Asia-Pacific

Shortages Reveal Low Priority of Women’s Health in Nepal

One year after Nepal’s Ministry of Health (MoH) appealed to international organisations in the country to urgently supply a drug used to stop excessive bleeding after childbirth, a UN agency has delivered $1 million worth of contraceptives to prevent another shortage.

Myanmar Struggles in the Grip of Coup and Covid

The third wave of Covid-19 is sweeping through Myanmar, from the high narrow buildings of the commercial capital Yangon to bamboo houses in rural areas.

‘Sulli Deals’: Muslim Women in India Being Put Up for Sale

Ongoing online sexual harassment of Muslim women through ‘Sulli Deals’, an auctioning app hosted by GitHub, has been reported to the authorities – but not before it called untold trauma to the targeted women.

Papua New Guinea Battles COVID-19 and Health Workers’ Vaccine Scepticism

Papua New Guinea (PNG), like many other Pacific Island countries, successfully held COVID-19 at bay last year, aided by early shutting of national borders. However, by March this year, the pandemic was surging in the most populous Pacific Island nation, and by July, it had reported 17,282 cases of the virus and 175 fatalities.

Pacific Islands Making the Move to Electronic Data Collection

Between 2010 and 2020, many Pacific Islands and Territories have updated their traditional data collection processes, embracing new technologies. The island nations Kiribati and Vanuatu, among others, successfully switched to computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), a new data management system and a survey monitoring dashboard. The innovations implemented with support from the Pacific Community helped to weather the impact of the pandemic on census activities and to become fit for the purpose of tracking the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Nothing About Us, Without Us, Asian Youth Tell Parliamentarians

Youth advocates from Asian countries called for an overhaul of a system that excluded young people from participation in policymaking. During an interaction with parliamentarians from 23 countries, youth representatives considered an enabling political framework to be the most crucial reform required to remove inequities.

Another Impending Cataclysm in Afghanistan

The Biden administration made a decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan based on the Trump-Taliban agreement. Their last combat soldier may have already left. There is nothing to argue about!

Bangladesh’s Indigenous Forest Dwellers Fear Losing Ancestral Land as Officials Grapple with Land Grabs

When the Bangladesh Forest Department felled Basanti Rema’s banana orchard, Rema, a Garo indigenous forest-dweller of Madhupur Forest, felt she was living a nightmare. Rema, from Pegmari village in Madhupur, Tangail district, had cultivated the banana plants on half an acre in the Madhupur Forest. But the Forest Department claimed that the land on which the bananas were cultivated belonged to the department. 

Prioritising Menstrual Health and Hygiene During Emergencies

Over the last few years, the world has witnessed accelerated action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This has also led to significant interest in menstrual health and hygiene management (MHHM) as a critical factor in girls’ education and women’s participation in many spheres of life. 

Flaws in Asia’s Pearl

For well over a century Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, has been known to the world as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ for its multifaceted attractions. That is until blurb writers ruined it all with hyperbolic epithets that obscured the country’s magnetic charms, which attracted visitors from around the globe.

Dalit and Muslim Indian Women Leading Change in South Sudan

Two Indian women, one Muslim and the other Dalit (former untouchables), separated by culture and geography, have found common ground in leading change in conflict-torn South Sudan.

COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Domestic Workers’ Plight in Bangladesh

Rani Akter, a mother of five, usually works as a domestic helper in Dhaka’s Zikatola area. When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Bangladesh last March, her employers asked her not to come to their homes for fear of infection. “I lost my work in three houses one after the other, which became a nightmare for me. My rich employers did not allow me in their homes as they thought that I might carry the invisible virus,” Akter told IPS.

With a Little Help, Local Communities Rack up Record Success with Heritage Rice Grains

Madhuri Roy left the famous Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam. She had sought the goddess’s blessings for the safe delivery of her youngest daughter's baby, which was due in a few weeks. Shanty shops lined the temple outside and Roy’s eyes fell on a stack of black rice packets. All through her daughter’s pregnancy she had craved her childhood favourite black rice pudding. But during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown Roy could not procure it even though Meghalaya, her Himalayan home state, grew it.

Why Pacific Island Nations, like the Federated States of Micronesia, need Climate Change Finance for Food Security Now

Robby Nena is one of the many farmers and fishermen on the frontline of climate change in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), where coastal flooding and erosion, variable and heavy rainfall, increased temperature, droughts and other extreme weather events are becoming all too common.

Universal Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Are Critical for Truth, Trust and COVID Recovery in Asia and the Pacific

With health systems at a breaking point, hospitals at capacity and desperate family members searching for oxygen for loved ones, the devastating second wave of COVID-19 that has swept across South Asia has felt ¬surreal. Official figures have indicated record-breaking daily coronavirus cases and deaths, not only in South Asia, but across the entire Asia-Pacific region during the latest surge. As devastating as it has been, the truth is we may never know how many people have died during the pandemic.

Southeast Asia and Food Price Inflation: Double Whammy

In 2020, Southeast Asian countries were already facing varied challenges that affected the region’s food supplies and prices. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic later in the year exacerbated the region’s food insecurity and poverty. Southeast Asian countries need to take a hard look at food security, even as the double challenges — climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic — continue to fester.

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.

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