There has certainly been progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted in 1995 – but we still have a long way to go.
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.
“Inclusive growth” and “green growth” are two buzzwords that we often hear in the development sphere nowadays. This is not surprising since these two form key part of many development strategies. While Asia has done extremely well in expanding its economies in the last two to three decades, rapid growth has brought with it rising inequality—within and across countries. It has also badly damaged the environment along the way.