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East Asia and Pacific



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How can we better understand and manage the impacts of droughts

25 Nov 2016 02:27:06 GMT

Semi-arid regions of the world are often thought of as being particularly vulnerable to climate change. They are already climatically stressed with high temperatures, low rainfall and long dry seasons. Semi-arid ecosystems are highly dynamic, with bursts of productivity in the wet season and in good years, and very low productivity in dry years, often leading to temporary or longer-term land degradation.

Traditionally, inhabitants of semi-arid areas managed this variability in natural resource availability though pastoralism or agro-pastoralism. Nowadays, population growth, land-ownership issues, national borders and competition with other land-uses has reduced the opportunities for people to respond in traditional ways to the ecosystem dynamics of these systems, and has resulted in many instances of enhanced vulnerability to climatic variability.

It is clear that drought is already affecting many parts of the system in semi-arid regions, and climate change is likely to make drought events more frequent. Therefore, it is critical to assess the viability of scaling up successful local solutions to this challenge, and to identify new solutions. Importantly, this needs to be done in a participatory manner, with researchers and practitioners working alongside local stakeholders, local government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).




Atolls and climate change: strengthening resilience

18 Nov 2016 10:24:11 GMT

At just a few meters above the waves, the atolls or low-lying coral islands surrounding a lagoon are one of the areas the most exposed to the many consequences of climate change (rising water levels, lagoon erosion, but also ocean acidification and land salinization, changes in rainfall patterns, etc.). Most of these 400 or so coral islands are located in the Pacific: almost 80 in the Tuamotu Archipelago alone, constituting the world’s largest group of such islands, in French Polynesia, while independent English-speaking States,
such as Tuvalu and Kiribati, in Micronesia, are exclusively made up of atolls. Population density remains highly variable from one of these islands to another, but most have been inhabited for centuries. Their populations are among the most resilient in the world, within a natural environment which they have managed to exploit, while respecting it, but which is now threatened. Their past experience is today highly instructive for the future.

The Pacific atolls share common rather than divergent climate change issues in terms of addressing a whole host of risks. Their development model will need to reconcile the resilience of local societies with that of the modern State, with a strategy that is more respectful of the particularly fragile environment of lagoons and coral reefs.

This text is a summary of the analyses of Bambridge, T. and J-P. Latouche (Eds.), 2017, Les atolls du Pacifique face au changement climatique. Une comparaison Kiribati-Tuamotu.




Climate and disaster resilience financing in small island developing states

17 Nov 2016 02:02:57 GMT

Natural disasters and climate change severely affect the growth trajectory of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their ability to achieve sustainable development. SIDS are located in some of the most disaster-prone regions in the world and comprise two-thirds of countries with the highest relative annual losses due to disasters. With the effects of climate change compounding the intensity of these disasters, this trend is set to continue, creating new developmental challenges for SIDS. Natural disasters and climate variability severely impact major economic sectors in SIDS, hinder economic growth and affect the most vulnerable populations. Lacking relatively stable and strong fiscal revenues and domestic savings, SIDS governments often need to divert scarce public resources from essential social and economic development investments to address disaster-related needs, compromising the pace and scope of future growth. Development in SIDS, therefore, is subject to a range of interconnected and mutually reinforcing economic, social and environmental challenges.

This report illustrates the positive steps that SIDS are taking – and in many cases leading – to ensure that climate and disaster resilience is addressed as an integral part of their development. In addition, it shows how concessional financing can positively support resilience actions, for example by helping to establish adequate intitutional and budgetary arrangements. The report points to some financing mechanisms and modalities that providers could make greater use of, particularly by pooling resources in support of programmatic approaches and strengthening country systems.

The report calls for the international community to consider financing for climate and disaster resilience that is appropriate for the challenges that SIDS face, less fragmented, easier to access, predictable and long-term. It essentially calls for a more consistent, comprehensive and coordinated financing architecture that is better tailored to the needs of SIDS. It also calls on SIDS to create enabling policies and institutions to ensure more effective use of funds, and for the sustained effort needed to ensure their development is climate and disaster resilient.




Climate change threatens Hawaiian forest birds

22 Sep 2016 10:23:43 GMT

In Hawai'i, geograpahic isolation has prevented the natural establishment of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and many insect species, such as biting mosquitoes. Isolation has also facilitated the spectacular evolutionary radiation of Hawaiian honeycreepers from a single small flock of North American finches into more than 50 species and subspecies of endemic forest birds.

With the arrival of humans came the clearing of forests and the introduction of non-native species and their diseases. More than 40 mosquito species have been intercepted in Hawai‘i, and six have become established, most recently in 2004.
 
As global warming raises air temperatures, their seasonal high elevation refuge will shrink and eventually disappear. It is likely that the spread of mosquitoes and avian malaria (as well as avian pox) into the high elevations of Hawai'i will eventually lead to the extinct ion of many, perhaps all, of the honeycreepers that currently survive in these areas.
 
Unfortunately, the rate of warming in Hawai‘i may not give these birds enough time to develop resistance. Without human assistance, global warming combined with avian malaria may overwhelm Hawai'i honeycreepers and other forest bird species.



Framework for resilient development in the Pacific: an integrated approach to address climate change and Disaster Risk Management (FRDP) 2017–2030

20 Sep 2016 11:59:47 GMT

Climate change and disaster risks increase the vulnerability of Pacific Island people, and significantly undermine the sustainable development of the Pacific region. Although the level of exposure is similar for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), their vulnerability differs as countries have specific environmental, social and economic challenges that result in limited capacity to reduce vulnerability.

National and subnational governments and administrations, the private sector, civil society organisations, communities, and regional organisations and development partners all have unique and key roles to play in addressing these challenges, individually and in partnership, to build a more resilient future for the Pacific region.

The Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific: An Integrated Approach to Address Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management (FRDP) provides high level strategic guidance to different stakeholder groups on how to enhance resilience to climate change and disasters, in ways that contribute to and are embedded in sustainable development.

Part of the high-level strategic guidance provided through the FRDP is expressed in the form of the non-exhaustive set of €˜priority actions€™, for consideration by the different stakeholder groups. These actions provide guidance only and are to be implemented as relevant to the individual priorities and needs of stakeholders. Some actions may be better implemented at the regional level and some would need to be further articulated at the national level to suit the specific context, priorities and needs of each individual PICTs. The FRDP advocates for the adoption of integrated approaches, whenever possible, for coping with and managing climate change and disaster risks, in order to make more efficient use of resources, to rationalise multiple sources of funding which address similar needs, and for more effective mainstreaming of risks into development planning and budgets.




