Publications

Published Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

Although India is still a relatively young country, there are currently 116 million older persons in India and their number is increasing rapidly. Income security for older persons can become an increasing concern. Coverage of contributory and non-contributory schemes is still low in India. Public sector workers are well covered through a non-contributory pension scheme. Due to longer life expectancy, the number of beneficiaries of this scheme is increasing rapidly, which poses an increasing burden for the federal budget. There are also several contributory schemes in India covering the formal private sector as well as public sector employees who started work after 1 January 2004. Membership of many of these funds is stagnating. The only pension schemes with a rise of memberships are those under the oversight of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Many pension funds in India are likely to be unsustainable in the future and are likely to require reform.

Published Date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

This project working paper discusses the prevailing system of income security for older persons in the Republic of Korea with regards to coverage, beneficiaries, and sustainability. It also discusses recently undertaken reforms of the income security system with regards to their budgetary implications. After the introduction of a mandatory pension scheme, coverage of pensions increased rapidly in the Republic of Korea. However, as the pension system in the Republic of Korea was introduced relatively late, poverty of older persons is still high. The paper concludes that recent reforms may be able to address the high poverty rate of older persons in the Republic of Korea. Further reforms may be required with regards to the Government employees pension scheme to ensure its sustainability.

Published Date: 
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Abstract: 

Developing economies of the Asia-Pacific region grew by an estimated 4.5 per cent in 2015, the lowest rate since 2010, with only a modest rebound to 5 per cent growth projected for 2016. While global trade and China’s economy explain much of the recent slowdown, there are also signs of weakening productivity growth in the region. Compared to the past, lower interest rates and exchange rate depreciations have had less noticeable impact on domestic activity and exports. Meanwhile, rapid increases in household and corporate debt in some countries pose risks for financial stability. At the same time, growth has not been sufficiently inclusive. This is a concern as robust and inclusive growth is important for creating jobs and improving broader development outcomes as envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Year-end Update of ESCAP’s annual flagship publication, Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, provides the latest macroeconomic forecasts, identifies emerging risks and challenges, and takes stock of fiscal, monetary and structural policy developments in the Asia-Pacific region. Against the recent slowdown, a key message is the need to reinvigorate domestic and regional sources of demand instead of relying primarily on external demand. This would entail rebalancing towards consumption in some cases and boosting investment in others, including in infrastructure. Given weakening and uneven productivity growth, the report calls for greater attention to small and medium-sized enterprises and the agricultural sector, the contribution of which to total value added is disproportionately small compared with their total employment share. In this vein, fiscal policy has a critical role to play.

Published Date: 
Thursday, December 31, 2015
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

ESCAP has released a new publication entitled, "Time for Equality: The Role of Social Protection in Reducing Inequalities in Asia and the Pacific". The publication explores the linkages between inequality and social protection. Overall, it argues that inequality, in its multiple forms, is on the rise in Asia and the Pacific, and is having an adverse impact on sustainable development.

The report provides evidence that social protection is an effective instrument to reduce inequalities, and by so doing, contributes to the integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It examines in particular the inequalities faced by children, persons of working-age, older persons and in relation to access to affordable health care and related social protection initiatives taken in the region. It notes that while countries in the region are increasingly recognizing the importance of social protection, important coverage gaps remain. It also includes examples of successful schemes and provides member States and other stakeholders with recommendations along eight broad and complementary approaches.

Published Date: 
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Abstract: 

Disability at a Glance 2015, the fifth edition in the Disability at a Glance series, focuses on barriers to the employment of persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, and offers solutions to strengthen their employment prospects.

Like its previous ones, the present edition offers a regional overview of disability legislation, policies and practices, as well as relevant country-specific information with a particular emphasis on the employment of persons with disabilities. The information is drawn from a targeted disability survey carried out in 2015 by the ESCAP secretariat, and research undertaken by other organizations and scholars.

The publication consists mainly of two parts. In Part 1, Chapter 1 discusses key employment trends shaping the experiences of persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific. Chapter 2 considers the major barriers that persons with disabilities face as they seek to find decent work in the open labour market. Chapter 3 explores a number of strategies used by governments and in the private sector to promote greater access to employment for persons with disabilities. Finally, Chapter 4 lays out a series of action points governments should consider in their efforts to remove the numerous employment barriers faced by many millions of women and men with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. In Part 2, country snapshots provide the latest demographic, socioeconomic and employment-specific data for ESCAP members.

Published Date: 
Thursday, December 31, 2015
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

The Regional Coordination Mechanism - United Nations Development Group Asia-Pacific Thematic Working Group on Youth, co-chaired by ESCAP and ILO, has produced this report for three main reasons. First and foremost to raise awareness of the importance of youth-related, evidence-based and strategic participatory policymaking, planning and programming. Second, to highlight the current status, challenges and opportunities for the youth of Asia and the Pacific. Third, to support the understanding and practical responses — by governments, civil society, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders — of the position and promise of youth in the region.

In line with the recently-adopted SDGs, the report examines the 2030 Agenda from a youth perspective, following the so-called ‘five Ps’ — people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. It considers the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development and stresses the need to create conditions for youth to be engaged, active and integral parts of the solutions we need.

