As we are celebrating the International Day of Older Persons today, we recognize that population ageing is a human success story, a story of longer and often healthier lives of the world’s people. The many faces of older persons that we see in Asia and in the Pacific, and, indeed, all over the world, attest to this fact. Still, however, ageing is considered a threat. There is talk about the “burden of ageing”, exploding healthcare costs, and concerns about plummeting economic growth due to the shrinking labour force.
In less than ten days world leaders, including representative from Myanmar will be gathering at the United Nations in New York for the Climate Action Summit. Their goal is simple; to increase ambition and accelerate action in the face of a mounting climate emergency.
On the road to sustainable development, Sri Lanka provides an interesting case study. Having overcome a three-decade domestic conflict, Sri Lanka has begun its transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society. The extreme poverty rate ($1.90 a day) dropped to 0.8 per cent in 2016. The unemployment rate is below 5 per cent since 2010. Free education and health policies have resulted in high youth literacy rates (98.7 per cent) and high life expectancy (75 years). Measured by its index of human development, Sri Lanka is a high achiever.
The success of Silicon Valley has been inspirational for many countries worldwide wishing to establish science and technology parks. In Asia, successful science and technology parks can be found in many economies, including China, Japan and Thailand. Despite this, if the precursory conditions are not in place, a science and technology park could turn into a white elephant project.
It’s 1962, and in a modest Hong Kong neighborhood, a poetic love story unfolds. Filmed almost twenty years ago, Wong Kar-wai’s seminal movie In the Mood for Love captured the world’s imagination about lifestyle in the region. A lower-middle class existence had never looked better. Fast forward to 2018 and a new movie, set in today’s Singapore captures the world’s attention, but for very different reasons. Crazy Rich Asians mixes Asian family values, education and prosperity with a consumeristic facade of jewelry, clothes and luxury travel.
The annual Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) stock taking season is here. World leaders meet this week at the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF). The SDSN and Bertelsmann Stiftung has come out with its annual SDG index, one of the very few indices that provide a single score and ranking to track the overall progress of SDGs at country level.
More and more countries are volunteering to report their progress towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), taking place in New York in July.
Today, there are 4.6 billion people living in the Asia-Pacific region. By 2050, projections from the UN Population Division show that there will be 600 million more people, representing the balance of births, deaths and migration into and out of countries of the region.
The Asia-Pacific region is at a crossroads. The traditional export-oriented, manufacturing-driven growth is facing headwinds from sluggish external demand and rising protectionist trade measures. New technologies have increased the likelihood of labour-intensive jobs in the region becoming automated. Meanwhile, many countries have witnessed widening income and opportunity inequalities. Rising environmental risks and climatic disasters add further burdens to the future development agenda.
Asia and the Pacific is lauded globally for its rapid economic growth over recent decades and has lifted 1.1 billion people out of extreme poverty since 1990. Nevertheless, the region continues to have the largest number of poor people in the world. Why is Asia and the Pacific’s economic progress not translating into faster poverty reduction?