After Paris: climate finance in the Pacific Islands

08 Sep 2016 10:54:01 GMT

Pacific island countries are working hard to address the escalating realities of climate change, including the impact on land, livelihoods, and on the food and water security of their most vulnerable communities. The need for accessible, predictable, adequate and appropriate financial support to meet the climate crisis is urgent and growing.

Access to climate finance — international funding to support climate action in developing countries — is a matter of global justice: those who have contributed least to the causes of climate change are typically the most vulnerable to its impacts, and have the least resources to respond.

As wealthy industrialised nations, and the largest members of the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia and New Zealand have a particular responsibility to support the needs of their Pacific neighbours. Greater collaboration and collective action among all actors, from the global to the national and local, is necessary to improve access to climate finance.

New research commissioned by Oxfam and resulting in this report, After Paris: Climate finance in the Pacific islands, takes stock of the climate risks facing the Pacific region, and considers these risks in relation to commitments under the Paris Agreement, the complex nature of existing financial flows, current commitments from Australia and New Zealand, and the range of challenges that must be overcome to ensure support reaches those most in need.

Based on interviews with a range of government, civil society and community representatives, this report makes recommendations for urgent action across 11 strategic areas, including:

  • improving access to the Green Climate Fund
  • setting regional priorities
  • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs): converting climate plans into action
  • resetting the balance between adaptation and mitigation funding
  • managing the diversity of funding sources
  • aligning private-sector initiatives, adaptation and local ownership
  • prioritising civil society and community initiatives
  • integrating gender, youth and vulnerability
  • developing new and innovative sources of funding
  • phasing out subsidies for coal and fossil fuels
  • improving reporting, transparency and learning



Large-scale range collapse of Hawaiian forest birds under climate change and the need 21st Century conservation options

31 Aug 2016 11:13:45 GMT

Hawaiian forest birds serve as an ideal group to explore the extent of climate change impacts on at-risk species. Avian malaria constrains many remaining Hawaiian forest bird species to high elevations where temperatures are too cool for malaria's life cycle and its principal mosquito vector. The impact of climate change on Hawaiian forest birds has been a recent focus of Hawaiian conservation biology, and has centered on the links between climate and avian malaria. To elucidate the differential impacts of projected climate shifts on species with known varying niches, disease resistance and tolerance, we use a comprehensive database of species sightings, regional climate projections and ensemble distribu- tion models to project distribution shifts for all Hawaiian forest bird species. We illustrate that, under a likely scenario of continued disease-driven distribution limitation, all 10 species with highly reliable models (mostly narrow-ranged, single-island endemics) are expected to lose > 50% of their range by 2100. Of those, three are expected to lose all range and three others are expected to lose > 90% of their range. Projected range loss was smaller for several of the more widespread species; however improved data and models are necessary to refine future projections. Like other at-risk species, Hawaiian forest birds have specific habi- tat requirements that limit the possibility of range expansion for most species, as projected expansion is frequently in areas where forest habitat is presently not available (such as recent lava flows). Given the large projected range losses for all species, protecting high elevation forest alone is not an adequate long-term strategy for many species under climate change. The authors describe the types of additional conservation actions practitioners will likely need to consider, while providing results to help with such considerations.




Climate change vulnerability - cases from CIRDAP member countries

30 Aug 2016 03:36:33 GMT

Countries of the Asia Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as indicated by the global assessments by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

This monograph focuses on the impact of climate change – one of the key concerns for sustainable rural development. Six insightful articles based on studies in different CIRDAP Member Countries including Bangladesh, Fiji, Iran, Nepal and Thailand. The studies examine the vulnerability of the Asia Pacific region, how climate change is affecting agriculture and livelihood of the people and different adaptation and mitigations initiatives taken to address the challenges posed by climate change.
 
The articles are:
  • Climate Change and Livelihood in Bangladesh: Experiences of People Living in the Coastal Regions
  • Preliminary Study of Climate Change Impact on Rice Production and Export in Thailand
  • Rethinking Concepts of Human Health, Food and Nutrition Security in the Pacific Region in the Era of Climate Change with Focus on the Fiji Islands
  • Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods in a Changing Climate: Understanding Local Adaptations in the Upper Koshi, Nepal
  • A Study to Investigate Sustainable Adaptation to Drought among Nomads in Iran
  • Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Development



The pacific gender & climate change toolkit: tools for practioners

19 Aug 2016 10:32:31 GMT

Gender equality is central to achieving a sustainable and resilient future for Pacific islands.This toolkit is designed to support climate change practitioners working in national governments, non-governmental organisations, regional and international organisations, integrate gender into all aspects of policy, programming and project work.
 
The toolkit is divided into four modules, which can be read in conjunction or used as standalone documents for practitioners seeking guidance on a specific topic. The modules are also supported by checklists and tools (found at the end of the toolkit. The toolkit is comprised of the following modules:
  • Module 1 - this introductory module explains why gender is a critical consideration in climate change programmes, projects and strategies, defines the key approaches and concepts, and clarifies some common misconceptions
  • Module 2 - introduces the different phases of a typical climate change programme/project cycle, identifies potential entry-points for integrating gender perspectives in each phase and also includes a generic gender checklist that may be applied to programmes and projects
  • Module 3 - focuses on the links between gender and climate change in specific sectors and uses sector relevant case studies to demonstrate how gender perspectives can be applied in the identification and assessment of climate change problems and solutions. Key gender indicators are also provided to support monitoring and evaluation
  • Module 4 - this final module examines gender in relation to climate change governance. It discusses how to integrate gender considerations in institutional arrangements, policy coordination and negotiations, and climate change finance



Vulnerability of Pacific Island agriculture and forestry to climate change

18 Aug 2016 12:18:04 GMT

Pacific Island countries and territories already face a range of development challenges due to their specific geographic and socio-economic characteristics, and their generally high exposure to natural hazards. The projected changes to the climate of the Pacific Island region over the coming decades present another challenging dimension that the region will need to grapple with. These changes could compromise the very ability of Pacific communities to meet their economic development needs.

This book identifies a range of potential response measures that could be implemented to significantly reduce exposure to climate related risks and enable the Pacific Community to better cope with emerging impacts. Many of these measures
would contribute to improving agricultural productivity and livelihood resilience with or without climate change, but others would entail additional investment and changes to production systems.



The challenges of climate change: testing climate smart agricultural solutions for improved food security

18 Aug 2016 12:11:07 GMT

Climate change is likely to have far-reaching consequences for agriculture, natural resources and food security, demanding a response that integrates research, development and policy. Because of the disproportionate impact of climate change on the rural poor, priority investments should be directed towards poor agriculture, fish or forest dependent people whose livelihoods are most at risk.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is the Australian Government's specialist agricultural research-for-development agency. Funded through the Australian aid program, ACIAR identifies opportunities and brokers partnerships between Australia and developing countries to undertake international agricultural research and capacity building.

