Asia-Pacific

How Did Rural India Learn During Lockdown?

School closures due to the nationwide lockdown in March 2020 meant that children were disengaged with formal education for a prolonged period. The resulting talks around e-education exposed India’s digital divide, with only 24 percent of households having access to the internet.

Sustainable Measures Help Farmers Script a Positive Story Amid COVID-19 Uncertainty

As India continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing number of deaths, farmers here have been fighting a battle of their own against volatile pricing, uncertain demand and lack of access to the market. But in the midst of all this uncertainty, one farming couple in a village near Hyderabad are working towards a food-secure future for themselves using eco-friendly farming techniques.

Q&A: Mro Indigenous Community Plea for Halt of Construction of 5-Star Hotel

The construction of a five-star hotel in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, could lead to the forced eviction of the Mro indigenous community from their ancestral lands and destroy “the social, economic, traditional and cultural fabric of the community”, warns Amnesty International.

But local activist Reng Young Mro told IPS that the international community must rally behind the Mro indigenous community to halt the construction.


From Political Prisoner to Champion of Human Rights – The Wai Wai Nu Story

Instead of being cowed by her seven-year imprisonment, Wai Wai Nu, emerged stronger and more determined to fight for the rights of all people, including the Rohingya in her native Myanmar.

Japan Should Lead Charge for Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

Japan should step up and play a role as a global facilitator for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Daisaku Higashi said at a recent Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) study meeting.

My Voice, Our Equal Future! Joining the Chorus of Girls Who Are Speaking up for Change

Girls are change makers and world shapers! When girls speak up, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Vietnam and Cambodia: Leveraging Support to Enhance Climate Ambition

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every facet of our lives and delayed what was slated to be a landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26). This pivotal year marks the first due date for countries to submit revised national climate plans per the five-year cycle required by the Paris Agreement. Remarkably, countries are still moving forward with renewed urgency. And many countries are integrating green recovery into their COVID-19 responses, further contributing to climate action. While many countries have positive stories to tell, both of our nations, Vietnam and Cambodia, are sterling examples of nations taking strong, decisive action, particularly with support through the NDC Partnership. Just last month, the people of Vietnam submitted their updated national climate plan and, in short order, the people of Cambodia will do likewise.

Bringing Clean Water On Tap To Rural Villages In Polynesian Island Nation Of Tuvalu

Rural communities on one of the nine islands that make up the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu are anticipating how life will change when they are connected to piped clean water for the first time.


Reversing the Rohingya Crisis: One Woman at a Time

“This is a crisis without a quick fix that could take years to resolve unless there are concerted efforts to address its root causes”, says Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes.

Working Class Bears Disproportionate Burden of COVID-19 Economic Fallout

Back in May 2019, we were visiting a large garment factory in Arsikere, Karnataka, when we asked some of the workers, “What would you do if you got Saturdays off?” Their responses to this simple question summed up their priorities. A majority said they would spend time with family or friends and take care of their children. Many said they would use this time to relax or do household chores. Only a few said they’d look for additional pay.

Secretive Mega-Trade Deal Rules Could Harm Asia’s Covid-19 Recovery

Fifteen countries will sign a mega-trade deal at the ASEAN conference this weekend imposing secretive restrictions on how governments help workers through the pandemic, trade union leaders and parliamentarians have warned.

In India, Ending FGM Demands Truth and Transparency

“My daughter is eight years old. In May 2017, I had her ‘Khatna,’ her circumcision, done. I had taken her to a traditional cutter. Once back home I made her sleep on the bed. After some time, around 4:00 p.m. I took her to the bathroom, she was bleeding as if she had started her menses. It seemed like she was urinating blood. By 6:00 p.m. my daughter had been bleeding so heavily, the blood had soaked three bed sheets and I was very worried.  And my daughter was quiet and she also kept asking me if she will be fine.” Excerpt from:  How I got her from the hands of death: WeSpeakOut study 2018

Vietnam Takes the Lead on Indo-Pacific Economic Integration

This was the year that Vietnam was poised to make progress on its rise as a regional leader. Under the auspices of Vietnam’s ASEAN chairmanship, a breakthrough in global trade has been achieved despite rising protectionism and a global pandemic.

Despite Conflict and COVID-19, Children Still Dream to Continue Their Education in Afghanistan

As if four decades of war were not enough, then came the pandemic. For each of the past five years, Afghanistan has been identified by the United Nations as the world’s deadliest country for children and, despite progress made in peace talks between the government and the Taliban, child and youth casualties from the ongoing conflict continue to mount in 2020.

Pandemic Induced Drop in Remittance Flows to South Asia

Remittances are an essential part of economic activity in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), including those in South Asia. Because of the pandemic remittances to LMIC are expected to drop from $548 billion on 2019 to $508 billion in 2020 and $470 billion in 2021. The implied growth rates for 2020 and 2021 are -7.2% and -7.5%. For South Asia the drop will be from $140 billion in 2019 to $135 billion in 2020 and $ 120 billion in 2021 with implied growth rates of -3.6% and -10.9%. https://www.knomad.org/publication/migration-and-development-brief-33

India: How Did Young People Access Care During the Lockdown?

COVID-19 has developed into an unprecedented public health crisis, the impact of which has been seen across global health systems and services. As the crisis continues to evolve in India, there is a need to examine the impact of the pandemic and ensuing nation-wide shutdown on young people’s lives, particularly, their experience of mental ill health.

Forced Child Marriage & Conversion: Public Discussion & Legal Reforms Called for in Pakistan

October 13 began like any other day at the Lal house as Raja Lal and his wife Rita Raja left for work at 7:30 am. "I made the usual breakfast of anda paratha (egg and flat bread) and told my eldest to lock the door from inside," Raja, who works as an ayah in a school, told IPS. Their 13-year old daughter, the youngest of their four children, did not go to school that day as her school shoes no longer fit and her parents hadn’t bought her a new pair yet. Little did they know that that day was the beginning of a nightmare for the Lal household. Their daughter would then allegedly be "abducted, forcefully converted and married in just one day”, Lal, a Christian, told IPS.

The Rape of India’s Dalit Women: It’s All about Gender & Class Subordination

Shabnam*, a young woman from Northern India’s Haryana state, is two years away from becoming a law graduate. She sees parallels between her own rape and that of the 19-year-old Maha Dalit woman whose brutal rape and torture by a group of men from a “dominant” or “higher” caste in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh triggered nationwide protests.

Nepal Needs to Bridge the Gap Between Legal Provisions Against Child Marriage and Social Norms

Mohan and Sarita (name changed) studied together in the same school from Grade 6 onwards. They were friends initially, but fell in love and wished to be together, though underage.

Cultivating an Eco-friendly Culture in Indonesia’s Schools

In West Jakarta, Indonesia, teachers at the private Santo Kristoforus High School are so environmentally conscious they make other schools seem a little bit green when it comes to environmental education.

The United Nations, 75 Years Young: Engaging Youth Social Entrepreneurs to Accelerate the SDGs

This year, the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary – a milestone of extraordinary economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. While the Organization enjoys a lifespan almost equal to the world’s improved average life expectancy, the future lies with those who have recently embarked on theirs: our young people.

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