed to overcoming the persistent challenges of discrimination, gender-based violence and women’s unequal access to resources and decision-making.

Global Clothing Brands Should Respond to the #MeToo Mandate

It has been two years since #MeToo went viral, and it’s about time the garment industry’s sexual harassment problem got the attention it deserves. Clothing and footwear brands can do much more to prevent and address gender-based violence in their supply chains, but first they need to confront how badly their inspection or “social auditing” programs fail women.  

We Shouldn’t Expect Philanthropists to Fund Activism

Since philanthropists are unlikely to fund anything that destabilises their businesses, building independent institutions can be an effective approach to create lasting impact.

Green Steel

How Indonesian craftsmanship is undergoing a revival at the world’s first ‘bamboo university’. It’s fast-growing, flexible and strong. Standing underneath a bamboo canopy, it is easy to understand why people have been using this grass plant for years, in the construction of houses, bridges and scaffolding.

Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Brings Back a Polarising Wartime Figure

On 16 November, Gotabaya Rajapaksa – who served as defence secretary during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war – won a decisive victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential election.

As Donors Ramp up Polio Funding, Worries of Comeback Persist

Efforts to wipe polio off the face of the planet took a step forward this week, with a multibillion-dollar fundraiser in the Middle East helping eradication schemes tackle a virus that disproportionately kills and cripples children in poor countries.

With the UN Security Council in Paralysis, Are there New Hopes for Rohingya Muslims?

The 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) stands virtually paralyzed in the face of genocide charges against the government of Myanmar where over 730,000 to one million Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since a 2016 crackdown by Myanmar’s military.

Seeing Through the Smog: Can New Delhi Find a Way to Limit Air Pollution?

Ankita Gupta, a housewife from south Delhi, is anxious about whether she should send her 4-year-old daughter to kindergarten. Outside visibility is poor as smog — a combination of emissions from factories, vehicle exhausts, coal plants and chemicals reacting with sunlight — has settled over the city, surpassing dangerous levels.

Bringing Silicon Valley to Kathmandu Valley

For those who think that Nepal is too underdeveloped to make full use of artificial intelligence (AI), think again. That is exactly what they used to say about computers and mobile phones in the 1990s.

The Ocean in Us: Ocean Action for Climate Ambition

In just under a month, countries around the world will gather for UNFCCC COP 25. The hashtag for this year’s “Blue COP” is yet another reminder to us all that it is “Time For Action”. We can no longer afford to wait as the effects of the climate crisis become ever more present. Vulnerable populations, whether from Small Island States, the rural heartland or the world’s megacities, are becoming ever more vulnerable, and the wellbeing of people and planet continues to face its most existential threat.

Net Food Importer Turkey Grapples with Challenges of Food Self-sufficiency

Despite latest research showing Turkey lagging in overall food sustainability, progress in sustainable agriculture appears to be a bright spot in the country’s troubled agriculture industry.

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