Asia-Pacific

Call for Political Belt-tightening to Prevent Drought Becoming the Next Pandemic

“Drought is on the verge of becoming the next pandemic and there is no vaccine to cure it.”

Soil for Survival: Countries Commit to Halt Land Degradation

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told the first United Nations General Assembly meeting on desertification and drought in a decade, that his country’s report card will show it is well on track to meet its land restoration commitments.


Global Progress Against Child Labour “Ground to a Halt” – UN Report

Malleshwar Rao, 27, spent his early years as a child labourer in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Soon after finishing school at a local ashram, where the children of poor parents, sex workers and orphans studied, the 9-year-old would rush to a local construction site to join his parents who would be toiling in the harsh tropical sun to construct buildings as daily wage earners. The supervisor would assign Rao simpler tasks and his extra income would help his parents feed him and his younger brother.

India’s COVID-19 Vaccine Drive Is Excluding Millions of Citizens

In May, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) uploaded a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) related to ‘COVID-19 Vaccination of Persons without prescribed Identity Cards through CoWIN’ on its website.

On World Environment Day — Pakistan Showcases Ecosystem Restoration

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has been making sure that all foreign dignitaries visiting the country get their hands dirty. With a shovel and a watering can, they are invited to plant a tree for one of the largest reforestation initiatives in the world — the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme or TBTTP.

Indian Muslim Minority Targeted During COVID-19 Pandemic

A Muslim call centre operator at a COVID-19 ‘war room’, who once saw himself a COVID-warrior, is now unemployed after being falsely branded by a top politician as a key member of a bed-for-bribe scam. He is a victim of the rise in Islamophobia in India as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic – with scant evidence of condemnation from the authorities, say activists.

Why Investing in Women Is Key to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Last year, the Asia-Pacific region recorded its worst economic performance in decades. With the pandemic far from over, the region’s recovery is slow, fragile and highly uneven both across and within countries. As the region struggles to recover, how can countries rebuild their economies and revive their development?

Motorcycle Diaries with a Twist

Four women, two motorbikes, 64 districts and a journey of a lifetime, this is the story of Dr. Sakia Haque from Bangladesh. In November 2016, Dr Haque co-founded “Travelettes of Bangladesh - Bhromon Konya,” a women's only group, with the motto of “empowering women through travelling.” This platform is not just an ordinary online travel group, but it is a platform of connection, sisterhood and networking of almost 60,000 girls and women in Bangladesh that empowers them by teaching them to raise their voices and encourages them to step out of their comfort zones and to “go see the world”.

Is Sharing More than Water the Key to Transboundary Governance in the Meghna River Basin?

Kajol Miah is a rice farmer from the Bangladesh side of the Meghna River Basin. And in towns on the Indian side of the river basin, Bangladeshi rice is in great demand.

The Issue is Exploitation, not Migration

“There’s no other option but to return,” said Chitrasen in January 2021, when asked if he would migrate back to the city. The previous year’s pandemic-induced lockdown had left migrant workers stranded in cities and stripped of all their savings. An entire year later, as the second wave of COVID-19 engulfs India, many migrant workers find themselves confronted by a similar situation.

Q&A: If China had a Free Press COVID-19 Pandemic ‘May not Have been so Severe’

China is one of the worst places in the world for media freedom, according to the global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which ranked the country 177 out of 180 in its latest World Press Freedom Index. In the report, the group warned that Beijing is taking “internet censorship,  surveillance and propaganda to unprecedented level,” and had “taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to enhance its control over online information even more”. China is also the world’s biggest jailers of journalists with more than 120 journalists and what the group calls “defenders of press freedom” currently detained.

– Indonesia’s Climate Villages Where Communities Work Together to Mitigate Climate Change –

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, drawing from IPS’s bank of features and opinion editorials published this year, we are re-publishing one article a day, for the next two weeks. The original article was published on April 7 2021

India’s Second COVID-19 Wave Shatters Livelihood Hopes of Poor Migrant Labourers

Last month, in the midst of New Delhi’s coronavirus lockdown, 37- year-old labourer Prakash Kumar wanted to return to his rural home in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh. But instead of travelling the usual few hours by bus, Kumar had to journey for three days.

– Conserving Tigers, Elephants and Bison, One LPG Stove at a Time –

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, drawing from IPS’s bank of features and opinion editorials published this year, we are re-publishing one article a day, for the next two weeks. The original article was published on April 1 2021

Nepal is the New COVID-19 Hotspot: The Cure is Citizen Engagement

If you live in Nepal, a quick survey of friends and family will quickly prove how rapidly Covid-19 infection rates have spiked. For instance, out of 50 people we called last week, more than half had been infected, with the rest reporting that their extended families or colleagues had tested positive.

– Mining giant Rio Tinto Face Environmental, Human Rights Complaint in Papua New Guinea –

On the occasion of World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, drawing from IPS’s bank of features and opinion editorials published this year, we are re-publishing one article a day, for the next two weeks. The original article was published on January 4 2021

Will the UN hold Myanmar’s Military Accountable for Its Crimes against Children?

In one particularly bloody day in March, Myanmar’s security forces shot and killed at least ten children, some as young as 6, in violent crackdowns against peaceful protests. Since the military seized control over the country three months ago, more than 50 children have been killed, countless others injured, and more than 900 children and young people arbitrarily detained across the country.

It Takes a Community to Defeat COVID-19

The media is awash with the devastating news of deaths and sufferings due to COVID-19 coming out of India. What most media outlets overlook is the way Indian communities are rallying to save lives, reduce sufferings and stop the current wave of the pandemic.

India Under Siege From Covid-19: The Worst Yet to Come

The Coronavirus infections and deaths in India recorded a daily high on Monday, 10 May, with 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths as reported by the Indian health ministry, taking India's total tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths. Experts have raised a flag stating India's actual figures could be far higher than what is currently being reported.

The Illusion of Digital Inclusion in the Post-COVID World

We are living through a decisive moment. The COVID-19 pandemic’s devasting impact is reaching every corner of the world. As we look back at this period, we will see history divided into a pre-COVID and a post-COVID world.

Dr Aqsa Sheikh: Transgender Doctor Injecting Hope During COVID Pandemic

When Dr Aqsa Sheikh Tweeted and asked if she was the only transgender person to head a vaccination centre, it seemed extraordinary that in a country with 1.3 billion people, that this could be true.

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