Any contemporary story on development in Asia-Pacific begins with reflection on massive gains achieved in the fight against poverty. The incidence of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 54.5% in 1990 to 20.7% in 2010, with the number of extreme poor declining from 1.48 billion to 733 million. This precipitous decline in poverty incidence has been accompanied by tremendous gains in access to health and education.
The continued urban boom across Asia and the Pacific offers a host of exciting new opportunities for the region but it also presents huge challenges― not least in the critical field of health.
Women are the majority users of public transport. This may be because they are less likely to drive a car than men, or less likely to have priority use of a family vehicle. They are also more likely than men to be poor, making the ownership, re-fuelling and maintenance of a motor vehicle less of an option, especially for women in many developing countries. We can add this to the pervasive gender stereotypes in some countries dictating whether it is culturally appropriate for women to drive a car, take a bus, or even travel at all, especially on their own.
The Millennium Development Goals, which end in 2015, are a remarkable set of agreed global aspirations, with the world community committing to eradicate extreme poverty for the first time in history.
A new report by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Moving from Risk to Resilience: Sustainable Urban Development in the Pacific, argues that efforts to improve urban management in the Pacific can improve both the quality of life in the region’s cities and towns and, at the same time, build greater resilience to natural hazards and climate change-induced events.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, recently warned that “in far too many countries the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people”. It’s hard to believe that this observation applies to Asia, though, where growth has been so successful at lifting millions of people out of poverty. Surely, more growth must be the answer?
Starting 22 February, Asian Development Bank (ADB) is holding its second No Impact Week challenge for individuals to cut their carbon footprint, following the success of the pilot event in January 2013.
Recently IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde noted: “In too many countries, the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people”. She was making the point that high levels of inequality are a global concern.
Radhika Coomaraswamy, a human rights lawyer and former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, once said: “Traffickers fish in the stream of migration." What does this mean?
There is a seemingly hidden problem for Asia in providing economic, social and emotional security for the elderly. But drawing on the experiences of more developed economies, I think there is a silver lining behind this – an opportunity if actions are taken now to provide care and to give dignity to the elderly in Asia.