- 1 Dec 2008
The world faces the worst financial crisis in recent memory. The food and energy volatility experienced earlier this year are compounding these problems. Amidst these woes, who wants to hear about corporate social responsibility? It is only natural that the world's attention is turned elsewhere, concentrated on the financial crisis. But we cannot - and must not - do this at the expense of corporate social responsibility. At the core of the financial crisis is a collapse of trust in the capital markets. While lack of accountability, proper regulatory controls and transparency all played a role in this, the main problem appears to be the obsession of financial markets with short-term gains over long-term considerations. There has been insufficient respect for values that encompass ethical dimensions while addressing profitability.
- 1 Nov 2008
Two months have passed since the effects of the global financial crisis were first felt in Asia and the Pacific. Much has been said about them. And yet, one of the effects less spoken of is the impact of the crisis on the availability of public and private finance for development - a key issue for our region, where more than 900 million people are estimated to live in poverty. Such financing has been dramatically curtailed, and the simple fact is that our region cannot afford any cutbacks in this respect. With so many of the world's poorest in our region, any reduction will only compound their plight. To avoid this, we need to safeguard the Asia-Pacific region's hard-fought gains in reducing poverty and promoting development; and we need to continue seeking out new and innovative sources of financing for that development. In tackling both these tasks, we need to think and act in unison.
- 1 Oct 2008
What can Asia-Pacific governments do to address these immediate threats to development? I propose a two-track strategy, focused on realizing an inclusive development process through a set of mutually supportive national and regional actions. First, sustaining domestic demand and protecting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups must be the bedrock of national policies in the months ahead..
- 23 Sep 2008
The 2007 regional survey produced by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific estimated that persistent gender inequality costs our region $58 billion to $77 billion annually - reflecting the daunting numbers of people deprived of opportunity. And yet, there is a hopeful side to this abhorrent reality: it also indicates the potential gains that Asia and the Pacific, and the world, could make through intensifying efforts to promote gender-equitable progress in achievement of the MDGs.
- 8 Jul 2008
Now, more than two months after Cyclone Nargis left a trail of death and destruction in Myanmar, events and developments elsewhere around the globe have captured many of the region's news headlines. But not being the centre of the media's attention does not mean that the plight of Myanmar is over. Unfortunately, that is far from being the case.