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 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.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division. It aims to deepen understanding of regional trends and developments in trade and investment; emerging issues in trade, investment and trade facilitation policies; and impacts of these policies on countries’ abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. APTIR 2012 focuses on trends and developments in the economies of Asia and the Pacific in their post-recovery from the 2008-2009 crisis and trade collapse.
Falling demand in the developed world has led to a broad-based economic slowdown in Asia and the Pacific, lowering economic growth forecasts.
The impact of slowdown will challenge regional inclusive and sustainable development with job growth and household income predicted to decline. UNESCAP estimates that, by 2013, 14 million fewer people in the Asia and Pacific region would be able to escape poverty at the $2-a-day poverty line.
The Asia-Pacific region continues to face a deeply challenging external environment. The V-shaped recovery from the
depths of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis in 2010 proved to be short-lived, as the world economy entered the
second stage of the crisis in 2011, due to euro zone debt concerns and the continued uncertain outlook for the United
States economy. The region will be affected by slackening demand for its exports and higher costs of capital, as well
as by loose monetary policies and trade protection measures of some advanced economies.