Asia and the Pacific is forecast to see a moderate increase in growth in 2015. This will be driven by better growth in a range of developing economies, aided by structural reform programmes which are likely to improve the domestic business environment. Several exporting economies will exhibit relatively unchanged growth at moderate levels, with a positive factor being the seemingly sustained recovery in the United States, although slow growth in the eurozone and Japan will remain a challenge.
The Asia-Pacific Statistics Newsletter, Fourth Quarter 2014, provides information on "The first Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific"; features an Interview with Mr Trevor Sutton, Deputy Australian Statistician and Chair of the Strategic Advisory Body for the Modernization of Statistical Production and Services in Asia and the Pacific (SAB-AP); provides update on the areas of work; and announces important events and meetings.
Rising inequality as well as the need to build resilience to crises, whether economic and financial crises, or natural disasters, have increased the call for strengthening social protection in the Asia-Pacific region.
To strengthen social protection, most countries in the region have already set in place income support schemes, often targeted towards certain vulnerable groups. Those include schemes for providing universal social pensions for older persons, income support schemes targeted at poor families, schemes targeting women, as well as food-for-work schemes.
The Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific provides the Asian and Pacific region, and the world, with the first set of regionally agreed disability-inclusive development goals. The Incheon Strategy goals cover a range of development areas from poverty reduction and employment to political participation, accessibility, social protection, education, gender equality, disaster risk reduction, data collection, CRPD ratification and international cooperation.
ESCAP produced an easy-to-understand version of the Incheon Strategy to "Make the Right Real" for Persons with Disabilities to reach out to wider public including persons with diverse disabilities. The easy-to-understand version provides the background of the Incheon Strategy and description of its Goals, Targets and Indicators in a simple language, and with illustrations drawn by a Thai deaf artist. The drafting of the easy-to-understand version involved persons with intellectual disabilities, their family members as well as the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability.
Modern societies are characterized by high-tech computers, the Internet and huge amounts of data generated by the digital footprint of modern lives. Despite all this data the world learned a very obvious but valuable lesson from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – without data it is not possible to set baselines or monitor progress towards the achievement of the development targets. As a consequence, the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda called for a “new data revolution” for sustainable development.
The United Nations recognizes that productivity capacity building is the key for self-sustained growth and graduation of LDCs in Asia and the Pacific. To achieve this objective, substantial financing must be mobilized to invest in infrastructure, social development and climate changechallenges. Despite the significant progresses made by the Asia-Pacific LDCs in restoring macroeconomic stability, deepening the banking sector and attracting FDI and remittances, for many, fiscal spaces remain narrow and financial markets largely inefficient and undiversified.
As the development agenda beyond 2015 takes shape, it is increasingly being recognized that inequality is an impediment to the integration of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Despite high and enduring economic growth and significant progress in terms of poverty eradication, inequalities persist in Asia and the Pacific, and in some instances they have intensified, between women and men, girls and boys, urban and rural areas, and different age and ethnic groups.
The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of regional progress in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Survey data collected in 2013 from ESCAP countries, and publicly available data suggest that there has been progress in the past decade towards achieving the WSIS objectives. However, progress is incomplete, and in some instances the digital divide has actually increased as more advanced countries have surged ahead in implementation of WSIS objectives.