Publications

Published Date: 
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

This working paper introduces the concept of bilateral asymmetries in international merchandise trade statistics (IMTS), i.e. the discrepancies that can be seen in reported bilateral trade flows between trading partners. Such discrepancies mean that the value of exports reported by one country does not equal to the value of imports reported by its partner, also called mirror data. These discrepancies impact bilateral trade balances and other economic variables reliant upon trade balance. Asymmetries in bilateral trade statistics are a serious concern for the quality of statistics, especially from the perspective of consistency. They may also lead to misconceptions about trade balances among policy-makers, businesses and the general public. This paper provides an overview of the main concepts in IMTS and defines asymmetries in bilateral trade statistics. It outlines how to measure the discrepancies in bilateral trade statistics and provides a case study for 10 countries in Asia-Pacific. The paper also provides an overview of the sources of bilateral trade asymmetries and suggests some basic actions that can be taken to improve the quality of IMTS and reduce bilateral asymmetries, or at least, allow researchers to balance bilateral trade flows for analytical purposes.

Published Date: 
Sunday, April 3, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

Asia and the Pacific is a dynamic region. Regional megatrends, such as urbanization, economic and trade integration and rising incomes and changing consumption patterns, are transforming its societies and economies while multiplying the environmental challenges.

These environmental challenges range from growing greenhouse gas emissions, poor air quality, land use change, pressure on marine ecosystems, biodiversity loss and increasing demand for resources, such as energy and water. These megatrends are already shaping the future patterns of resource use and defining who benefits the most and who loses. A basic premise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is that trade-offs between environmental protection, shared prosperity and social progress can no longer be viewed as acceptable.

Aligning these trends with sustainable development requires political will and action to reshape the relationships between the economy, society and the environment. This report examines four critical determinants of the relationships between these three dimensions of sustainable development as targets for fundamental transformations—in social justice, resource efficiency, investment flows and economic structures.

This report is the product of a combined effort by four institutions: the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations University and the Institute for Global and Environmental Strategies. It is the seventh in a series of reports published every five years since 1985 by ESCAP and partners (formerly known as the State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific series).

Visit the report website.

Published Date: 
Thursday, March 31, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

This handbook presents a general framework for the implementation of e-Business standards in the agrifood sector. The handbook looks specifically at four e-Business standards developed by UN/CEFACT in the areas of electronic phytosanitary certificates; electronic reporting of sustainable fishery management; electronic exchange of laboratory analysis results; and management and exchange for certificates for trade in CITES controlled species. The handbook also briefly highlights two emerging and important e-Business areas, namely electronic notification of food and feed safety issues; and Traceability in agriculture supply chains.

The electronic business solutions in each of these areas have their own set of benefits. Moreover, electronic standards contribute to a sustainable agrifood sector and the national economy, as they help to facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge; ensure public health; ensure sustainability of resource exploitation and production; limit fraud and illegal activities; reduce cost and waste; and facilitate trade. This handbook hopes to facilitate the adoption of e-Business standards for agricultural trade.

Published Date: 
Thursday, March 24, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

The expansion of technological capabilities among firms in developing countries has often been linked to international integration. Access to larger pools of higher-quality intermediate inputs, as well as the opportunity to employ technology developed in other countries, can stimulate firms to undertake innovative activities and develop new products. This note explores these linkages making use of a firm-level dataset obtained from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys containing information on 22,466 firms across 19 Asia-Pacific economies and 18 industrial sectors. It finds that Asia-Pacific firms that use imported intermediate inputs or license foreign technology tend to be more productive.

United Nations World Water Development 2016 -- Water and Jobs
United Nations World Water Development 2016 -- Water and Jobs
Published Date: 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

Water is an essential component of national and local economies, and is needed to create and maintain jobs across all sectors of the economy. Half of the global workforce is employed in eight water and natural resource-dependent industries: agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, resource-intensive manufacturing, recycling, building and transport.

Sustainable water management, water infrastructure and access to a safe, reliable and affordable supply of water and adequate sanitation services improve living standards, expand local economies, and lead to the creation of more decent jobs and greater social inclusion. Sustainable water management is also an essential driver of green growth and sustainable development.

Conversely, neglecting water issues runs the risk of imposing serious negative impacts on economies, livelihoods and populations with potentially catastrophic and extremely costly results. Unsustainable management of water and other natural resources can cause severe damages to economies and to society, thus reversing many poverty reduction, job creation and hard-won development gains.

Addressing the water-jobs nexus, notably through coordinated policies and investments, is therefore a prerequisite to sustainable development in both developed and developing countries.

Published Date: 
Thursday, March 10, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

This study is part of an annual series, developed by the Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of ESCAP. It provides a yearly overview of natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region and its impacts.

In 2015, Asia-Pacific continued to be the world’s most disaster prone region. 160 disasters were reported in the region, accounting for 47 per cent of the world’s 344 disasters.1 The region bore the brunt of large scale catastrophic disasters with over 16,000 fatalities — more than a two-fold increase since 2014. South Asia accounted for a staggering 64 per cent of total global fatalities — the majority was attributed to the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal in April which caused 8,790 deaths.2 Asia and the Pacific incurred more than US$ 45.1 billion in economic damage in 2015 and even higher indirect losses. These numbers, however, are gross underestimates as there is no systematic assessment of the cost of all disasters that struck the region, especially slow-onset disasters such as droughts, heat waves, forest fires and haze.

Published Date: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

The Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division (IDD) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has conducted a series of research on building e-resilience that examines the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for disaster risk reduction (DRR) in selected Asia-Pacific countries. The research has been carried out as part of the project—“Strengthening information and communications technology capacities for disaster risk reduction and development: Addressing information, knowledge and policy gaps in Asia.” This study is a part of the research series, and focuses on how Mongolia, a landlocked country, makes use of ICTs to manage and reduce disaster risks for social and economic development.

Published Date: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

Disasters affect multiple facets of human life. Therefore, disaster risk management (DRM) requires multiple mechanisms across different silos in order to prepare for and deal with all types of disasters. The multiple mechanisms will most definitely require collaboration at the international or regional level, and coordination with government at the national and local levels, with community organizations and with individuals. In all these instances, effective communication is critical. As a result, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are vital for dealing with calamities, and functioning ICT infrastructures are essential both pre- and post-disaster. Services provided over ICT
infrastructures can play a decisive role in the early warning of natural disasters, and there is much research documenting the role of ICTs in early warning.2 The role that can be played by resilient ICT infrastructures in the immediate aftermath of a disaster has been documented in a previous ESCAP report.

Published Date: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Published Date: 
Thursday, March 3, 2016
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

This paper studies the linkage between trade and transport facilitation and ICT. It looks into the business needs of trade and transport facilitation (TTF) and how ICT can respond to these needs. The paper argues, new policy and regulatory directions for trade and transport facilitation and new operational requirements have emerged in recent years. Thus the design of ICT architecture and its organizational underpinnings has to change to respond to these new requirements.

The paper will first present current trade and transport facilitation trends and the impact they have regarding ICT support. It will then present an architectural model for the integration and modernization of trade and transport facilitation systems and describe some of its features. A discussion of organizational and legal requirements supplements this discussion and completes the frame work for Trade and Transport Facilitation ICT systems described in this paper. Some information on the state of preparedness of selected least and landlocked developing countries (Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Myanmar) towards the implementation of a National Single Window for paperless trade is provided in annex for reference.

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