Asia and the Pacific is an economic powerhouse, fuelled by its vibrant and diverse population. Comprising 60 per cent of the world’s population, this region is bursting with both a wealth of experience and untapped potential.
Cities have always been dynamic hubs of culture, education, economic growth and opportunity, and most importantly, centres of social interaction attracting residents and visitors alike.
This year we pass the halfway mark both on our journey towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The world faces a disaster emergency, yet nowhere is the threat more immediate than in Asia and the Pacific. Ours is a region where climate change-induced disasters are becoming more frequent and intense. Since 1970, two million people have lost their lives to disasters.
The latest synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes for grim reading: Every fraction of a degree of warming comes with escalated threats, from deadly heatwaves to severe hurricanes and droughts, affecting all economies and communities.
The unprecedented fiscal firepower used to protect the vulnerable from the harsh socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic contraction have pushed the average government debt level in the Asia-Pacific region to its highest since 2008.
As we reach the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the Asia-Pacific region’s progress and accelerate efforts to achieve our goals.
New technologies and innovations are reshaping our world and its future, often at a dizzying pace. Yet women and girls continue to be left behind in this burgeoning digital universe. How, then, can we harness these developments to create a better future for all of us?
The recent climate talks in Egypt have left us with a sobering reality: The window for maintaining global warming to 1.5 degrees is closing fast and what is on the table currently is insufficient to avert some of the worst potential effects of climate change. The Nationally Determined Contribution targets of Asian and Pacific countries will result in a 16 per cent increase
in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from the 2010 levels.
Ten years ago, the Asia-Pacific region came together and designed the world’s first set of disability-specific development goals: the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities. This week, we meet again to assess how the governments have delivered on their commitments, to secure those gains and develop the innovative solutions needed to achieve fully inclusive societies.
Most of the 2.1 billion strong workforce in Asia and the Pacific are denied access to decent jobs, health care and social protection but there is an array polices and tools that governments can use to remedy these deficiencies and ensure that the rights and aspirations of these workers and their families are upheld and that they remain the engine of economic growth for the region.
Asia and the Pacific is the most digitally divided region of the world, and South-East Asia is the most divided subregion. The Covid-19 pandemic detonated a “digital big bang” that spurred people, governments and businesses to become “digital by default;” a sea change that generated vast digital dividends. These benefits that have not been distributed equally, however. New development gaps have emerged as digital transformation reinforces a vicious cycle of socioeconomic inequalities, within and across countries.
Older persons are highly visible across Asia and the Pacific: they work in agricultural fields producing our food supplies, peddle their wares as street vendors, drive tuk-tuks and buses, exercise in our parks, lead some of the region’s most successful companies and form an integral part of our families.
As the Second Global Ocean Conference opens today in Lisbon
, governments in Asia and the Pacific must seize the opportunity to enhance cooperation and solidarity to address a host of challenges that endanger what is a lifeline for millions of people
in the region.
The Asia-Pacific region is at a crossroads today – to further breakdown or breakthrough to a greener, better, safer future.
Since the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was established in 1947, the region has made extraordinary progress, emerging as a pacesetter of global economic growth that has lifted millions out of poverty.
After two years of human devastation, the world is learning to live with COVID-19 while trying to balance the protection of public health and livelihoods.
For countries in Asia and the Pacific, this is challenging not only because national coffers are heavily strained by record public spending to mitigate pandemic suffering, but also due to deeper structural economic issues.
2022 marks the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while an end to the pandemic is in sight, it is far from over and the consequences will be felt for decades to come. At the same time, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is becoming increasingly distant. The region must use the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a roadmap to a fairer recovery.
Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are trying their best to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic by rapidly rolling out vaccination programmes and putting in place public health interventions to reduce its impact. At the end of November, there were 262 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5.2 million deaths globally. About 60 per cent of all COVID-19 cases and half of all COVID-19 related deaths were in Asia and the Pacific. About 7.8 billion vaccines have been administered globally, and vaccine supply is generally improving.
Transport ministers from across Asia and the Pacific are meeting this week to consider a potentially transformational agenda for how people and goods are moved around the region and across the globe.
As the world observes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today, we honour the leadership of persons with disabilities and their tireless efforts to build a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable world. At the same time, we resolve to work harder to ensure a society that is open and accommodating of all.
Most countries in the Asia-Pacific region are on track to reach universal birth registration by 2030: an incredible achievement and a significant milestone in realizing human rights and equality. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, many weaknesses remain in official recording systems, creating gaps in knowledge about the population and affecting how authorities respond to crises and reach those in greatest need.