Asia-Pacific

Enhanced Social Protection an Opportunity Asia Pacific Must Grasp

In the fight against COVID-19, success has so far been defined by responses in Asia and the Pacific. Many countries in our region have been hailed as reference points in containing the virus. Yet if the region is to build back better, the success of immediate responses should not distract from the weaknesses COVID-19 has laid bare. Too many people in our region are left to fend for themselves in times of need. This pandemic was no exception. Comprehensive social protection systems could right this wrong. Building these systems must be central to our long-term recovery strategy.

Climate Change: New Threat to Nepal’s Rhinos

Nepal’s population of one-horned rhinoceros that survived hunting, a shrinking habitat and wildlife trafficking are now faced with a new threat: changes in their living environment due to a rapidly-warming atmosphere.

Disregarding Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The lack of consistency and a patchy approach undermines the Government of Nepal’s credibility in fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities. One step forward and several steps back.

Changing the Lives of Bangladesh’s Rural Girls by Giving them a Tertiary Education

Nila Kispotta, a 19-year-old rural girl from the Oraon ethnic community, has become a figure of exceptional achievement to the small, poverty-stricken village in Thakurgaon in northwest Bangladesh that she grew up in. Born into a family of daily wage earners, Kispotta dreamt of a different life. So when she enrolled in tertiary education to pursue a diploma in Nursing Science and Midwifery — she achieved something her family and community hadn’t even dreamed was possible.

How the Pacific Islands are Balancing COVID-19 Survival Demands on Coastal Fisheries with Sustainable Management

Coastal fisheries in the Pacific Islands have become a food and livelihood lifeline to many people who have lost jobs, especially in urban centres and tourism, following COVID-19 lockdowns and border closures. Now governments and development organisations are trying to meet the crisis-driven survival needs of here and now, while also considering the long-term consequences on near shore marine resources and habitats.

Social Audit Reforms and the Labor Rights Ruse

The recent refusal by five international auditing firms to inspect for labor abuses in Xinjiang was the right response to the severe human rights violations there. But this is a moment for the auditing and certifications industry, which assesses the compliance of work sites with human rights and labor rights standards, to rethink its approach to “social audits”—periodic workplace inspections—everywhere.

Forging Resilient Regional Supply Chains and Connectivity

Participation in global and regional supply chains has been one of the most reliable economic growth strategies, especially for developing countries in Asia and the Pacific. Smooth and efficient connectivity in both trade and transport has been indispensable to the region’s pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Empowering India’s Poor so They Don’t Return to Bonded Labour – Part 2

One day, while the rest of his family were out at work, Kamlesh Pravasi from Jigarsandih village in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh was “abducted when I returned home one day from school, by a contractor’s goons,” he told IPS. The then 12-year-old Pravasi, who was in the sixth grade, was forced to work in bonded labour in a brick kiln because his father could not repay a Rs 5,000 ($68) loan he had taken out from the contractor in order to pay for medical treatment for Pravasi’s sick brother.

Nepal Is a Model for Vulture Conservation

Vultures get a lot of bad press. Unlike other birds which are praised for their melodious song or bright plumage, vultures have been traditionally reviled for feeding greedily on carcasses, and what many see is as a repulsive look. In many cultures, they are considered an ill omen and the Nepali language has many derogatory phrases.

India: Are the Farm Ordinances Against Farmers’ Interests?

Farm policy in India is in its own conundrum. If you ask, “what are the major challenges for increasing farmer income?”, any farmer in India would tell us that it is the low remunerative prices for their produces and he or she will add that most of the market margins goes to the middlemen.

Papua New Guinea: Bougainville Elects Former Revolutionary Leader as President ahead of Tough Talks on Independence

Ishmael Toroama, a former revolutionary leader and fighter during the decade long civil war which engulfed the remote islands of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the 1990s, has been elected the autonomous region’s new President ahead of high-level talks about its political future.

Pivoting Through the Pandemic: A Global Problem with a Pacific Solution

As the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) reported earlier this year, COVID-19 has caused massive disruptions to ocean observing systems around the globe, as research cruises, maintenance visits, and sensor deployments have been postponed or cancelled.

Ecology is Economy – ‘We Need an Integrated Approach Between Lives and Livelihoods’

We usually think of livelihoods and lives separately, however, it is now time to imagine a more integrated approach.

Fighting India’s Bonded Labour During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Part 1

One of the worst fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the closure of industries in India, which caused thousands of migrant labourers to return home to villages in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. In a region where the poorest have always been subjected to bonded labour, child labour and slave trafficking, it has meant revisiting the past.

Leveraging Research for Solution-driven Policymaking in the Era of COVID-19

The United Nations has tasked the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH) to lead the research roadmap to identify priorities that will support an equitable global socio-economic recovery from COVID-19 within the broader framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the world grapples with the impacts of COVID-19, identifying the research agenda and partnering with academic institutions and think tanks have become more essential than ever before.

Maritime Security in Asia-Pacific Region Under Threat

Maritime security in Asia Pacific is often viewed through a traditional security lens, where the main responsibility falls on maritime law enforcement agencies to protect maritime borders and territorial sovereignty.

Getting the Basics Right – India’s National Education Policy 2020

The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) lays out a compelling, ambitious agenda for education reform in India. Yet, as others have noted, without concerted action the NEP’s promise will remain unfulfilled.

Financing Economic Recovery

As the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the length and breadth of Asia and the Pacific, finance ministries are continuing their relentless efforts to inject trillions of dollars for emergency health responses and fiscal packages. With continued lockdown measures and restricted borders, economic rebound seems uncertain.

A Pandemic Cannot Justify Child Labour

For the past five months, our screens have been flooded with distressing imagery of one catastrophe after another: From the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable communities, to cyclones in West Bengal, Odisha, and Maharashtra.

Nepal Welcomes Qatar Labour Reform

Even as Nepali workers stranded overseas face confusion and uncertainty during the Covid-19 crisis, labour reforms in Qatar – including an increase in the minimum wage announced in Doha on Sunday — may have lasting implications for migrants there.

Powerplay in Paradise: Sino-Indian Tussle in the Maldives

The Maldives is a picturesque country of merely 515,000 people located just beyond the southern tip of the South Asian land mass, in an idyllic Indian ocean setting. The nation is spread across 26 pretty atolls, comprising about 1192 islets, not all still inhabited. These are lapped by crystal blue waters containing flora and fauna of remarkable magnificence. Its scenic bounties attract droves of tourists who frolic in the sands, sun and the sea in salubrious languor. It has a thriving fishing, garment and tourism industry which have recently helped it graduate out of the United Nations list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).It is so tiny that used to be said that the catch of a single large fish any day could cause a remarkable jump in its Gross National Product (GDP) numbers. It is not without reason that the archipelago has often been compared to a paradise.

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