ACIAR's research portfolio covers crops, livestock and fisheries, natural resources and forestry, and economics, policy and social sciences. Projects are designed so that new knowledge and innovative practices underpin development in partner countries and Australian agricultural systems.

ACIAR research partnerships have developed more resilient farming systems in many countries of the Indo Pacific region. Both mitigation and adaptation to climate variability and change are important components of this research for development.

This brief highlights the wide range of ACIAR activities addressing climate variability in the Indo-Pacific region through climate smart practices (CSA).




Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States individual country evaluation report - Tonga

18 Aug 2016 11:54:19 GMT

This is one of nine individual country evaluation summary reports produced as part of the Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States post-project evaluation. The Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA: PSIS) Project is a European Union (EU) funded initiative to assist nine smaller Pacific Island states (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu) to adapt to climate change. The project was implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), with an implementation period from July 2011 through to November 2016.

The overall objective of the project was to support the governments of nine small island states of the Pacific in their efforts to tackle the adverse effects of climate change. The GCCA: PSIS project consisted of on-ground climate change adaptation activities in specific sectors - coastal protection, marine resources, health, agriculture, and freshwater; supported by mainstreaming of climate change into national a nd sectoral policies, plans, budgets and procedures. The project also provided technical assistance, capacity building and supported regional collaboration.




Case study: child centered climate change adaptation (4CA) in the Pacific Islands

18 Aug 2016 11:31:46 GMT



The ‘Child-Centered Climate Change Adaptation (4CA)’ Program supported communities in six Pacific Island Countries to adapt to the risks and challenges of climate change. The program’s focus, unique to the region, fostered the capacity of children and young people in building resilience. Part of awider initiative by Plan International (PIA), an international child rights organization, 4CA aimed to address the urgent threat posed by climate change to children’s survival, development and protection.Between 2011 and 2015, the programwas delivered by a network of civil society organizations working under the umbrella of Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI).

The 4CA program has been highlighted by Equity for Children as one of the few significant initiatives by international child rights organizations to put young people at the centre of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. While most recognize the growing threat of climate change to children’s wellbeing, efforts to create child-sensitive approaches and programs have been limited.

In addition, 4CA’s targeting of the most vulnerable children and communities, and empowering them through information and resources, provides a model grounded in equity and rights.




Global climate change impacts on Pacific Islands terrestrial biodiversity: a review

18 Aug 2016 11:00:54 GMT

The islands of the Pacific region hold three of the 35 global biodiversity hotspots with large numbers of endemic species. Global climate change will exacerbate the challenges faced by the biodiversity of this region . In this review, the authors identify trends in characteristics for 305 terrestrial species threatened by climate change and severe weather according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). We then review the literature on observed and potential impacts of climate change on terrestrial biodive rsity , focusing on the species'€™ characteristics that were identified. High - elevation ecosystems such as cloud montane forests are projected to disappear entirely by the year 2100 , with corresponding global losses of their endemic biodiversity. Sea level ri se threatens restricted range species on small low - lying atolls. Shifts in distribution may be possible for generalist species , but r ange shifts will be difficult for species with small distributions, specialized habitat requirements, slow dispersal rates , and species at high elevations.

Accurate assessments of climate change impacts on biodiversity of the region are difficult because of confusion about nomenclature , the many species unknown to science, the lack of baseline data on species'€™ ecology and distributions, and lack of fine resolution elevation data for very small islands. Furthermore, synergistic interactions of climate change with other threats like habitat loss and invasive species have not been comprehensively assessed. Addressing these knowledge gaps will be difficult for Pacific island nations due to limited financial resources and expertise.




A question of survival: why Australia and New Zealand must heed the Pacific’s calls for stronger action on climate change

18 Aug 2016 10:46:30 GMT

International condemnation of Australia and New Zealand's contributions towards tackling global climate change has come amidst strong efforts by Pacific Island leaders and civil society to catalyse international action and cooperation. Australia and New Zealand are surrounded by some of the most vulnerable countries to climate change on earth. The Australian and New Zealand governments need to fully recognise the dangers facing Pacific Island countries and territories, and work hand-in-hand as a united Pacific towards solutions. As a first step, this report produced for for the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, Port Moresby, September 2015, argues that Australia and New Zealand should join Pacific Island leaders in a strong political statement that clearly communicates the minimum requirements for a new international climate agreement if it is to ensure the survival of all Pacific Island Forum members. More importantly, Australia and New Zealand must increase their climate targets and take action consistent with their status as high-emitting, industrialised countries.

The report calls for Australia and New Zealand to:

  • Substantially increase their current emissions reduction targets
  • provide clarity on how they will meet their international climate finance commitments and help ensure vulnerable communities in the Pacific can access the support they need
  • commit to the robust implementation of the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP) across the region
  • join Pacific Island leaders in a united political statement ahead of the Paris climate conference. This should call for:
  • a strengthening of the global temperature goal to a 1.5°C limit
  • provisions for addressing unavoidable loss and damage caused by climate change
  • adequate long-term financing for climate change adaptation in Pacific Island countries and territories
  • practical solutions for those facing displacement

 




Health impacts of climate change in Pacific Island countries: a regional assessment of vulnerabilities and adaptation priorities

18 Aug 2016 10:16:50 GMT

Between 2010 and 2012, the World Health Organization Division of Pacific Technical Support led a regional climate change and health vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning project, in collaboration with health sector partners, in thi rteen Pacific island countries - Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The objective of the project was to assess the vulnerabilities of Pacific island countries to the health impacts of climate change and plan adaptation strategies to minimize such threats to health. Methods: This assessment involved a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques. The former included descriptive epidemiology, time series analyses, Poisson regression and spatial modeling of climate and climate-sensitive disease data, in the few instances where this was possible; the latter included wide stakeholder consultations, iterative consensus -building and expert opinion. Vulnerabilities were ranked using a '€œlikelihood versus impact'€ matrix, and adaptation strategies prioritized and planned accordingly.

The highest priority climate-sensitive health risks in Pacific island countries include trauma from extreme weather events; heat -related illnesses; compromised safety and security of water and food; vector-borne diseases; zoonoses; respiratory illnesses; psychosocial ill- health; non-communicable diseases; population pressures and health system deficiencies. Adaptation strategies relating to these climate change and health risks can be clustered according to categories common to many countries in the Pacific region.

