- MDGs and Post-2015
- Inclusive Growth
- Inequalities and Social Policies
- Sustainable Development
As the Asia-Pacific region continues to rapidly urbanize, many of the region’s development challenges – job creation and poverty reduction, governance and access to services, and environmental sustainability – will be increasingly focused in its cities. The region’s urban centres hold the key to a sustainable and inclusive future, with the dual challenge of supporting the urban poor and responding to climate change. While climate change presents numerous shortcomings in the urban context, impacts are expected to hit those living in poverty the hardest.
Asia-Pacific accounts for two-thirds of the world’s working poor. Employment is concentrated in the informal sector with a high proportion of the people dependent on ‘vulnerable employment’ making up the ‘so called’ working poor. Lack of policies and interventions aimed at addressing issues of skills development, small and medium enterprises technology and access to social services, including finance will trap these populations in a perpetual cycle of vulnerability. Demographic shift linked ‘youth bulge’ is likely to swell the ranks of youth unemployment unless growth patterns are deliberately made more inclusive.
Gender inequality remains a persistent challenge in the region. Women face a number of multiple challenges, including discrimination and exclusion, access to employment, violence and security. They bear competing burdens of work and family responsibilities. External shocks such as food, fuel, and financial crises affect women disproportionately. It is imperative to have gender-responsive macroeconomic policies to ensure a more inclusive growth
With only a few years towards the 2015 deadline, UNDP has been supporting countries in their effort to accelerate progress towards achieving off-track MDG goals. While work on the MDG agenda continues, UNDP has engaged in discussions on the post-2015 agenda and is contributing to make the process of developing the MDG successor framework a participatory and inclusive one, by supporting national, sub-regional and global consultations.
Asia-Pacific countries have made tremendous strides towards the achievement of MDGs. Between 1990 and 2009, the proportion of people in Asia Pacific living on less than $1.25 dollar-a-day declined from 50 to 22 percent. At the same time, no country in the region will achieve all the MDGs, while some countries will achieve none of the MDGs. This points to the wide variation in performance across countries. Even within high performing countries, there exist significant disparities across geographical regions and across social groups.
In the Asia-Pacific region, persistent social and economic disparities—compounded by the new challenges of rapid urbanization, climate change and the financial, oil and food crises—have demonstrated the urgent need for well developed social protection mechanisms as a means of ensuring the basic needs of the vulnerable populations.
Using non-renewable natural resources presents an enormous opportunity for countries in Asia and the Pacific to support economic growth to finance social programmes that advance human development, yet poor management of extractive industries can undermine the sustainability of growth, and lead to an increase in poverty, conflicts and environmental degradation. Given these complexities, how can economic and social development needs be balanced with the need to sustain natural resources?
Despite exhibiting a strong economic recovery from the fallout of the global economic crisis, as well as aggregate progress toward the achievement of some MDG indicators, the Asia-Pacific region still faces glaring shortfalls in the areas of hunger, primary education, child and maternal health and basic sanitation. Progress has been coupled with an alarming increase in inequalities and persistent economic and social vulnerability; resultantly, the region is now home to more than 900 million or two-thirds of the world’s poor.
UNDP supported the government in developing the MAF with particular focus on MDG 7c (sanitation), collaborating with agencies including UNICEF and WHO, Oxfam and others. The MAF exercise provided an opportunity for broad-based UN collaboration at the country level.
The MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) action plan, which was developed in 2012 with the support of UNDP APRC Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction team, has been accepted by the Cabinet Cluster on Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR). The recommendations of the action plan will be adopted by the government and line agencies that have been identified to play an important role in reducing maternal deaths.
Indonesia is planning the launch and implementation of the MAF Report and action plan to reduce maternal mortality at the sub-regional level, sometime in August 2013, jointly with Bappennas. The MAF process and report have been supported throughout 2012 by UNDP APRC Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction Team.
The briefs bring forward some of the critical issues from ten municipal government representatives from the region discussed at a joint workshop on ‘Climate Change and Pro-Poor Urban Governance’ in October 2012. Building on the discussion at the workshop, the issue brief series aims to (i) highlight the key linkages between the issues of climate change and inclusive and sustainable urbanization; (ii) provide references for policy makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders with the view to facilitate ongoing discussion on how to develop climate change response strategies that are pro-poor and inclusive; and (iii) encourage the exchange of knowledge and experiences within the Asia-Pacific region.
The urbanization process in the Asia-Pacific region is proceeding at unprecedented speed and scale.
IDS Policy Briefing 39, July 2013, Keetie Roelen and Stephen Devereux