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. This Stats Brief aims to synthesize a data revolution definition and raise some important questions to increase the understanding of the data revolution.
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. Over time, the rich and poor may both be better off; yet, the gap between them is increasing in many countries in the region. Multiple forms of inequality reinforce each other, creating “an inequality trap” that disproportionately affects women and the most vulnerable members of society, including the poor, youth, persons with disabilities, migrants and older persons.
An analysis of the different forms and pathways of inequalities in Asia and the Pacific is contained in the present document. It is suggested that market-led growth alone has not been enough to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. It is further suggested that enhancing social protection can be an effective measure for reducing inequality.
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. In this context, ICT will provide ever more opportunities for development, as well as more challenges. Policymakers will need to closely track and analyse the contribution of ICT to future sustainable development goals. Consequently the development of a new set of ICT development indicators beyond 2015 will be necessary, updating some WSIS targets and creating new ones when
required. The future goals should explore inclusive and sustainable connectivity, particularly through broadband, and the factors required for affordable universal access to broadband. In addition, future ICT goals should support the achievement of sustainable development goals, and should reflect lessons drawn from the WSIS implementation experience over the past decade. This includes using existing statistical standards when possible, involving the statistical community in the design of the targets at an early stage and reviewing the targets more frequently than before, to ensure ICT goals remain relevant as technology rapidly evolves.
This Staff working paper explores potential synergies in deploying fiber optic cables for data transmission and other infrastructures, chiefly transport and energy. It provides information on the cost of deploying fibre optics, exploring potential win-win strategies in the co-deployment and cohabitation of fibre and transport infrastructure and drawing lessons from good practices in the Asia- Pacific region and beyond. It contains a set of key policy measures to maximize win-win outcomes, which include synergies with the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway. It also contains an examination of the potential of ICTs in making sustainable transport a transformative building block
of sustainable development. Safer, more secure and efficient transport through the emergence of socalled intelligent transport systems is expected to play a key role in the evolution of sustainable development goals. The paper highlights major areas of work for policymakers measures on how to maximise these cross-sectoral synergies.
The Asian Highway database is a joint effort by the secretariat and member countries to monitor the development of the Asian Highway network. The Asian Highway database includes comprehensive and detailed data and information on Asian Highway routes in member countries and benchmarks their development status against the Asian Highway design standards stipulated in Annex II to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network.
Member countries are encouraged to provide the secretariat with updated data and information at regular intervals. An updated database is an important tool for governments to define their national road development policies in line with international trends and gives transport planners and operators access to reliable data to promote international and transit traffic.
Statistics such as “135 million children under the age of five in Asia and the Pacific have not had their births registered” or “9 out of 10 people in Asia and the Pacific live in countries with unreliable death statistics” make us realize that civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in Asia and the Pacific need to be improved. The Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific, 24-28 November 2014, aims to increase awareness of the importance of universal civil registration and reliable vital statistics for rights, governance and better statistics, and to generate firm commitment and accountability for results from governments and development partners, through a Ministerial Declaration and a Regional Action Framework.
Coal has been one of the fastest growing fuels since the beginning of the 21st century. Amongst its largest consumers are countries of North-East Asia, a vast and diverse sub-region which includes just six countries: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation. Altogether, these countries consume approximately 60% of the coal produced worldwide. Despite the gradual uptake of alternative fuels and energy conversion approaches, especially renewables, coal is expected to continue playing large share in the energy mix of these countries.
In order to mitigate the negative impacts associated with the production and consumption of coal, it is necessary to promote and accelerate the deployment of cleaner and more efficient technologies. Against this background, this study was prepared with the aim of assessing the status of a set of coal technologies in North-East Asia, with a focus on “cleaner coal”, and identifying opportunities for sub-regional cooperation. The study was prepared based on the contributions of coal-sector experts from North-East Asian countries, and it covers a set of different areas related to the production and utilization of coal: (i) efficiency-enhancing coal technologies; (ii) coalbed methane recovery and utilization; (iii) coal gasification; (iv) coal liquefaction; and (v) carbon capture and storage.
This paper examines the agenda of this year’s G20 Brisbane summit – namely, to promote strong economic growth and employment outcomes and to make the global economy more resilient to future shocks – in the context of key policy debates in the Asia-Pacific region and the discussions of the United Nations post-2015 development agenda. In particular, priority areas related to investment and infrastructure, trade, employment, financial inclusion and remittances, financial regulatory reforms, international tax cooperation and anti-corruption measures, and energy markets are explored. The paper finds that several issues addressed by the G20, including infrastructure financing and tax cooperation, are highly relevant for developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region and that there is significant room for synergy between the UN and G20 processes.
An official statistician reading the proposal of the Open Working Group (OWG) for Sustainable Development Goals might have two simultaneous reactions: doubt and excitement. The proposal that the UN General Assembly’s 30-member OWG forwarded to the Assembly on 19 July 2014 contains 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. The demand for data to monitoring these goals and targets far exceeds the existing capacity of national statistical systems in Asia and the Pacific. At the same time, the emphasis on the importance of data also presents opportunities for transformative changes to strengthen monitoring and accountability for better development results.
This note reviews the emerging imbalances in the Chinese economy and the attendant need for structural reforms, including financial sector and services liberalization. The role that the recently launched Shanghai Free Trade Zone could play in accelerating these reforms is then considered, alongside an assessment of progress to date.