Imagine not being able to vote in elections, obtain formal employment, use banking services or own property. What if you had no access to basic services such as healthcare and education? Millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region face these challenges every day because they have not been registered.
Drought is a creeping disaster and a silent killer. It rolls back development gains and exacerbates poverty, especially in least developed countries.
Paperless trade has revolutionized the way people do business in the Asia-Pacific region with some countries such as Singapore, saving an estimated US$1.3 billion per year in internal productivity. Gone are the days when Singaporean traders were required to submit up to 21 different forms to 23 different agencies, a process that used to take 15-20 days to complete. Nowadays, they can enjoy the efficiency of completing two electronic forms and waiting only 15 minutes to have all the necessary approvals granted.
ESCAP works to mobilize regional efforts to address poverty reduction and other socioeconomic concerns of countries with special needs, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), enabling greater integration into economic growth in the region.
As China’s Government initiates its long-term policy reform aiming to reduce the world’s second largest economy’s dominant reliance on exports and develop domestic demand-based growth drivers through inclusive development, other economies in the region also stand to benefit.
“Despite a slowdown in headline GDP growth in China, largely as a result of a fall in investment, an increasingly consumption-driven Chinese economy would benefit regional exporters of consumer goods through increased penetration to Chinese markets,” says the Survey.
With Asia and the Pacific showing signs of strain arising from persisting uncertainty in developed nations, it is time to reorient macroeconomic policies to address structural impediments to growth by promoting inclusive and sustainable development in a region with nearly two-thirds of the world’s poor and widening income inequalities despite rising prosperity.
Economic growth over the past decades has not translated into higher worker remuneration in the relatively richer Asia-Pacific nations, says the Survey, advocating the need for a minimum wage policy and asserting that it is also good for employers and the economy.
Asia-Pacific economies have paid a heavy price for the uncertainty in economic and fiscal policies in the euro zone and the United States over the past five years. The Survey estimates this has involved a 3 per cent loss in Asia-Pacific GDP, equivalent to an output loss of $870 billion.
One of the world's most natural disaster-prone nations, Bangladesh has to live with recurring floods and cyclones which have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives over the past four decades. A high government priority, disaster preparedness is also good economics. Studies show that for every $1 invested in storm, cyclone and flood warning prediction systems in Bangladesh, the estimated return is between $8 and $500 for a 10-year period. The investments made so far have contributed to the saving of thousands of lives, and the Government is stepping up its efforts.