Launch of the Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2011

(<a href="">Supported by PowerPoint presentation </a>)

<b>Slide 1: Cover of the Yearbook</b><ul class="intro"><li>Distinguished representatives, members of the press, experts and colleagues;</li>
<li>It is my pleasure to launch the new Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific.</li></ul><b>Slide 2: Facts about total population</b><ul class="intro">
<li>At some point this month, October 2011, a child will be born and the World's population will have reached seven (7) billion. There is a good chance that this childbirth will take place in our region; home to 61% of the World's population.</li>
</ul><b>Slide 3: Facts about child sex ratios</b>
<ul class="intro">
<li>If the child is born in the Asia-Pacific region, it will most likely be a boy: In 2010, among children below the age of five, there were 110 boys for every 100 girls. This is much higher than the natural sex ratio, and higher than any other region of the world;</li>
<li>This shift away from the natural sex ratio indicates that prevailing family structures, culture, policy incentives and the available technology combine to make parents in some countries prefer boys over girls and act on that preference. An alarming trend that reflects existing social practices of gender discrimination and neglect, and has serious consequences for the demographics of the future.</li>
</ul><b>Slide 4: Facts about fertility and ageing</b>
<ul class="intro">
<li>The 7 billion-th child of the World has a better chance than a decade ago of surviving past the age of five, and is likely to enjoy a much longer life than his or her parents and grand parents. The life expectancy for both women and men has increased in every Asian and Pacific country during the past decade: The largest increase was seen in Nepal where life expectancy increased by close to 4 years for both women and men;</li>
<li>The child is also likely to have fewer siblings than his or her parents: Declining fertility rates in the Asia-Pacific region during the past decades mean that by 2010, the region-wide fertility rate was equal to the "replacement level";, at 2.1 children per woman.In the recorded history of the region, it has never been this low;</li>
<li>Falling fertility combined with increased life expectancy point to another demographic trend that has implications reaching far into the future, namely an ageing population. The proportion of the elderly is increasing in all subregions of Asia and the Pacific - overall for the region, the share of elderly people increased by 34% from 1990 to 2010. Today, almost 300 million people in the region are 65 years or older;</li>
<li>Another trend for policy-makers to note.</li>
</ul><b>Slide 5: Facts about the economy, trade, unemployment, and poverty</b>
<ul class="intro">
<li>In the wake of a devastating financial crisis, a remarkably positive message is confirmed by the economic figures in the Yearbook: The Asia-Pacific region and Africa were the only regions in the world to experience positive GDP growth in 2009. The Asia-Pacific region also, as the only region in the world, returned to pre-financial crisis levels of trade already in 2010. All the while, low unemployment was maintained, at around 5% on average for the region;</li>
<li>Paraphrasing a term coined recently by one of our close partners, the Asian Development Bank: We have opened the door to the "Asia-Pacific Century".</li>
</ul><b>Slide 6: Facts about disparities (ODA, disasters, literacy, and school enrolment)</b>
<ul class="intro">
<li>The economic growth is however not bringing equal benefits to all;</li>
<li>Least developed countries were hit especially hard by a massive decline in overseas development assistance. In a single year, from 2008 to 2009, ODA levels dropped by 70%;</li>
<li>People in low-income countries are also affected more severely by natural disasters: More than 30 in every thousand people living in these countries were affected by a disaster each year during the last decade. By contrast, 1 in every thousand people living in high-income economies was affected;</li>
<li>More than 26 million children in the region did not attend primary school in 2008;</li>
<li>Women make up 65% of the illiterate population in the region - a figure that has barely improved during the past 20 years;</li>
<li>Only 18% of the people working in research and development in 2007 were women. This is very low - lower than Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean and Europe;</li>
<li>We need to work harder to ensure that all people in the region are given the best possible opportunities for a productive and healthy life.</li>
</ul><b>Slide 7: Facts on the environment</b>
<ul class="intro">
<li>The rapid economic expansion and large population also have environmental impacts in the region;</li>
<li>During the decade between 1992 and 2002, water use increased by almost 60% and there are no signs that the increase in water use has halted since;</li>
<li>During 2000 to 2010, the proportion of primary forests in the region declined by more than 10%;</li>
<li>In 2008, Asian and Pacific countries accounted for almost half the world's CO2 emissions. In 1990, that figure was 38%;</li>
<li>There is room and need for the region's leaders to push for a more environmentally sound growth paradigm; at the national, regional and global levels.</li>
</ul><b>Slide 8: "Untold stories ...";</b>
<ul class="intro">
<li>Distinguished representatives, members of the press, experts and colleagues; </li>
<li>The Statistical Yearbook paints a picture of a region that is developing economically at impressive speed - even in the midst of a financial crisis that has crippled the more developed economies of the world. The figures also tell the story of a region that provides different and unequal opportunities to its girls and boys; where some countries and areas are lagging behind in socio-economic development; where a number of the Millennium Development Goals are far from being achieved; and where the environmental toll of the rapid economic development is cause for concern;</li>
<li>It is our job as experts, opinion-leaders and decision-makers to look carefully at the evidence and ensure that the debate leading towards policies are fully informed by it;</li>
<li>The Yearbook also points to the reality that, due to the lack of timely, reliable and relevant statistical information, many drivers and consequences of development are not fully understood. To name a few:
* <em>Our children may go to school - but what do they learn?</em>
* <em>What are the drivers and implications of lack of food security?</em>
* <em>To what extent is environmental sustainability put at risk by the prevailing economic development paradigm?</em>

<li>We need to ensure that these questions continue to be asked and that the statistical systems of the region are supported to meet the enormous demand for more evidence to guide policy dialogue and steer the region towards inclusive, sustainable and resilient societies through well-designed policies; </li>
<li>I am therefore pleased to see a number of national statisticians in the audience: You are the primary producers of the statistics; we rely on you for credible, relevant and timely statistical information.</li>
<li>Let us work together to make sure that the 7 billion-th child and their children's children have the rights and opportunities we all deserve. </li>
</ul><p>I thank you.</p>