What's Ahead @ ESCAP: 13-31 March 2014

14 June 2010-Dhaka, Bangladesh - Container yard in Dhaka railway station:  The number of containers handled by ports in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 14.3% in 2007, to 257 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). This compares with the increase of world container port handling during the same period of 11.6%, to 478 million TEU. Since 2001, the world’s top five container ports have been in Asia. In 2007, among the world's top-25 container ports in terms of throughput, 17 were in Asia. The Asian economies handling the most container traffic were: China; Singapore; Hong Kong, China; Japan; and the Republic of Korea. (UNESCAP 2009) Photo Credit: Kibae Park/Sipa Press

A summary of upcoming events, seminars and other activities throughout ESCAP for 13-31 March 2014.

Workshop on Single Window Implementation in Mongolia, 13-14 March 2014, Ulaanbaatar

The National Capacity Building Workshop: Implementing Mongolia National Single Window (MNSW) will be held by ESCAP in cooperation with Mongolia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and UNNExT in Ulaanbaatar from 13 to 14 March 2014. The purpose of the workshop is to improve understanding and to build capacity of officials from different government agencies and members of the MNSW steering committee on the benefits of Single Window implementation. The workshop will discuss the current progress of the MNSW, various country implementation cases, including Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Senegal and the way forward for promoting the MNSW.

Seminar on capacity-building for the development and operation of Dry Ports of International Importance, 18-19 March 2014, Bangkok

The Transport Division of ESCAP will convene this seminar as a networking event between government officials, experts from international organizations and private sector representatives to better understand issues relating to the planning, design, development and operation of dry ports. The development of dry ports is an important component of the Regional Action Programme Phase II (2012-2016) that ESCAP is implementing to help member countries put in place an international integrated intermodal transport and logistics system for the region. The development of facilities such as dry ports will help optimise transport options to be better suited to intra-regional trade, creating the conditions for a shift from road transport to more environmentally friendly options such as railways.

UNNExT Training of Analysts on Business Process Analysis (BPA) for Single Window Environment in Maldives, 18-20 March 2014, Male, Maldives

ESCAP, with the support of the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), is organizing the Training of Analysts on Business Process Analysis (BPA) for Single Window Environment in Maldives from 18 to 20 March 2014 in Male, Maldives. This meeting is organized in response to an official request from the Ministry of Economic Development, Government of Maldives, for technical assistance in establishing a national Single Window in Maldives. The objective is to build capacity of government officials and trade service providers on how to conduct business process analysis. BPA is a widely adopted analytical method used for systematically identifying trade bottlenecks and designing recommended measures for improving trade competitiveness, including creating electronic Single Window environment. The training is expected be attended by around 25 governmental officials as well as trade service providers.

First Steering Committee Meeting of North-East Asian Marine Protected Areas Network (NEAMPAN) of NEASPEC, 19-20 March 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea

The First Steering Committee Meeting of the North-East Asian Marine Protected Areas Network will be held from 19 to 20 March 2014 in Incheon, Korea. The North-East Asian Marine Protected Areas Network was as the first region-wide network launch in 2012 by the Secretariat of North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC), who recognized the importance of an effective, functional representative network of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Northeast Asia. This first Steering Committee meeting has been organized to develop the concrete activity plans, by facilitating further discussions among the members and other stakeholders. The intent is to provide policy and operational guidance for the Network, as well as to plan, monitor and review its activities and operation.

First Expert Group Meeting on Development of Efficient and Effective Logistics Systems, 20-21 March 2014, Beijing

An efficient and effective logistics system has a crucial role in supporting economic and trade growth, and developing regional distribution networks. We have been working with member countries to enhance logistics performance in the region so that the industry can respond to global challenges and support economic and trade development. As part of this effort, the First Expert Group Meeting on Development of Efficient and Effective Logistics Systems will be held in Beijing, 20-21 March 2014. This meeting will discuss and finalize the scope and outline of the regional study on the use of integrated logistics information systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness of logistics operations, identify best practices on the exchange of logistics information, discuss relevant data standards and institutional aspects, and develop a detailed study plan for the project group

Mongolia to launch the Incheon Strategy to ‘Make the Right Real’ for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, 26 March 2014, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

On 26 March 2014, the Prime Minister of Mongolia, together with the President and the Chair of the Mongolian Parliament, will launch the Incheon Strategy to ‘Make the Right Real’ for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The event in is organized by the Mongolian Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection in collaboration with ESCAP, WHO and the Asia-Pacific Development Centre on Disability (APCD). ESCAP will make a keynote statement on the Incheon Strategy at the event, which, building upon the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, provides the region with the first set of regionally agreed disability-inclusive development goals, targets and indicators, to be implemented over the new Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022. The event is expected to be attended by a large number of stakeholders and will be followed by a two-day workshop on disability.

