Ten years on, and the global economy is still reeling from the impact of the global financial crisis, the first crisis to originate in the United States of America. The Asia-Pacific region endured this historic event relatively unscathed, thanks to the improved macroeconomic policymaking following the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Equipped with robust monitoring and indicator frameworks, national development policies can accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Given this potential, much is at stake to develop evidence-based and effective national policies that ultimately impact the most vulnerable and marginalised groups.
The smog that chokes Bangkok and Delhi, the recurring haze in Southeast Asia due to forest fires, and global episodes of heat wave are manifestations of man-made environmental degradation to which people in the region experience daily and can easily relate to. New evidence shows that the impact of environmental degradation, such as pollution, on human health is far greater than we had ever imagined.
The sun, oceans and nature provide a welcome respite to all of us, especially those living in cities without regular access to such resources. However, as urbanization continues to increase, how do we ensure that we collectively continue to enjoy nature and live in harmony with the environment?
International road transport requires agreements among countries on traffic rights to enable movement of vehicles of one country into another. The signing of a transport agreement that allows movement of foreign vehicles indicates significant steps forward to reduce cross-border and transit transport costs.
However, while signing is a first step, real benefits materialize on implementation of the agreement. Implementation is normally fraught with numerous challenges as it involves unlearning the old ways of facilitating and instituting control measures and learning the new ways.
E-commerce is providing individuals and SMEs with unprecedented opportunities to gain access to domestic and international markets. But not all countries in the Asia-Pacific region are reaping the benefits.
On 13 July 2018, the United Nations Generally Assembly in New York approved the final draft of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), culminating a year-long extensive process of regional and thematic global consultations and intergovernmental negotiations mandated by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of 2016.
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)? According to ESCAP’s recent Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report, the answer is yes for only one Goal, unlikely for many Goals, and probably not for a few Goals where the region is moving in the wrong direction, most notably on inequality.