The paper concludes that Pacific island countries are among the most vulnerable in the world to the health impacts of climate change. This vulnerability is a function of their unique geographic, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, combined with their exposure to changing weather patterns associated with climate change, the health risks entailed, and the limited capacity of the countries to manage and adapt in the face of such risks.




WASH resilience and climate change: Learning Brief from the Pacific Regional Learning Event

18 Aug 2016 04:41:06 GMT

The Pacific Regional Learning Event (PARLE) was a gathering of over 70 participants from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu where CS WASH Fund projects are being implemented by World Vision, WaterAid and Live and Learn Environmental Education. It provided a forum to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of projects through peer-to-peer learning, strengthen relationships between CSOs, local government and other change agents and strengthen the Pacific WASH community of practice. It was held in November 2015 in Fiji.

There is ample evidence that highlights the unique vulnerability of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) to the impacts of climate change with high water tables, rising sea levels and increased likelihood of natural disasters1 – a topic of discussion at the Pacific Regional Learning Event (PARLE).

Given the diverse geographical and environmental conditions, WASH situations, exposure to climate risks and local governance structures across the Pacific region and within counties, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to building WASH resilience in the Pacific. Understanding where WASH sits within the broader water cycle, and adopting integrated water resource management principles to work with communities and other actors to identify vulnerabilities and manage risks, will assist to build WASH resilience. The question of how this is borne out in practical and meaningful ways are the challenges that CSOs are currently
grappling with.

The definition of ‘resilience’, and who defines it, is important; this includes for both community resilience (addressing underlying vulnerabilities), and for the resilience of WASH infrastructure and resources.




Integrating disaster response and climate resilience in social protection programs in the Pacific Island Countries

18 Aug 2016 04:08:42 GMT

The Pacific i sland countries (PICs) are some of the most exposed to frequent natural disasters and climate shocks, and their vulnerability is increasing due to mounting effects of climate change as well as demographic and economic forces. Natural disasters hit the poorest hardest and have long -term consequences for human development. Social protection programs and systems have an important role in helping poor and vulnerable populations cope with the impacts of shocks as well as build long -term resilience. This paper discusses the potential role of social protection for disaster and climate risk reduction and management in PICs . It presents evidence and lessons from other regions, providing examples of tools and entry points for the develo pment of climate - and disaster- respons ive social protection interventions and context-specific recommendations for PICs.

This paper discusses the potential role of social protection for disaster and climate risk reduction and management in the PICs and intends to serve as a primer for World Bank engagement in social protection in the region. The study presents evidence and lessons from other countries and regions with the goal of providing examples of tools and entry points for the development of climate - and disaster - responsive social protection interventions.
 
However, given the Pacific region specific context and the characteristics of each country’s social protection (SP), climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) sector, it is important to keep in mind that some of these lessons will need to be extrapolated to other settings with due caution.



Climate change in Coral Triangle of the Pacific Countries: supporting communities to adapt

18 Aug 2016 03:59:13 GMT

In 2010, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched a regional technical assistance to respond to concerns raised by five Pacific developing member countries that lie within or on the border of the Coral Triangle - €”Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu, collectively called the Coral Triangle of the Pacific (CTP) countries -” regarding management of their coastal and marine resources. The technical assistance, comprising a design (Phase 1) and an operational phase (Phase 2), aimed to help these countries address the urgent threats facing their coastal and marine resources, in line with the objectives of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs Fisheries and Food Security.

This brief provides representatives of national government and regional organizations - €” and other key decision makers in climate change, development, fisheries, agriculture, environment, and natural resource management in CTP and similar countries - €”with policy advice to help rural communities adapt to climate change. The brief also provides donor organizations with information on where to target resources to support fishing and farming communities as they adapt to climate change. Policy interventions and issues to be considered are highlighted.

Key points:

  • climate change challenges poverty reduction and food and water security in the Coral Triangle
  • the project identifies actions to integrate into community efforts for building resilient fishing and farming livelihoods
  • the adaptation assessment promotes community decision making through participatory research activities
  • a set of policy recommendations focuses on strengthening the links of vulnerable communities with the national government
  • policy implementation requires support of nongovernment organizations at the community and national levels

 




The State of Biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

16 Aug 2016 04:26:47 GMT

Global Biodiversity Outlook-4 (GBO-4), the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, provided a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Plan’s global biodiversity goals and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contained limited regional information.

This report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment. This is the second edition of The State of Biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific report and serves as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for the Asia Pacific region.

The report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the CBD, other government reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target by target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been broken down to regional level and some additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken. However, limitations in data have meant that some datasets which do not extend past 2011 have been included to illustrate that relevant information exists, but that further efforts to update this information are needed.

The key messages about the state of biodiversity in the region, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:

  • the exceptional biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific continues to decline
  • combinations of human-induced factors are a key driver of biodiversity loss
  • Asia and the Pacific continue to experience deforestation and forest degradation
  • rapid growth in demand for wildlife products is fuelling unsustainable trade, with impacts inside and outside of the region
  • invasive alien species create particular pressures on the oceanic islands
  • marine ecosystems are vulnerable to growth in commercial and artisanal fisheries
  • te negative impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems are exacerbating the effects of other pressures on Asia and the Pacific’s biodiversity



Emerging climate change adaptation issues in the Asia-Pacific region

12 Aug 2016 11:20:27 GMT

Throughout Asia and the Pacific, consequences of climate change are already impacting nations and communities across many different sectors. Rising sea levels, intensifying winters, prolonged droughts and increased risk of floods are but some of the impacts of climate change in Asia and the Pacific.
 
This report aims to fill a need for the latest thinking on climate change adaptation (CCA) in the Asia-Pacific region. The chapters of this report address aspect of planning climate adaptation projects, seeking and mobilising funds and implementing adaptations APAN sub-region or within climate sensitive sectors. New terminologies and trends in climate change policy and strategy development are described along with the strengths and weaknesses of the institutional frameworks underpinning project implementation.



Information and Knowledge Management for Climate Change (IKM4CC) strategic framework: guidelines for the Pacific region

11 Aug 2016 11:46:47 GMT

The purpose of this document is to guide the development of strategic frameworks for managing data, information and knowledge relevant to sustainable development and the related areas of climate change and disaster risk management. This guidance is for governments, agencies, regional bodies and other organisations in the Pacific region. Summary advice on key information management issues is provided as an Annex.

In addition, these framework guidelines are accompanied by a set of information and knowledge management guidelines that provide greater direction on selected information management topics and practices. Additional resources will be developed over time, based on user priorities and feedback.
 
