Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region of the world. In recent years, it has faced a series of multiple exogenous shocks that transcend geographical boundaries and endanger our communities. The poor and the vulnerable are the ones most affected. Despite the rapid economic growth in the region, many developing countries are increasingly vulnerable to disasters, and the magnitude and frequency of extreme disasters are estimated to rise due to the effects of climate change. This necessitates building resilience of the region to extreme disasters in multidimensional ways.
Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013: Turning the Tide: Towards Inclusive Trade and Development
The present document is based on the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013 (henceforth the Report), which is the main substantive document prepared for the third session of the Committee on Trade and Investment. The Report comprises two parts. In the first part, there is a focus on trends and developments in trade in merchandise and commercial services, foreign direct investment flows, performance in trade facilitation, and reliance on preferential policies and trade agreements from an Asia-Pacific perspective.
ESCAP focuses on a number of areas of economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific. One of these is trade and investment – a vital engine for growth and integration. Recent decades have seen an enormous expansion in trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific region. Regional economies are increasingly part of global value chains. This has helped foster the economic dynamism that has lifted many from poverty and spread prosperity more widely. At the same time, however, too many individuals and communities remain excluded from the benefits of trade and investment.
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.
Trade has the potential to contribute to economic growth and to more and better jobs. Whether trade contributes to growth that is inclusive, in the sense that all people can contribute to and benefit from growth triggered by trade, is likely to depend on country specificities including institutional pre-conditions and policies applied in domains other than trade. This paper identifies specific challenges for making trade inclusive and identifies ways for dealing with them.
The Cocoa Grower’s Association (CGA) in the Republic of Vanuatu is a fundamental example of how the organization of local cooperatives can make a significant impact and create an environment for inclusive trade. This paper will review a case study of implementing a governing association that coordinates cocoa cooperatives in Vanuatu, and which is focused on organizing the production and trade in the region, as a method to highlight key lessons learned and potential for scalability in furthering inclusive trade goals.
This paper studies the linkages between international openness and inclusive growth, understood as better access to productive employment and entrepreneurship, the reduction of poverty and a more equal income distribution. It introduces the notion of inclusive trade as the linkages through which international integration can contribute to inclusive growth. Four dimensions of potential linkages are analyzed, namely: (i) aggregate employment and its distribution, (ii) aggregate productivity, (iii) poverty and income inequality, and (iv) equal opportunities.
The 2013 ESCAP Population Data Sheet for Asia and the Pacific focuses on maternal health. In light of the current challenges in achieving MDG 5 on maternal health, indicators such as births attended by skilled health personnel, maternal mortality ratio, unmet need for family planning and adolescent fertility rates are provided.
This report highlights that 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 Millennium Development Goals have helped rally political support for global efforts to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable human development. The Asia-Pacific region has achieved remarkable progress on the MDGs, particularly on reducing income poverty; however, it still has a significant ‘unfinished agenda’. People in the region continue to face major deprivation, along with many new and unaddressed development challenges. As the finishing line for the MDGs approaches, this report articulates Asia-Pacific aspirations for a post-2015 development framework.