Asia-Pacific

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.

Nepal: Where Abortion is Treated as Homicide

Less than thirty years ago the likelihood of a mother dying due to pregnancy or childbirth in Nepal was one of the highest in the world. In 1990 UNICEF estimated that the rate was 901 women or girls out of 100,000 - significantly higher than any of its neighbours.

The Politics of Groundwater

A growing demand for water implies the need for an improved understanding of our resources, and the ability to manage that demand in an equitable and sustainable way.

Food Security and Growth in Asia

A disquieting finding of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017, Building resilience for peace and food security, or (SFSN2017), Rome, is that, in 2016, the number of chronically undernourished people in the world increased to 815 million, up from777 million in 2015 although still lower than about 900 million in 2000. Similarly, while the prevalence of undernourishment rose to 11 percent in 2016, this is still well below thelevel attaineda decade ago. Whether this recent rise inhunger and food-insecurity levels signals thebeginning of an upward trend, or whether itreflects an acute transient situation calls for a close scrutiny.

Pompeo’s Iran Speech a Prelude to War?

The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech this past Monday targeting Iran may have created a new benchmark for hypocritical, arrogant, and entitled demands by the United States on foreign governments.

Shipping and Industry Threaten Famed Home of the Bengal Tiger

Toxic chemical pollution in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, is threatening thousands of marine and forest species and has environmentalists deeply concerned about the future of this World Heritage Site.

Research, for Whom?

Looking back at some 30 years of working in the social sector, I believe that the most important milestone in my journey was the point when I started recognising the importance of research in development.

Fighting Inequality in Asia and the Pacific

Inequality is increasing in Asia and the Pacific. Our region’s remarkable economic success story belies a widening gap between rich and poor. A gap that’s trapping people in poverty and, if not tackled urgently, could thwart our ambition to achieve sustainable development. This is the central challenge heads of state and government will be considering this week at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). A strengthened regional approach to more sustainable, inclusive growth must be this Commission’s outcome.

“Green Development Has to Be Equal for All”

IPS caught up with Dr. Frank Rijsberman, director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), at the end of the flagship side event of the GGGI during the 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila on May 4, 2018, which featured the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its potential to create sustainable infrastructure and promote green growth pathways.

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