February 2013

  •  A fallen tree near a damaged railroad track in Pakistan. Photo credit: Gerhard Jörén 2010.

    Why don’t we act on the facts of climate change?

    By Susann Roth on Thursday, 28 February 2013

    I am not an environment or climate change expert, but I am an environmentalist out of conviction. When I was 14 years old I wrote a letter to the German Minister of Environment asking for faster policy action to reduce green house gas emissions.

  • How might health sector issues be reflected in the Post-2015 goals?

    By Patricia Moser on Thursday, 28 February 2013

    The ADB Health Community of Practice had an opportunity to contribute to the regional post-2015 social development agenda last week.  Susann Roth, a Senior Social Development Specialist colleague in the Regional Sustainable Development Department, presented the initial outcomes from the ADB-UNDP-UNESCAP-sponsored Asia and the Pacific consultations.

  • Social protection: Killing two birds with one stone

    By Indu Bhushan on Thursday, 28 February 2013

    I have been in several discussions recently in which people have argued that there is a definite trade-off between promoting economic growth and supporting inclusiveness. In particular, social protection is considered part of a set of welfare-oriented “populist policies” which is a drain on national budgets, as opposed to real investment to spur economic growth.

  • An Indonesian field extension worker compares rice yields using the system of rice intensification. Photo credit: Shuichi Sato

    Producing more with less through rice intensification method: Is it a revolution or an illusion?

    By Takashi Matsuo on Thursday, 28 February 2013

    I recently received two e-mails that piqued my interest anew about the expanding system of rice intensification (SRI) in India. One is a newspaper article about the “new green grassroots revolution” in Bihar, India’s poorest state, and the other is a set of charts showing the impacts of an ADB-financed irrigation project in Chhattisgarh. 

  • A drop in the ocean to connect the Pacific

    By on Monday, 25 February 2013

    For the small, isolated Pacific islands, access to more affordable and reliable telecommunications, particularly high-speed (broadband) internet, offers new economic opportunities. It has been estimated that a 10% increase in broadband penetration raises GDP by over 1% in such countries. 

  • Changing the game: How we can stop ultra poverty

    By Betty Wilkinson on Monday, 25 February 2013

    A completely different way of thinking about how to address chronic and severe poverty has emerged. And this idea works. The evidence is preliminary but it is quite strong, and there is more coming very soon.

  • Photo Credit: Chor Mui Lee

    Myanmar: Cautionary tales for a country on the move

    By Stephen P. Groff on Monday, 25 February 2013

    Can a nation once intentionally isolated from the world be rebuilt from the outside in? After decades of isolation, Myanmar has an extraordinary amount of work to do on every imaginable front. The country needs access to billions of dollars to bring modern irrigation systems to rural farmers, roads and electricity to remote communities, as well as technical and vocational training to prepare the country's youth for the jobs of the future.

  • ADB-funded Woman and Child Health Development Project helped this blood center  in Tashkent City, Uzbekistan upgrade its equipment and facilities.

    Re-examining ADB’s future role in the health sector

    By on Thursday, 21 February 2013

    ADB is currently reviewing its role in the health sector. Strategy 2020 proposes 80% investment in core sectors, and 20% in other sectors including agriculture, and health and social protection as non-core sectors. But investments in health have been declining in the past few years, and based on new Country Partnership Strategies, will decline further in coming years. ADB has now reached a point where it struggles to sustain a critical staff capacity in the health sector. 

  • Aging: A threat to People’s Republic of China’s growth

    By Yolanda Fernandez Lommen on Thursday, 21 February 2013

    Aging can adversely affect economic performance, demanding changes in social and economic policies to address the challenge. While the best-known dimension of aging relates to fiscal sustainability due to spiraling health care and pension costs, the repercussions are wider. More worryingly, aging will ultimately constrain economic growth because labor supply shortages result in lower GDP growth in the absence of increases in total factor productivity.

  • A view of smog, haze in the city’s skyline in People’s Republic of China.

    Pollute first, clean up later: Could we avoid this development model?

    By Aiming Zhou on Thursday, 21 February 2013

    Resource depletion and environmental pollution are serious issues in developing Asia. This was well illustrated in January of this year when northern People’s Republic of China (PRC) suffered its worst air pollution on record. The level of pollution moved many to question the old development model of “pollute first, improve later”. 