Regional Consultation on Strengthening Income Support for Vulnerable Groups in Asia and the Pacific, 26-27 March 2014, Incheon, Republic of Korea

The Regional Consultation on Strengthening Income Support for Vulnerable Groups in Asia and the Pacific will be held from 26 to 27 March 2014 in Incheon, Republic of Korea, at the ESCAP Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia. The Consultation will look at the framework of a project that focuses on two key areas - income support schemes, particularly for older persons in the Asia-Pacific region, and old-age pensions in the Republic of Korea. The objectives of the consultation are: to disseminate the results of research in regard to existing income support schemes in Asia and the Pacific; to identify trends and gaps in pension schemes including social pensions in the region; and to agree on the way forward and a research agenda to evaluate options for implementing sustainable pension schemes for older persons in the Asian and Pacific region. Government experts, representatives from regional development banks, development partners, academia and independent experts are expected attend.

Workshop on Improving Disaster Data for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Development, 26-28 March 2014, Jeju, Republic of Korea

A Workshop on Improving Disaster Data for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Development will be held from 26 to 28 March 2014 in Jeju, Republic of Korea. China, Japan and Korea have previously issued a Trilateral Joint Declaration on Disaster Management Cooperation and agreed to boost regional cooperation in the key areas of technology, information management and training programmes in disaster risk reduction. Organized by ESCAP, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Korea, the workshop will discuss the preliminary results of case studies, data acquisition, and further recommendations for harmonizing disaster data among Northeast Asia. Participants will also explore better compatibility of information on hazard profiles, disaster loss database and joint research programmes.

Annual meeting of the United Nations Evaluation Group, 31 March-4 April, Bangkok

The Annual meeting of the United Nations Evaluation Group will be held from 31 March to 4 April in Bangkok, Thailand. This will be the first time that the annual UNEG meeting and associated evaluation workshops have been held in the Asia-Pacific region. One key aim is to raise the profile of evaluation across the UN family in Bangkok. The first two days of the meeting will consist of an Evaluation Practice Exchange (EPE), organised by the United Nations Evaluation Development Group for Asia and the Pacific (UNEDAP), and is open to UN colleagues. The meeting will feature a high-level panel on Tuesday afternoon, 1 April, with engaging evaluation experts and facilitators from the region and beyond.

Technical Workshop on International Trade and the WTO, 31 March-4 April 2014, New Delhi

ESCAP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Government of Myanmar, the Trade Training Institute, Yangon and the Centre for WTO Studies, India is organizing the Technical Workshop on International Trade and WTO at Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi, India from 31 March to 4 April 2014. The objectives of the workshop are to build capacity related to trade policy formulation and analysis for policymakers and researchers, particularly in relation to WTO obligations.

ESCAP to publish new report on social protection drawing lessons from across the region

A new report on social protection will be launched by ESCAP in March. Despite high and long-lasting economic growth, most countries in Asia and the Pacific continue to face rising inequality, persistent labour market informality and rapid urbanization. Coverage of social protection is fundamental to address these challenges, and robust social protection systems do not only fulfil basic human rights, they also contribute to the promise of building more sustainable and inclusive societies in Asia and the Pacific. The publication explores measures for social protection through six national case studies: Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) in Indonesia and the Philippines; expansion of social protection to informal workers in India and Thailand; and accessibility and portability of benefits and services for internal migrants in China and Viet Nam.

APCICT launches four new online modules of its flagship training programmes on ICT for Development

In early March, the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT) will launch four new courses on its distance learning platform, the APCICT Virtual Academy. The courses will cover three issues of the Primer Series on ICTD for Youth and the newest module of the Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders. Combining video lectures with interactive presentations, the new courses provide content in a format that is more appealing to today’s youth and enable anyone interested to take the courses anytime, anywhere. The Virtual Academy is the online distance learning platform for APCICT’s ICTD capacity building flagship programmes and was launched in June 2009 to diversify delivery channels in order to maximize access to the course materials and to encourage continuous learning. As of February 2014, 7,479 users from 149 countries have enrolled in the Virtual Academy.

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