Key enablers of successful IKM:

An IKM strategic framework should identify all the people, systems and processes within a government or organisation that  enable the successful creation, management and use of information. These typically include:

  • laws - any legal requirements relevant to managing data and information
  • policies and Procedures and Standards - policies,  guidelines and operating procedures for managing data and information according to recognised standards
  • technology - sustainable technology infrastructure and practices to support data and information management.
  • capacity - skills and expertise required to support information and knowledge management
  • funding - sustainable funding to carry out information and knowledge management activities as part of core business



Climate impacts on food security and livelihoods in Asia: a review of existing knowledge

11 Aug 2016 10:04:23 GMT

There is agreement in the scientific community that the global food system will experience unprecedented pressure in the coming decades – demographic changes, urban growth, environmental degradation, increasing disaster risk, food price volatility, and climate change will all affect food security patterns.
 
The Asian continent is particularly vulnerable to climate change due to a combination of: high reliance on climate-sensitive livelihoods, high incidence of poverty and food insecurity, and high population densities in vulnerable and areas highly exposed to climate-related hazards such as floods, cyclones and droughts, and long-term climate change such as gradual changes in monsoon patterns, glacier melt and sea-level rise.
 
The purpose of this primer is to review the current state of knowledge on the relationship between climate change and food security, focusing specifically on the Asian context, to provide an evidence base for discussion and further analysis.



Climate and disaster resilience

08 Aug 2016 04:45:38 GMT

The Pacific region is known to be one of the most exposed to natural hazards and climate change in the world. Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are exposed to a wide variety of natural hazards , including cyclones, droughts, earthquakes, electrical storms, extreme winds, floods, landslides, storm surges, tsunami and volcanic eruptions . Some of these hazards will be exacerbated by climate change. Average ocean and land temperatures are increasing, and the seasonality and duration of rainfall is changing. Over the coming decades, tropical cyclones are expected to increase in intensity, though not necessarily in frequency, and to move closer to the equator . Because of higher ocean temperature and ice sheet melt, sea level is risin g, thereby worsening coastal erosion and saline intrusion and increasing the severity of storm surges. All these impacts adversely affects agriculture, fisheries, coastal zones, water resources, health, and ecosystems and thus threaten entire communities a nd economies. The mere existence of low -lying atoll island nations like Kiribati, Tuvalu and RMI is threatened by sea level rise and storm surges , since they are only 1 -3m above sea level.

This report hightlights that:

  • people and economies in the Pacific are particularly vulnerable to hazard and climate change impacts because of geographical remoteness and isolation, dispersion across a large area in the Pacific Ocean, economic and social challenges and the degradation of natural resources
  • despite a consensus that PICs will be disproportionately impacted by climate change, assessing the future cost of climate-change impacts in the Pacific Region is challenging
  • despite these challenges, it is possible to design resilient development strategies using new decision frameworks

 

 




Southeast Asia and the economics of global climate stabilization

08 Aug 2016 02:58:01 GMT

Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions of the world to climate change. In the absence of climate action, the region will be increasingly exposed to hotter temperatures, more destructive storms, greater flooding in some areas, and more droughts in others. Livelihoods and food security will suffer, especially for the poorest populations, if the challenge of rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is not tackled.
 
This report is an output of an Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance project, “Strengthening Planning Capacity for Low-Carbon Growth in Developing Asia,” cofinanced by the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of Japan.

From 1990 to 2010, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Southeast Asia have grown more rapidly than in any other region of the world. This report analyses the potential role the region can play in climate change mitigation, focusing on the five countries of Southeast Asia that collectively account for 90% of regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions - Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The study applies two global dynamic economy–energy–environment models: the World Induced Technical Change Hybrid (WITCH) model, which focuses on detailed representation of energy sector innovation, and the Intertemporal Computable Equilibrium System (ICES), which focuses on more disaggregated depiction of economic sectors. Within the scenarios, the cost of climate change inaction, changes that achieve mitigation, costs of climate action, co-benefits of mitigation responses, and benefits of avoided climate change are assessed.



Review of laws policies and regulations governing labour migration in asian and arab states.pdf

15 Jun 2016 02:57:34 GMT

This publication is meant to serve as a ready reference on the country-specific legal protections that exist for women migrantworkers in source and destination countries in the programmeme countries of un Women’s Asia & Arab states Regional programmeme on Empowering Women Migrant Workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lao PDR, nepal, Philippines. In addition, destination countries and territories such as Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, uAE, singapore and Thailand were included.

It endeavors to compile existing legal provisions for departing and returning migrants in countries of origin and measures for access to justice for women migrant workers in destination countries.  Evidence  and/or  information  on  the  implementation  status  of  the  existing  laws  were  included as far as current data and information would allow.

It also sought to provide examples of and recommendations for gender sensitive and rights based legal measures that could be adopted to empower women migrant workers to effectively enjoy their rights.

This  publication  was  intended  as  an  aid  to  the  enhancement  of  policy,  programmemes  and  development actions aimed at increasing the protection of women migrant workers; advocating with regional bodies e.g. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Association of  South  East  Asian nations  (ASEAn)  and  Governments  for  appropriate  protective  measures  for  women migrant workers; assisting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Governments in reporting to the un Committee on the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); helping inform migrant civil society, including NGOs/migrant workers associations;  and,  developing  guidelines  for  recruitment  agencies  and  employers  regarding minimum employment standards.




Strengthening public pension systems in Asia: Proceedings of the 2015 ADB—PPI conference on public pension systems

03 Jun 2016 02:24:18 GMT

While Asia remains a key driver of global economic growth, the outlook for the region anticipates slow marginal growth for 2015 before rebounding in 2016 and remaining stronger for the next 2 years. India’s growth and the increased demand from the United States of America (US) will offset slower growth in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
 
Looking at longer-term trends, rapidly ageing Asian populations and socio-cultural changes in the informal, family-based, old-age support mechanisms have created a rising demand for income and support services for the elderly and the poor. Therefore, governments and their populations are rightfully concerned about the long-term sustainability of their social security and fiscal health.
 
Public pension systems must find ways to cope with these pressures while many already struggle with structural challenges such as early retirement ages, diverging replacement rates under different systems, liberal withdrawal policies, and limited coverage. These factors are further exacerbated by restrictive investment mandates, which significantly curtail the ability of many developing pension systems to seek higher returns through a more diversified investment portfolio.
 