  • Photo credit: Abir Abdullah for ADB 2012

    The future we want: A world free of poverty — and inequality

    By Indu Bhushan on Monday, 18 February 2013

    As the discussion around the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework gains momentum, I also want to add my meek voice to the growing buzz, which is likely to reach a crescendo in September this year. The MDGs represent the global vision of reducing poverty in its various dimensions. Needless to say, we need continued attention to all the goals, since we can hardly declare “mission accomplished” in any of the dimensions of poverty they seek to address.

  • Asia needs to invest more in its people

    By Jouko Sarvi on Monday, 18 February 2013

    Developing countries in the region have made good progress in increasing student enrollments and financing for education; however, heightened spending has not effectively translated into improved education outcomes. High dropout rates and low completion rates in education further exacerbate the situation in many countries.  

  • Feeding the millions in Southeast Asia: How thin is thin?

    By Lourdes Adriano on Monday, 18 February 2013

    This is not about how to start the Lunar New Year right with proper weight management. Well, not exactly, as this is about thin trade and why thin is not good especially during excessive upswings and downswings of prices for Asia’s main food staple—rice. 

  • The aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila, Philippines.

    Why Asia’s growing coastal cities must invest in climate resilience

    By Nessim Ahmad on Friday, 15 February 2013

    Manila has the distinction of being one of seven cities globally judged to be at extreme risk from the combined impacts of climate change and climate-related disasters – and only Dhaka in Bangladesh is estimated to be at higher overall risk.

  • Students attending a class at Tupou High School in Nuku'alofa, capital of Tonga. Photo credit: Luis Enrique Ascui 2010

    Help us make development work in the Pacific, your views wanted

    By on Thursday, 14 February 2013

    ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries make up a subregion like no other. On a map many of these tiny specks of nations are barely discernable in the vast Pacific Ocean which connects them. Most are home to less than 100,000 people and each country has their own closely held languages, cultures and traditions. Development has been constrained by limited or unevenly distributed resources and endowments, and environmental fragility. 

  • Post 2015 agenda: For whom is the world changing fast?

    By Susann Roth on Thursday, 14 February 2013

    For the past 6 months, my work spins around the Post 2015 development agenda, the successor of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  It is amazing to follow the numerous tweets, blogs, working papers, which are sprouting out daily and which discuss old and new aspects of the Post 2015 development agenda.

  • Photo Credit: Gerhard Jörén for ADB 2011

    The time is now: Act to stop violence against women

    By Shireen Lateef on Thursday, 14 February 2013

    The region is reeling from the gruesome and brutal rape of a young woman student in Delhi. The horror of the incident and subsequent death of the victim has awakened the global community and generated momentum to fight violence against women. The One Billion Women Rising Campaign is mobilizing men and women to rise up and demand an end to violence on V-Day – 14th February.

  • Photo Credit: Guillaume Brialon

    Make policies work: Getting the proof to the top of the pile

    By Betty Wilkinson on Tuesday, 12 February 2013

    Policymakers are swamped. They have a wide range of interest groups talking to them all the time. They have large numbers of papers and emails and phone calls to deal with every day.  So if you approach them with a brilliant evaluation that is fifty pages long, complete with graphs and tables and lots of Greek equations, it will go straight to the bottom of the stack. And stay there.

  • Photo Credit: Abir Abdullah for ADB 2012.

    Do we know what Inclusive Growth really means?

    By Indu Bhushan on Friday, 08 February 2013

    I must confess that I have been struggling to find a good working definition of inclusive growth for some time, although I believe I understand the concept vaguely. This term is now very widely used in the development policy discourse in Asia and the Pacific. 

  • Beijing’s smog-laden skies obscure the Forbidden City in a thick orange haze. Photo credit: iStockphoto.

    The price of breath in Beijing

    By Lloyd Wright on Friday, 08 February 2013

    If a frog is placed in a boiling caldron, it will immediately jump out to safety.  If the same frog is placed in water, which is slowly heated to boiling, the frog will tranquilly remain and eventually die from overheating.

    This biological anecdote is frequently utilized as a metaphor for our political state of affairs over global climate change.  As the planet slowly heats and succumbs to gradual change we unwittingly accustomize without sensing the dangers that await us.  The lessons from this phenomenon also encompass the state of our cities and the transport sector.