Nothing erases development gains as suddenly and severely as natural disasters. Earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones wreak destruction, not only across borders but across generations, reversing the hard-won progress of many years in poverty reduction, delivery of essential services, promotion of small business and economic opportunity. Disaster resilience in Asia and the Pacific is mission critical for the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The emergence of new ideas, technological advancements and innovative market-driven financing solutions has lent confidence to the idea that universal access to energy services is attainable.
The pursuit of science, technology and innovation (STI), consistent with the guiding framework of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and COP21, is critical for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Asia and the Pacific has great potential to exploit STI to ensure no one is left behind, and economic and social productivity can be achieved through reaping the benefits of the technological revolution and adopting green and low carbon pathways.
Advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have been instrumental in shaping and leading socioeconomic transformations across Asia and the Pacific. One key to this transformation is the technology bundled around the “Internet of Things” (IoT), which enables billions of devices and appliances to connect over the Internet for more accurate, real time data collection and analysis in an unparalleled scale.
Investment in science, technology and innovation (STI) needs to be the backbone of productivity-led economic recovery and sustainable development. Despite significant increases in productivity over the past few decades, economic growth in developing economies of Asia and the Pacific has been primarily driven by factor accumulation. However, the average rate of productivity growth slowed between 2000-2007 and 2008-2014 by 65%, which has contributed to the economic slowdown and can undermine efforts to effectively pursue the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We must revive growth in productivity, one of the keys to which is a highly-skilled labor force.
The Asia-Pacific region’s successful achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development needs to be driven by broad-based productivity gains and rebalancing of economies towards domestic and regional demand. This is the main message of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2016, published by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Such a strategy will not only underpin the revival of robust and resilient economic growth, but also improve the quality of growth by making it more inclusive and sustainable.
Asia and the Pacific is recognized for its leadership in global output, trade and development. The region has a new opportunity to lead on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a multidimensional, multisectoral and multiagency undertaking.
Rising inequality threatens to derail, from the start, successful implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific region. Stronger, more equitable social protection will be critical in overcoming these challenges.
2016 marks the start of the aspirational and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The first priority for all national governments in strategizing for implementation of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and their 169 associated targets, is to address the strengths and weaknesses of data sources, to swiftly determine how best to address the gaps, as well as the complexities of measurement.
As the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independence, structural reform has become critical. The key to meeting many of the challenges, and seizing the opportunities of the changing global environment is closer regional economic integration with the rest of Asia and the Pacific.