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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.