In March 2013, the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will convene to appoint the new General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi Jinping as President. At the same time, Li Keqiang is expected to be confirmed as Premier heading a newly appointed State Council.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The famous poet Rumi once said, “Your true country is not where you are but where you are going.“ He wanted us to think about the afterlife because what we believe affects our action. But even Rumi could only guess and theorize what lies on the other side. Like the future the afterlife is unknowable.
Two weeks ago I attended the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLPEP) meeting in Bali, which I had anticipated for many weeks. Working on the Asia and the Pacific perspectives of the post 2015 development agenda, the Bali meeting was one of the highlights where I expected to gain more insights into the HLPEP work and the thinking behind it.
Arrived in Delhi and was struck by two things. The gleaming Indira Gandhi International Airport with its world class facilities and Greater Noida, the fast growing urban and industrial center about an hour’s drive by expressway from Delhi where our Annual Meeting is being held. Both are impressive signs of the country’s rapid modernization.
The Annual Meeting is off to a lively start with standing room only as civil society participants meet ADB senior Management, journalists turn up unannounced demanding entry to the opening day press confrence, why youth can't get jobs and short skirts are deemed unacceptable.
It was the host country’s chance to enjoy the limelight with ‘India Day’ taking center stage as an array of eminent speakers provided insights into a country which holds some of the world’s richest tycoons, and half of Asia’s poorest citizens.