Published Date: 
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Abstract: 

Integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions is key to achieving sustainable development. There is, in general, a widespread acceptance of why the integration of the three dimensions is necessary; however, questions arise as to âhowâ this integration is to be achieved. This publication has been produced to assist policymakers in addressing the question of âhowâ to achieve integration. Produced by ESCAP in collaboration with experts from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Integrated Sustainability Analysis group at the University of Sydney, this publication introduces useful concepts and practical tools to assist policymakers in promoting integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development across the policy cycle.

Published Date: 
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
resource Type: 
Working paper series
Abstract: 

In this paper, we expand the analysis of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in free trade agreements (FTAs) undertaken by Puutio (2013). Our research is based on the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Agreements Database (APTIAD) upon which we have built a parallel database that documents trends in the inclusion of IPRs in FTAs in the Asia-Pacific region.

We note that:
i. Technological progress, digitalization and globalization generate constant impetus towards international harmonization and increasingly complex IPRs legislation;
ii. FTAs are flexible venue for international IPRs norm-setting, which poses significant challenges as well as opportunities; and
iii. Forum shifting is best viewed as a rational response to private progress and public stagnation.

We find that:
i. Countries within the region have been involved in a growing number of bilateral and regional preferential trade agreements;
ii. FTAs cover an increasing amount of subject matter over time, in line with technological progress and absorptive capacities; and
iii. The stringency of IPRs in FTAs has grown; however, there is no clear evidence of spiraling or ratcheting up across all development groupings.

In part I we discuss the foundations of assessing IPRs clauses in FTAs. In Part II we present the current state of affairs in Asia and the Pacific.

Published Date: 
Monday, December 28, 2015
Abstract: 

This latest biennial Review sets out transport developments in the Asia-Pacific region and serves as a mechanism for reporting on the provision of transport infrastructure and services; the challenges remaining in regional, urban and rural connectivity; and public health issues, such as road safety and emission pollutions.

The Review finds that regional connectivity has been placed high in policy agenda of many countries in the region. This has resulted in the strong demand for strengthened regional transport connectivity, largely emanating from the desire to have smooth flow of goods movements within the region that also provides inclusive access for the emerging development opportunities to all countries in the region, in particular those with special needs such as least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

2015 saw the adoption of the global mandate in the 2030 UN development agenda and the agreement to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the 17 goals and 169 targets, transport is specifically mentioned in four targets and indirectly in seven others. To achieve the SDGs, transport’s contribution will need to focus towards achieving an integrated intermodal transport system that provides balanced integration of the three pillars, economic, social and environmental, of sustainable development. The Review shows adoption of overall policy on developing the integrated intermodal transport systems in a number of countries. It provides an update on the status of the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks, as well as progress in the development of intermodal linkages such as dry ports. It describes regional strategies and mechanisms to facilitate the cross-border movement of transport.

In the context of SDG 11 on more sustainable cities, the Review reports on the initiatives of the cities of the region to stem the social and economic losses from the burden of increasing congestion and pollution caused by private vehicles. The Review acknowledges the increasing role of intelligent transport systems for urban and inter-city mobility and recognizes the role of rural accessibility as a key component of success in connecting production with consumption to end hunger and promote sustainable agriculture. It also reports the region’s greater interest and the need in further improving road safety, which resulted in social and economic loss from road traffic fatalities with some 733,000 deaths on Asia-Pacific roads in 2013. Finally, it investigates the potential for private sector involvement in financing transport investments. Increasing investment in environmentally sound railway and intermodal transport hubs has been seen in many countries in the region.

Published Date: 
Monday, December 28, 2015
resource Type: 
Books
Abstract: 

With the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) coming into effect, the main purpose of this publication is to serve as a resource to businesses, particularly in Myanmar and the other CLMV countries, in navigating the coming changes. The guidebook is divided into three main parts: the introduction provides the background and context of the AEC’s development; Section I outlines the main AEC policies and attempts to explain the real-world outcomes of such policies; and Section II then analyses how the policies of the AEC will affect businesses, with a greater focus on SMEs, as they make up the vast majority of businesses in Myanmar and other CLMV countries. The central conclusion of this guidebook is that despite the numerous opportunities the AEC will provide to the private sector, the reality for most CLMV businesses is that they will need to focus, at least initially, primarily on remaining competitive domestically in a more open and regionally integrated environment. This is due to several disadvantages they face in comparison to companies from the more economically powerful countries in the region. This includes underdeveloped domestic and cross-border infrastructure, less competitive human resources, lower quality technology and equipment, and a more challenging business environment. Thus, while some CLMV businesses may be able to benefit from the opportunities to export or link to more efficient production networks, the majority should place greater emphasis on being able to compete against foreign-based businesses expanding into their domestic markets. Although the ASEAN Economic Community has often been discussed as “AEC 2015”, it has become increasingly clear that many reforms will not be in place by the official launch date, and that the year 2020 would be a more realistic target for full implementation of the agreement. Consequently, CLMV businesses still have time to prepare for the advent of the AEC by, for example, increasing training of their employees, focusing on product and process innovation, and incorporating more advanced technologies and processes. There is time, too, for CLMV governments and development organizations to address the main impediments to the private sector, such as lack of access to finance, corruption, and insufficient infrastructure.

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