The Asia-Pacific Statistics Newsletter, First Quarter 2015, provides information on the outcome of the "Fourth session of the Committee on Statistics, 25-27 March 2015"; features an Interview with Ms. Aishath Shahuda, Chief Statistician, National Bureau of Statistics, Maldives and Chair of the ESCAP Committee on Statistics (CST); provides update on the areas of work; and announces important events and meetings.
Women have made important contributions to the advancement in research and development. Despite an increase in the overall number of researchers over time in Asia and the Pacific, men have consistently outnumbered women. In addition, fewer women pursue science-related education than men. As the role of technology, science and innovation is emphasized in achieving the sustainable development goals beyond 2015, it is important to unlock the potential of women in these areas in order for them to make even greater contribution to the betterment of the humankind.
The report on Market Opportunities for Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) in South-East Asia (SEA) is prepared within the frame of the joint project of ESCAP and UN-Habitat on “Strengthening capacity of policymakers in SEA to promote policies and developing plans for improved wastewater treatment and reuse in urban and peri-urban areas”, to address the fast-growing problem of untreated wastewater through promotion of the Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) in 2013-2015 (ref: DA 8th Tranche).
To integrate further least developed countries (LDCs) into the global and regional economies, a number of countries have introduced Duty-Free Quota-Free (DFQF) schemes for LDCs, allowing their imports to enter without paying tariffs. This note reviews those schemes and finds that Asia-Pacific LDCs are increasing their share of global exports, but while improved market access through DFQF schemes is useful, the developmental benefits will be limited unless the schemes are made relevant and usable.
Afghanistan needs to capitalize on the potential for greater trade with its Central Asian neighbours, especially given the current headwinds facing the Afghan economy. Particular promise exists for: energy trade; transit trade linking Central Asia with South Asia; and trade among border communities. However, at present trade relations are extremely limited and significant barriers to further integration remain including tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as transport and connectivity issues.
The recent collapse in international commodity prices (June 2014 to February 2015) has both positive and negative implications for Asia-Pacific economies, depending upon net commodity-trade positions. Here the focus is on the impacts to net commodity-importing economies. In the short-run, these economies are likely to benefit from a downturn in commodity-prices. Major consequences include: higher disposable incomes, greater domestic demand, and faster economic growth.
This issue of the Trade Insights series provides analysis of notifications submitted as part of the preparation for the implementation under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Fifteen economies in the Asia-Pacific region have already submitted Category A notifications, i.e., the list of substantive provisions they have either already implemented or are committed to implement by the time the Agreement enters into force.
Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions.
Building resilience to disasters is increasingly being recognized as a priority area in order to protect hard-earned development gains in the Asia-Pacific region. The private sector alone is estimated to hold 70 to 85 per cent of the investment in most national economies and makes over $80 trillion worth of institutional investments globally on an annual basis. Clearly, any attempts to reduce the risk of disasters and build resilience will not work without the active participation of the private sector.