These conference proceeding include the following papers:
  • Southeast Asia’s Demographic Challenges: Changes and Liabilities
  • Lessons and Best Practices from Europe, Implications for Asia
  • Pension System Design: A Broad Approach to Best Practice
  • Public Pension Systems in Emerging Asia: Challenges to Fairness and Sustainability, and Reform Efforts
  • Spotlight: Learning from Korea’s National Pension System Reform



Live long and prosper: aging in East Asia and Pacific

03 Jun 2016 01:47:13 GMT

As a region, East Asia and Pacific is ageing rapidly. The region is home to over a third of the global population ages 65 and older—mostly in China—and to more old people than any other region. More significantly, the region is ageing more rapidly than any region in history—a trend driven both by sharp declines in fertility and by steady increases in life expectancy—and in many countries, aging is occurring at relatively low-income level.
 
This report finds that East Asia and Pacific is well positioned to manage the risks from ageing. First, people in the region already have long working lives. Second, entitlements to pensions, health care, and long-term care for most of the population are still modest, and there is scope to act now to put in place systems that can be sustainable in the future. Third, household savings in the region are already high, and people tend to save until later in life, suggesting that they may be better prepared for old age. Finally, people in East Asia and Pacific have in recent decades seen a steady increase in the number of years
lived in good health.
 
The key message of the report is that it will be possible to manage rapid ageing in East Asia and Pacific while sustaining economic dynamism. This effort will require politically difficult policy choices, including dealing with associated fiscal risks. Several complementary policy reforms are required to manage these risks.
 
Pension systems will need reform. Formal sector pension schemes will need to be more fiscally sustainable, which will require reforms such as gradual increases in the retirement age.
 
In the health sector, the impacts of ageing will likely be significant, particularly given the increased incidence of noncommunicable diseases. This trend underscores the urgency to shift from a hospital-centric model to one in which primary care plays a bigger role and in which the treatment of older patients with chronic conditions is managed afford-ably at the right levels of the system.



White paper on China's foreign aid - highlights

29 Apr 2016 11:28:37 GMT

In April 2011, the Information Office of China's State Council released the country's first White Paper on China's Foreign Aid which seeks to outline China's official aid policies, principles and practices. While noting China's position as a developing country, the White Paper states that the country's foreign aid represents part of its efforts to fulfil its international responsibilities, and in particular to “help recipient countries strengthen their self-development capacity, enrich and improve their peoples livelihoods, and promote their economic growth and social progress.

In an April 2011 press conference, Ministry of Commerce Vice-Minister Fu Ziying outlined the following aid priorities for the next 5 years:

  • involving recipient countries more deeply in project design
  • enhancing the quality of foreign aid and projects
  • improving the pertinence and effectiveness of foreign aid
  • joining forces with others in foreign aid
  • increasing the proportion of grant aid (around 40% to date)
  • giving more to heavily indebted countries, LDCs and SIDS (in 2009, 39.7% of China‟s foreign aid went to LDCs); and
  • strengthening international cooperation and exchanges and learning from good practices



Public stockpiling of rice in Asia Pacific

28 Apr 2016 05:38:10 GMT

The public stockpiling of staple grains is one of the earliest strategies used to mitigate food supply instability. After many millennia, it remains an important aspect, if not the cornerstone of many national food policies around the world. In the case of the Asia Pacific region this essentially translates to stockpiling and building up rice reserves.

Several objectives can be met through successful public stockpiling policies. Some of these include:

  • Stability of food supply and physical access to food (during emergencies and/or otherwise)
  • market price stabilisation and assured access to affordable food
  • increased incomes for farmers in agricultural economies so as to incentivise greater production

Most of the benefits of public stockpiling are short-term. They can be extremely useful stop-gap measures in ensuring food economy stability and are thus a useful buffer to have in a government’s arsenal of food security policies. There are however numerous negative (both real and potential) implications to pursuing policies of public stockpiling. These implications are caused by a number of factors. Firstly, there are no set norms or directives on how a public stockpiling program me ought to work, what the optimal levels are or how they are to be calculated. Secondly, stockpiling policies are often used to fulfil multiple objectives and because of this, some objectives may result in activities which conflict with other objectives. These points are explored in greater detail in the main text of the report.




The AIIB and investment in action on climate change

14 Apr 2016 03:55:24 GMT

This working paper from the ODI suggests Asian countries are emerging as leaders in clean energy with new business models that meet the needs of poor people within poor countries. Countries in the region are also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A focus on low emission paths to sustainable development represents an investment in a future with major long-term commercial benefits for many members of the AIIB.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a new actor in international development finance led by developing countries to scale up investment in infrastructure. It has an opportunity to establish a new approach to infrastructure investment that prioritises renewable energy, climate resilience and sustainable development. The report proposes concludes that AIIB’s investments can help expand markets for renewable energy, and change the narrative around the emphasis of China’s overseas investments as one focused on clean sustainable development, rather than resource extraction.

 

 




Transformations for sustainable development: promoting environmental sustainability in Asia and the Pacific

07 Apr 2016 09:56:14 GMT

Asia and the Pacific is a dynamic region. Regional megatrends, such as urbanization, economic and trade integration and rising incomes and changing consumption patterns, are transforming its societies and economies while multiplying the environmental challenges.

These environmental challenges range from growing greenhouse gas emissions, poor air quality, land use change, pressure on marine ecosystems, biodiversity loss and increasing demand for resources, such as energy and water. These megatrends are already shaping the future patterns of resource use and defining who benefits the most and who loses. A basic premise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is that trade-offs between environmental protection, shared prosperity and social progress can no longer be viewed as acceptable.

Aligning these trends with sustainable development requires political will and action to reshape the relationships between the economy, society and the environment. This report examines four critical determinants of the relationships between these three dimensions of sustainable development as targets for fundamental transformations—in social justice, resource efficiency, investment flows and economic structures.




World trade and development report: mega regionals, WTO and new issues

31 Mar 2016 09:55:18 GMT

With the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, the efforts for trade liberalisation and strengthening of multilateral trading arrangement have come to a full circle. What started in 1995 with graduation from GATT to WTO has come to a point where several challenges for multilateralism are clearly discernible. As a result, it is not surprising that the usual excitement for WTO ministerial meeting is missing this time. The demand to close the Doha Development Round has triggered a deep sense of pessimism across low income and other developing countries. They have also been left outside the Mega-Regionals groupings, which have emerged in all parts of the world. Therefore, lowering of ambition at WTO is a direct outcome of these arrangements.

Signing of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an unprecedented development in the annals of the economic history of the world. Along with TPP another three mega regionals, viz. TTIP, RCEP and FTAAP, have made significant headway in their negotiations, and are likely to be formed in the coming years. These four regional groupings are distinct from those of other existing regional grouping in terms of their content, scope and impact on the global economy. There is discussion about another four mega regionals namely, EU-ASEAN, EU-Japan, China-Japan-Korea FTA and Pacific Alliance, which have got similar features to be treated as mega regionals. UN (2015) has treated Trade in Services (TISA) and Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) as mega regionals which can have a major hold over the global economic activities in the recent years.

