Feeding the world is becoming an increasingly complex task. Providing all our daily bread—or rice—requires grappling with intense competition for natural resources, producing more from less land and dealing with changing dietary habits. But meeting food needs is not just about quantity. Quality is also important. Along with daily minimum calorie requirements, people also need vital micronutrients from their meals. High levels of micronutrient deficiencies, a phenomenon we call “hidden hunger” remains pervasive, particularly in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Where are Asia’s economies headed to in the short and long term? What shape are they in to withstand future financial crises? And how can they respond to the yawning rich-poor divide, now a key concern among Asian and global policymakers? These were some of the key points discussed over the first two days of business at our 47th Annual Meeting, held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to bring a stronger focus on longer-term durability of development gains as opposed to the current approach which sees decision-making targeted at the shorter term. At present, businesses main focus is annual balance sheets; for development organizations it is annual results reporting; and for democracies there's cyclical elections.
There is no universal strategy for pursuing a triple bottom line of high, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth, but better governance is an imperative.
Floods in India and Pakistan, typhoons in the Philippines and the recent earthquake in Nepal have reminded city leaders of the urgent need to safeguard the lives of their people, protect costly infrastructure, and ensure services and businesses can continue after disaster strikes.
Asia and the Pacific is not where it needs to be to meet the Sustainable Development Goals but there remains a decade to make up for lost time.
Innovative, new methods are needed to estimate poverty due to the high costs and long time frame of traditional methods.
Four elements of the poverty reduction strategy of the People’s Republic of China stand out as examples for others to follow.
Asia and the Pacific accounts for half of the estimated economic cost of disasters over the past 20 years.
Without the right policies and programs, Asia’s poorest people could suffer needlessly as economies bounce back after the pandemic.