Asia-Pacific

Take Charge of Your Food: Your Health is Your Business

The minimum we expect from the government is to differentiate between right and wrong. But when it comes to regulating our food, it’s like asking for too much. Our latest investigation vouches for this. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)’s pollution monitoring laboratory tested 65 samples of processed food for presence of genetically modified (GM) ingredients.

2017 Global Findex: Behind the Numbers on Bangladesh

On the face of it, the 2017 Global Findex shows that Bangladesh has made great strides toward financial inclusion since the previous Findex was released in 2014.

How the Yanadi, an Oppressed Indigenous People in India, are Reclaiming Their Rights One Village At a Time

Under the blazing midday sun, a tractor moves slowly along a dirt trail in Nacharwari Pallem, a village of the Yanadi indigenous people located some three hours from Chennai city in South India. Atop the tractor, women of the village – 36 in all – sit expectantly, ignoring the heat. Squeals of excitement fill the air as the tractor slowly halts near a stretch of rice fields.  

Is Thailand Making Progress Towards Reaching its Climate Change Mitigation Goals?

As preparations are underway for an important formal discussion between countries committed to the Paris Agreement; Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, has been determining its progress towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 to 25 percent by 2030. But experts have warned against merely emphasising policies to affect real changes.

Pakistan’s Vote – a Loud and Clear Message that People Want Democracy at Any Cost

Voters in Pakistan’s general election outrightly rejected political parties with extremism records and candidates linked to banned terrorist groups, opting instead to back liberal forces in a support for peace.

Silence from Judiciary Increases Self-Censorship, Pakistan’s Journalists say

When it comes to the military and the judiciary, Pakistan's journalists are "between a rock and a hard place," Zohra Yusuf, of the independent non-profit Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told CPJ.

Q&A: Indonesia Takes Steps to Reduce Emissions – But It’s Not Enough

The South Asian nation of Indonesia is the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouses gases (GHG) and is ranked as the world’s second-largest plastic polluter of oceans, just behind China. So when the country committed in the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in average global temperatures to below 2°C by unconditionally reducing its emissions by 29 percent with using its own finances and by 41 percent with international funding, many felt the goals too ambitious.

Pakistan and the World Need Inclusive Conflict Prevention

Last week, 200 people were injured and 131 died in a suicide bombing in Mastung, Baluchistan. This attack was second most deadly since the 2014 Army Public School Attack in Peshawar, KhyberPukhtunkwah, which killed 144 people. This recent attack was one of three in 72 hours related to the country’s upcoming elections on July 25.

Support of Influential World Leaders Not Enough to End Rohingya Crisis

Despite having the strong support of influential global leaders, Bangladesh has "missed" the opportunity to mobilise the world’s superpowers and place pressure on Myanmar to allow for the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees. 

Social Media – the New Testing Ground for Sri Lanka’s Freedom

Journalists and media activists have cautioned against Sri Lanka’s newfound press freedom as the country heads to the polls in 2020. Separate incidents of hate-speech against a Muslim minority—and the subsequent shutdown of social media platforms—and the harassment of reporters critical of the country’s opposition have led some to believe that the changes in media independence could reverse.

Q&A: Air Pollution Remains Cause for Alarm in Asia

At the start of the year the pollution in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, reached six times the World Health Organization’s guideline levels for air quality.Yet the levels, which appear higher than those of South Korea’s capital Seoul—where most people monitor the air pollution levels daily—is not treated with equal concern because of a lack of general awareness. This is despite the fact that air pollution has become the largest cause of premature deaths in Asia.

Greening the Way for Thailand’s First Green and Smart City

Thailand’s industrial sector must focus on sustainable and green development to remain competitive in the region.

Despite Progress, South Asia Faces Daunting Challenges in Water & Sanitation

In 2030, when I would be turning sixty, I’d like to tell my grandchildren the story of how – once upon a time – the lives of poor people in South Asia were transformed: that leaders came together to bring economic prosperity and social development to people that until then had lived in an unequal and polluted world.

Is Asia Pacific on Track to Meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals?

Three years into the implementation period of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is Asia Pacific on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Declining Birth Rates Not Exclusive to Wealthy Nations

Countries do not have to be economically prosperous to move from a situation of high birth and death rates to low fertility and mortality rates.Education, social security, environments conducive to economic development and good value systems are what promote this, as evidenced by the recorded experiences of Asian countries as far apart as Japan and India.

Savagery of Rapes of Minors

Rapes of minors surged from 16 per day in 2001 to 46 per day in 2016. As if this was not horrendous enough, their savagery adds to it.In 2016, 43.3% of the total female rape victims were minors. Around 13% of the minor female victims were of age 11 and below. The deceased victim in the Kathua rape case from a nomadic Muslim community was barely eight years old. Her crumpled body was found in a blood-smeared dress in January, 2018. A group of Hindu men lured her into a forest, kidnapped her, drugged her, locked her in a Hindu temple, gang-raped her and then strangled her.

Project Population: Addressing Asia’s Ageing Societies

While populations have seen and undergone changes since the beginning of time, one trend in particular is unfolding across the world: less children, older people. In an effort to tackle the complex issue in Asia, government officials are convening to help create a sustainable society where no one is left behind.

Nepali Mothers and an Irish Daughter

I am the daughter of a formidable campaigner for women’s reproductive rights in Nepal. Decades ago, when such issues were not part of the playbook for development activists, my mother, a medical doctor, started setting up family planning programs after seeing women die in childbirth, shifting from hospital work into public health.

When a Grass Towers over the Trees

As governments scramble for corrective options to the worsening land degradation set to cost the global economy a whopping 23 trillion dollars within the next 30 years, a humble grass species, the bamboo, is emerging as the unlikely hero.

Human Rights Must Be on the Table During U.S.-North Korea Talks

Human rights issues must be included in next week’s United States-North Korea summit in order to create a “sustainable agreement”, said a UN expert.

Afghan Electorate: Basic Needs Must be met Before Political Progress can be Ensured

After four decades of perpetual conflict, Afghanistan rolls into two consecutive election years – parliamentary this year, presidential the next. But the country and its people are going through even tougher times than usual with continued displacement and a looming hunger crisis.

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