Mega regionals have significant command over several important economic activities in the world economy. Their contributions are felt in several frontiers of economic activities including GDP, FDI, Foreign Exchange Reserves, Saving Ratios, Gross Fixed Capital Formation, etc. among others. In several mega regionals, simultaneous presence of members from developed and emerging countries are seen, stressing on different dimensions of their economic engagement. In many such cases, developed countries have shown their strong base in several macro-economic activities but lacking growth whereas emerging countries have shown their surging growth in these activities.

 




Sentinel Asia: A space-based disaster management support system in the Asia-Pacific region.

23 Mar 2016 09:35:25 GMT

The Sentinel Asia initiative was established in 2005, as a collaboration between regional space agencies and disaster management agencies, applying remote sensing and Web-GIS technologies to assist disaster management in the Asia-Pacific region. To date multiple national agencies of about 25 countries in the region have joined and benefited from the disaster support services provided by Sentinel Asia. This paper presents the vision and stepwise approach of establishment and continuous improvement of this regional program, as well as lessons learned throughout its implementation for 7 years from 2006 through 2012.




Study on the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Pacific Ocean

21 Mar 2016 12:05:30 GMT

Climate change poses a great challenge for the health and productivity of the oceans.

At its fourteenth session, the Permanent Forum appointed Valmaine Toki, a member of the Permanent Forum, to conduct a study on the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Pacific Ocean, taking into account issues of governance, the effects of climate change, deep sea mining, resources and sustainable development (see E/2015/43, par.44).

The outcome of the study and the recommendations related thereto are set out in the report, which is hereby submitted to the Permanent Forum at its fifteenth session.




From Insult to Inclusion: Asia-Pacific report on school bullying, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

21 Mar 2016 11:00:43 GMT

This report presents a comprehensive regional review focusing specifically on the issue of bullying, violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (SOGIE). The report details the extent of the problem in Asia-Pacific, the impact of this type of abuse, and the measures governments are taking and could take to address it.

The report draws on more than 500 published and unpublished documents, peer-reviewed literature and media reports from around 40 countries in Asia-Pacific, as well as direct input from dozens of key stakeholders in the region and feedback from a regional consultation involving more than 100 people from 13 countries hosted by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in June of 2015.

The report finds that the majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) youth in Asia-Pacific say they have been subjected to some form of violence or bullying in school – in some countries as many as four out of five LGBTI learners are affected. The impact of this abuse on learners is devastating, with some country studies cited in the report showing that one in three LGBTI learners report depression, while up to seven in 10 report harming themselves and nearly five in 10 say they have attempted suicide. Recommendations are made to advance action in this area by the education sector and other partners in core areas of: policy and laws; curriculum and learning materials; teacher training and support; and support for learners.




Tropical cyclone signals: part 2

18 Mar 2016 10:51:31 GMT

The term tropical cyclone is called hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean, cyclone over the Indian Ocean and typhoon over the Pacific Ocean which includes the Philippines. However it is known, though, what matters is knowing an incoming tropical cyclone's intensity and possible extent of damage plus, of course, its pattern of frequency and season, and the path of potential destruction. These are discussed in this part 2 of the two-part Economic Issue of the Day on tropical cyclones.




Tropical cyclone signals: bracing for the wind - part 1

18 Mar 2016 10:46:47 GMT

The term tropical cyclone is called hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean, cyclone over the Indian Ocean and typhoon over the Pacific Ocean which includes the Philippines. However it is known, though, what matters is knowing an incoming tropical cyclone's intensity and possible extent of damage plus, of course, its pattern of frequency and season, and the path of potential destruction. These are discussed in this part 1 of the two-part Economic Issue of the Day on tropical cyclone.




Knowing when El Niño/La Niña is here

18 Mar 2016 09:55:58 GMT

When can the country`s meteorological agency announce that an El Nino or a La Nina event is occurring or will take place? How does it identify the elements that define such events? This Economic Issue of the Day explains some of these.




Social protection in Asia: research findings and policy lessons

18 Mar 2016 09:38:18 GMT

This is a synthesis report from the Social Protection in Asia (SPA) policy-research and network- building programme, 2007-2010, funded by the Ford Foundation and IDRC. It presents research findings and draws out policy lessons from the 11 research projects, with three key elements: tracking the politics that leads governments to invest in social protection agendas; showing social protection to be not purely a state activity or a civil society activity, but drawing on the strengths of both; and presenting our conscious efforts to study ourselves as researchers within research to policy pathways.




The East Asian Crisis and Philippine Sustainable Development

18 Mar 2016 02:56:02 GMT

Asia is not only the most polluted and environmentally degraded region in the world, but it also houses the most number of poor households. Hence, the magnitude of the financial and economic crisis can be expected to have an impact in the region’s sustainable development prospects, the nature and the period of which are likely to be determined by the state of the country’s environment and social development. In particular, the paper looks into the impact of East Asian crisis into the Philippine economy at the time when the country itself has the El Nino to deal with. It also highlights the implications of the crisis and the El Nino on various policy and institutional challenges in the areas of water resources, upland and coastal areas and the urban environment.




Liberalizing trade of environmental goods and services: how to address the free-rider problem

17 Mar 2016 03:41:58 GMT

Reducing trade barriers in environmental goods and services (EGS) makes adoption of environmental technologies cost effective for different industries. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) contribution to foster trade in EGS is to put forward its own list of 54 environmental goods (EGs) slated for sectoral liberalization. This Policy Note explores how APEC can liberalize trade in EGs based on the most-favored-nation (MFN) principle. Liberalization of these EGs on an MFN basis, however, generates free-rider problems. Using the predominant supplier approach could address free riding and provide the stimulus needed to foster free trade in EGS. The results show that APEC has a dominant supplier role in renewable energy and clean technology production. These are followed by waste water management and potable water treatment, management of solid and hazardous waste and recycling systems, and natural risk management.




