Asia-Pacific

Global Solutions Needed for Pandemics, So All Can Live in Dignity

COVID-19 highlighted significant gaps in the world’s ability to deal with pandemics, and it’s crucial these are addressed to mitigate the impacts of future global health problems, Masato Kanda, Japan’s Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, told a recent online meeting of parliamentarians.

Fighting Loss of the Greater Mekong’s Prized Rosewood Forests

The famed Rosewood forests of the Greater Mekong region in Southeast Asia produce dark, richly grained timbers zealously sought after worldwide by manufacturers of luxury furniture, flooring and musical instruments, among other products. But their high value has also made them a major commodity in transnational organized crime.

Pakistan: Gender-Intentional Policy Can Make Agent Banking Work Better

Many women in Pakistan remain financially excluded. In 2020, only 7% of the female population had a formal account. One of the reasons for this is that agent networks — the bridge between the cash economy and digital financial services — remain largely inaccessible to many women. Approaching policy and regulation through a gender-intentional lens that considers prevailing social norms can help regulators affect positive change in this arena.

Wave

Rising sea levels, extreme climate conditions such as severe storms faced by Bangladesh, one of the primary victims of anthropogenic climate change, the country is set to be the worst sufferer from climate change by 2025, far worse than any other country.

Time Honoured Food Traditions, Pleasing for Palate and Planet

Balance is the absolute key, says Alia Chughtai, a journalist who started a catering service with filmmaker Akhlaque Mahesar, by the name of Aur Chaawal (And Rice), two years ago.

The Squid Game: The Story about Losers in the Shadow of Glory

Immediately after its release, the Squid Game went viral, grabbing the attention of the world's entertainment stage. The grotesque and hyper-violent thriller has reportedly become Netflix's biggest show, the world's most-watched and the most-talked-about streaming entertainment. Is it a case of art imitating life?

Push for Civil Registration Set to Hit Key Milestone in Asian and Pacific Countries

Most countries in the Asia-Pacific region are on track to reach universal birth registration by 2030: an incredible achievement and a significant milestone in realizing human rights and equality. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, many weaknesses remain in official recording systems, creating gaps in knowledge about the population and affecting how authorities respond to crises and reach those in greatest need.

China’s Risky Strategic Game in Myanmar

Before the February 1 coup, China was among the top international partners of the now-in-opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). From 2015 to early 2020, when China closed its borders due to COVID-19, NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi made five trips to China and met the Chinese President Xi Jinping five times.

Fighting Dengue Virus with Biological Weapons

Twenty-three-year-old Sarah Tajammal felt a sense of “impending doom” as she fought high fever, nausea, bouts of vomiting and extreme fatigue after being diagnosed with dengue two weeks back.

Is Asia and the Pacific Ready for the Global Climate Stage?

As the leaders of Asia and the Pacific prepare to head to Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), they can be sure that our region will be in the spotlight: many of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change are located here; the seven G20 members from this region are responsible for over half of global GHG emissions; and five of the 10 top countries with the greatest historic responsibility for emissions since the beginning of the twentieth century are from Asia.

From Taliban to Taliban: Cycle of Hope, Despair on Women’s Rights

Secondary schools have reopened for boys but remain closed to the vast majority of girls. Women are banned from most employment; the Taliban government added insult to injury by saying women in their employ could keep their jobs only if they were in a role a man cannot fill—such as being an attendant in a women’s toilet. Women are mostly out of university, and due to new restrictions it is unclear when and how they can return. Many female teachers have been dismissed.

Mental Health Strategic Plan for Bangladesh: An Overview

Mental health and treating mental health conditions involves not only treating an individual’s ability to manage their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and interactions with others, but also ensuring that the social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental conditions are in place through effective national policies, social protections, adequate living standards, working conditions, community social support, and a tiered system of care through a robust network of health services. In Bangladesh, the Mental Health Act 2018 and the National Mental Health Policy 2021 were developed with the above in mind.

Mental Health Achievements in Bangladesh

Mental health is a state of well-being when both your body and your mind are in balance, and you are able to deal with the difficulties and challenges that come your way and easily find joy, peace, and happiness once the challenge is overcome. For many people though, the challenges often remain for too long - the pain of losing someone you dearly loved, being diagnosed with a chronic disease like cancer or a heart condition, losing your family/home/job or feeling like you failed to meet expectations. All those things and more can trigger so much intense stress and maladjustment, that if it goes unchecked and untreated, it may lead to a chronic disease, a mental health disorder. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The majority of people are able to cope and get back to life as normal, but for the many who cannot, they begin to experience intense detachment from reality (experiencing delusions, pervasive sadness, uncontrollable fears, intense anger and/or fantasies and hallucinations). For those individuals, there is limited help and treatment in every country in the world. Those who suffer from mental health disorders and the brave professionals who learn to treat them are chronically stigmatized, under-appreciated and under-paid.

How the Social Sector Thinks About Tech Is Wrong

Today, technology has become integral to almost all aspects of work—from implementing and standardising processes and collecting data to monitoring and evaluation and helping an organisation scale. This was increasingly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when all organisations turned to technologies like WhatsApp and Zoom to stay connected and deliver their programmes to communities. And yet in the nonprofit sector, tech is viewed as an overhead rather than being fundamental to the functioning of an organisation.

Atoll Nation of Tuvalu Adopts ‘Cubes’ to Step Up Nutritious Food Production

Tuvalu, a small atoll island nation in the Central Pacific Ocean, is one of few countries in the world to have so far evaded the pandemic. But, while it has achieved a milestone with no recorded cases of COVID-19, its population of about 11,931 continues to battle food uncertainties and poor nutrition. These challenges, present long before the pandemic emerged, have been exacerbated by lockdown restrictions and economic hardships during the past year and a half.

Why Pakistani Women Feel Unsafe in Public Spaces

The mauling, groping and tossing of a young woman by a crowd of between 300 and 400 men in a park in the eastern city of Lahore, in the Punjab province, may have caused a wave of country-wide disgust, but speaks volumes of how unsafe public spaces are for Pakistani women.

India: Gaps in the Government’s Plan to Help Unorganised Workers

The Government of India launched the e-Shram portal with the mandate of registering 380,000,000 unorganised workers in the country. The portal aims to bridge the gap in unorganised workers’ ability to access social welfare and employment benefits by issuing an e-Shram card (or Shramik card) upon registration.

China and the UN at 50- What We Can Achieve Together

China was one of the architects of the United Nations and was the first signatory of the UN Charter in San Francisco in 1945. But it was only in October 1971, with the Chinese delegation led by Mr. Qiao Guanhua, that China’s representation at the UN resumed. Since that time, the UN has had the great privilege of witnessing and supporting China in achieving one of the greatest periods of socio-economic progress in world history.

Mangrove Blue Carbon for Climate Change Mitigation

Smelly, boggy, and full of bugs, mangroves’ superpowers are well hidden. However, there is rising confidence that mangroves are the silver bullet to combat the effects of climate change.

Will Taliban Honour UN Treaties Signed by Afghanistan Over the Last 20 Years?

When the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan receives the political blessings of the 193-member General Assembly-- and eventually inherits its seat at the United Nations-- it will have to ultimately prove its credentials as a member of good standing by adhering to the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – as all member states do.

Afghan Women – The Emerging Narrative and Why it is Wrong

The USA and its allies have repeatedly stated that promoting women’s rights was one of the key reasons they were in Afghanistan. The US military top brass, in a letter to marines stated that they were in Afghanistan “for the liberty of young Afghan girls, women, boys, and men who want the same individual freedoms we enjoy as Americans”.

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