The ESCAP/UNISDR Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2012, Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters provides an analysis of the impact of disasters on Asian and Pacific countries between 1970 to 2011, and discusses the twin challenge faced by the region of increasing exposure of its people and economic assets, and heightened vulnerabilities experienced by the poor and other disadvantaged groups to disasters. Pressures resulting from rapid urban development and economic growth has resulted in people and economic activities expanding into increasingly exposed and hazard-prone land.
Asia and the Pacific is a region vulnerable to natural hazards of almost every kind – from earthquakes to droughts, from floods to tsunamis. And with the prospect of climate change, the situation could become even more hazardous. The risks depend, however, not just on natural phenomena but also on the political, economic and social environment in which disaster events occur. This report considers ways of reducing vulnerability to disasters, building resilience and protecting hard-won development gains.
Being environment friendly, railway transport is gaining importance in the Asia-Pacific region due to growing concerns of the adverse impact on environment of road transport on one hand and increasing concerns about energy security on the other. The importance of sustainable transport was reaffirmed in the Rio+20 document “The Future we want”. Couple this with, the entry into force of intergovernmental agreement on Trans-Asian Railway Network, has provided impetus for the development of railway transport as a competitive mode of transport in the region.
Growth performance in developing Asia-Pacific economies is expected to rebound moderately
after a sluggish 2013 but growth will remain subpar. The key economies of China, India, Indonesia
and Thailand with large domestic markets have experienced moderate growth in 2013 compared
to their recent strong performance. The region may continue to experience a “new normal” of
lower growth compared to recent years—as highlighted in the Survey 2013.
The 2013 edition of the Statistical Yearbook presents concise analyses highlighting major achievements and challenges for the 53 regional ESCAP member States and the five subregions in promoting economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. These analyses are supported with the most up-to-date and comparable data for over 300 indicators covering 32 topics, grouped into eight themes: demographic trends, health, education and knowledge, poverty and insecurity, women’s empowerment, environment, economy, and connectivity.
The 2013 Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report shows that while the gains created by growth have been significant, the majority of poor people in many Asia-Pacific countries have often not shared in this prosperity. Inclusive regional trade- and investment-led growth is yet to be fully realized, but the 2013 Report underscores that trade and investment continue to be important engines of Asia-Pacific growth.
While transport has been an essential element in the rapid growth and economic development of Asia and the Pacific, the sector is now at a crossroads more than ever before. Rocketing demand for transport services is putting extreme pressure on existing infrastructure at a time when public budgets are constrained and awareness about the negative externalities of transport activities is growing. The challenge is therefore to ensure that today’s transport policies and investments will contribute to a sustainable and inclusive development path for the future.
Asia and the Pacific has made good progress towards the MDGs, through the region will still need to make greater efforts if it is to meet some important targets. Now it has the opportunity to set its sights higher when considering priorities for a post-2015 framework.
The Asia-Pacific region has been battered in recent years by a relentless series of shocks. Some have been related to natural disasters, such as earthquakes or droughts or floods. Others, such as the 2008 financial crisis, have been caused by convulsions in global markets. Still others, such as rocketing food and energy prices, have been the result of a complex combination of shocks. The traditional approach has been to consider such events individually. This is increasingly unrealistic.
The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific is the oldest and most comprehensive annual review of economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific. This flagship publication of ESCAP outlines policies to sustain dynamic growth and to make it inclusive such as boosting internal demand, enhancing connectivity to create a seamless and region-wide market, and building productive capacities in the least developed countries.