Prospects of stronger economic cooperation between the ASEAN and India: implications for the Philippines

17 Mar 2016 03:36:42 GMT

This Policy Note explores the prospects and opportunities of a dynamic ASEAN-Indian trade and investment relation. Specifically, it analyzes the greater economic relation between India and the Philippines in the services sector, particularly in information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO). The ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreement presents an opportunity to expand economic cooperation where ASEAN and India can capitalize on each other's strengths and natural endowments to take advantage of possible synergies in trade and services. Both India and the Philippines can use the agreement to exploit greater synergies in their respective IT-BPO services where they have developed world-class capabilities. India can tap the Philippines as an IT hub as it tries to expand toward the IT-BPO services chains. Together, both countries can provide IT and related services to the ASEAN region, which are critical services to enhance connectivity under the ASEAN Economic Community. To do this, one of the recommendations is to harmonize the taxation of IT-BPO and related services in both countries to reduce tax disparities and cost of doing business.




Will the Philippines benefit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership?

17 Mar 2016 02:52:14 GMT

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade area among the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN (i.e., Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam) and six non-ASEAN countries in Asia and Oceania (i.e., Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and India). The economies covered in the RCEP have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 21 trillion in 2013, and a population of 3.4 billion.

This Policy Note examines the potential effects of the reduction in RCEP tariffs and nontariff barriers on the Philippine economy using mathematical modeling.




Improving the readiness of A&F industries to the ASEAN integration

17 Mar 2016 02:33:40 GMT

This Policy Note presents the results of interviews with private stakeholders in the agriculture and fisheries sector to get their perception of the sector's readiness to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Their overriding message is for the government to provide stronger and more effective support to local producers to better prepare them for the AEC. High degree of preparedness of agro-based value chains is necessary to translate market opportunities into new sources of incomes for the country's agricultural and fisheries producers. One of the recommendations is to establish industry road maps with stakeholders to ascertain market opportunities and the needed resources to realize them.




Evidence and gaps in evidence on the principle political economy constraints and opportunities to successful investment in clean energy in Asia

15 Mar 2016 02:31:52 GMT

This rapid desk based study is commissioned by DFID. DFID is interested to identify evidence of factors that are deterring investment in renewable energy (RE) in most developing countries in Asia. In our understanding, DFID proposes to use this evidence, along with information on the opportunities and risks in this sector, to commission more indepth studies in the future. These different studies will support the scoping of the potential establishment of one or more investment platforms through which DFID could deploy investment capital in order to catalyse private investment in south and central Asia. It’s been proposed that the platform(s) should focus on clean energy, inclusive agribusiness and financial services.

This rapid study has been conducted based on the review of existing literature and related databases. As mandated, the study adopts a political economy assessment framework. Asia is the general focus. However, examples, wherever applicable, have been drawn only from a selected set of Asian nations. China and India have generally not been considered in this study. It is found that although most countries in developing Asia have RE potentials and plans for mainstreaming renewables in their energy systems, they have mostly under performed with regard to attracting investments and capacity build up in the RE sector. Given the existing scenario, these




State of competition in the insurance industry: selected Asian countries

15 Mar 2016 01:29:33 GMT

The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the danger of firms’ heavy reliance on bank financing and led to the conclusion that Asian countries should develop capital markets as alternative sources of financing. Given the dominance of commercial banking in Asia, the recommendation is that banks should also be encouraged to foster corporate bond market development and pursue a complementary role. The insurance industry can also help foster the development of capital markets.

This paper is a preliminary review of the state of competition in the insurance industry of selected Asian countries. In particular, it explores how competition has been affected by the market structure and the regulatory regime in the insurance industries of the ASEAN5 economies – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. It has four main sections. Section II surveys the market structure and overall performance of the insurance industry in the ASEAN5 economies. The third section then looks at the regulatory framework, including the major financial sector reforms that have been undertaken and the factors driving these reforms. In particular, it shows how the regulatory framework in itself can be an important determinant of the structure and performance of the industry, particularly public policy towards entry and the critical role of the industry regulator. Finally, what competition policy implies for the industry is discussed in the fourth section.




Financial and Monetary Cooperation in ASEAN

15 Mar 2016 01:14:16 GMT

One result of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis was greater awareness of the need for closer financial and monetary cooperation. This paper makes an inventory of the institutional developments in this area in East Asia, with emphasis on Southeast Asia.

The major issues that must resolve include:

  • whether the participation should be limited to ASEAN or expanded to include the whole East Asia region
  • the sequencing of activities; and
  • the institutions that must be consolidated or established to carry out these activities

Since financial and monetary integration remain a distant goal, efforts must focus on monetary and financial cooperation—particularly the latter, mainly in terms of harmonization of standards—that will facilitate greater trade and investment integration and enhance financial stability in the region.




Economic integration and regional cooperation in East Asia: a pragmatic view

14 Mar 2016 09:56:35 GMT

Intraregional trade and investment among the ASEAN+3 countries—and the entire East Asia—has been progressing at a robust pace over the past 25 years. The process of economic integration could be aptly described as “regionalization” or market-driven integration. In contrast, the European Union has followed ‘regionalism’ which refers to formal economic cooperation and economic arrangements.

Over the past decade, efforts at promoting closer regionalism in East Asia have been stepped up for various reasons, including: i) a response to the experience and lessons of the 1997 financial crisis; ii) the gridlock in the Doha round, success of NAFTA, and expansion of the EU; and iii) the mitigation of political factors that prevented closer cooperation in the past, e.g. competition between China and Japan. However, the structure of East Asia regionalism should be analyzed carefully, in particular because the direct economic benefits of an East Asia FTA are questionable. Therefore, the configuration of the proposed East Asian Community must be developed pragmatically. It is argued that at this stage the EAFTA and EAC should still be promoted but with the view that their benefits are primarily political. The political windfall will likely lead to significant economic benefits, particularly in terms of narrowing the development gap in the region and advancing common interests in a global-rules setting.

The political and institutional imperatives of establishing the EAFTA or EAC at this stage depend largely on whether countries of the region seek to expand economic ties or whether they would want to secure the political gains from closer integration and cooperation.




East Asian cooperation: the ASEAN View

14 Mar 2016 03:59:45 GMT

From its modest beginning of providing a regional framework in which disputes could be dealt with peacefully and without resort to force, ASEAN continues to evolve into a major influence for greater regional cohesion not only for Southeast Asia but also for the entire East.

This paper discusses the ASEAN + 3 integration in the context of the literature on hub-and-spoke regionalism. It argues that, provided proper rules of origin are incorporated, the different bilateral arrangements between ASEAN countries and each of the three East Asian economies are building blocs towards an East Asian FTA.

It argues that the bilateral arrangements skirt the slow decision process which marks the ‘ASEAN way’ and create some sort of ‘coalition of the willing’ that can, eventually, set the pace of integration for the rest of East Asia. Because of the region’s so-called leadership vacuum, the paper also underscores the important role of ASEAN in bringing any discussion on East Asian integration on the table.