Asia Archive

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Capacity Building for Cooperation in in North-East Asia

GIZ Programme Support for Economic Cooperation in Sub-Regional Initiatives in Asia GIZ SCSI facilitates two Trainings for GTI in Beijing and Ulaanbaatar From September 22-23, SCSI hosted a training in Beijing to enhance the communication capacity for the Secretariat of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI). Participants that attended the workshop included GTI Secretariat staff, as well as representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Russian Federation’s Trade Mission. As successful regional economic cooperation within the Greater Tumen Region depends on effective communication between national focal points and the GTI Secretariat, SCSI invited trainer Karsten Weitzenegger to mentor the workshop and to present participants with a broad range of communication tools. After assessing the challenges of communications among the GTI Secretariat, the National Coordinators and other stakeholders, the participants actively engaged in elaborating new concepts to take effective measures towards building communication capacity. From September 26-27, a training on […]

GIZ Programme Support for Economic Cooperation in Sub-Regional Initiatives in Asia

GIZ SCSI facilitates two Trainings for GTI in Beijing and Ulaanbaatar

From September 22-23, SCSI hosted a training in Beijing to enhance the communication capacity for the Secretariat of the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI). Participants that attended the workshop included GTI Secretariat staff, as well as representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Russian Federation’s Trade Mission. As successful regional economic cooperation within the Greater Tumen Region depends on effective communication between national focal points and the GTI Secretariat, SCSI invited trainer Karsten Weitzenegger to mentor the workshop and to present participants with a broad range of communication tools. After assessing the challenges of communications among the GTI Secretariat, the National Coordinators and other stakeholders, the participants actively engaged in elaborating new concepts to take effective measures towards building communication capacity.

From September 26-27, a training on proposal writing for Mongolian GTI Focal Points followed in Ulaanbaatar. Based on the positive feedback from a similar training last year this event brought together participants from many of the ministries and government agencies involved in GTI cooperation such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Development Bank of Mongolia as well as representatives of provincial governments. Through sessions on proposal writing as such and input on the particularities of guidelines and regulations of proposing projects within the GTI framework provided by officer Mr. Batkhuyag Baldangombo from the GTI Secretariat, the training provided the opportunity for the participants to exchange information about Mongolia’s engagement in the GTI framework.

More on GIZ SCSI Programme

Sub-Regional Initiatives play an increasingly important role in Asia’s regional economic cooperation and integration. They help countries to overcome the limitations of domestic markets and foster inclusive development, both by boosting economic growth and by providing the resources for appropriate policies. The GIZ SCSI Programme supports regional stakeholders with the aim to strengthen selected core processes of regional economic cooperation and integration and to contribute to a sustainable and inclusive economic development in the region. More: www.giz.de

Source: GIZ Connect Asia Newsletter

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Strengthening the Quality Infrastructure in Sri Lanka

PTB appraisal mission to Sri Lanka

Background

Within the framework of its international technical cooperation, funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German National Metrology Institute “PTB” (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt) is preparing a new bilateral cooperation with Sri Lanka in the field of Quality Infrastructure (QI).

Objectives

In view of the mission results which indicate a high dependency on quality infrastructure with a relatively limited access of small and medium sized enterprises (SME) to these services, especially in the provinces, PTB has been commissioned to investigate possibilities for a new bilateral project. Therefore, the mission’s objectives are to refine the project concept and its intervention areas, to investigate the demand for QI services, the cooperation between QI institutes and its provision in the North and Northeast and to gather further inputs and suggestions for cooperation.

Mission team

The mission team will consist of Mr Karsten Weitzenegger, Dr Ulrike Lechner, both consultants to PTB, and Mr Daniel Böhme, project coordinator at PTB’s Department for Technical Cooperation. The mission team thanks all stakeholders for its availability in advance and looks forward to fruitful meetings

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DCED Global Seminar on Results Measurement 24-26 March 2014, Bangkok

Following popular demand, the The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development DCED is organising the second Global Seminar on results measurement in the field of private sector development (PSD), 24-26 March 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Seminar is being organised in cooperation with the ILO and with financial support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). It will have a similar format to the DCED Global Seminar in 2012, which was attended by 100 participants from 54 different organisations, field programmes and governments.

You are invited to join the Seminar as a participant. Download the registration form here, and send to Admin@Enterprise-Development.org. There is a fee of $600 for those accepted for participation, and all participants must pay their own travel, accommodation and insurance costs. Early registration is advised. More: http://www.enterprise-development.org/page/seminar2014

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Top Concerns in Asia’s Unfinished Development Agenda for the Post-MDG Era

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Asia and the Pacific face a daunting unfinished development agenda when the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) expire in 2015. The focus in this fast growing region should be on the glaring gaps in its MDG achievements: eradicating extreme poverty and making better progress on human development, especially reducing infant deaths and improving maternal health.

Confronting the environmental degradation caused by the region’s rapid economic growth presents another critical challenge for the post-MDG era.

A global debate is already under way on the best way to tackle the challenges of a post-2015 development agenda. To contribute to this discussion, Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has just released a study ADB’s Support for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The report assesses the region’s progress and ADB’s contribution. The study also seeks to answer a question that will be crucial for a new agenda: does setting goals make a difference to development results?

Adoption of the MDGs, which the United Nations announced in 2001, by governments in Asia and the Pacific offered great promise for focusing attention on the poor and accelerating socioeconomic development. Among the eight MDGs are targets to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty, attain universal primary education, and promote environmental sustainability.

Asia and the Pacific performed very well on reducing income poverty, which fell from 55% in the early 1990s to 24% by the late 2000s, a historically unprecedented global achievement. Even so, the region continues to account for two-thirds of the world’s poor, vast numbers of them concentrated in South Asia. Rising inequality across the region is hampering progress in reducing poverty.

“Despite the past record of high economic growth, a sharp reduction in poverty remains a top development priority beyond 2015,” says Independent Evaluation’s Director General Vinod Thomas. “The findings of this study, coupled with other evaluative evidence, indicate that continuing the same pattern of growth will not be enough to stem rising inequality nor reverse environmental degradation in time—problems that in turn threaten sustained economic growth.”

Wealth gaps between rich and poor have widened in about half the region’s economies, home to some 80 percent of its population. Furthermore, Asia’s inequality, like the rest of the world’s, is not limited to income poverty, as much of the region also suffers from large disparities in the provision of basic services. The quality of economic growth is essential.

“The human cost of neglecting the quality of growth in this successfully expanding region is large, as shown by the high incidence of malnutrition and stunting among children in India, the health consequences of chronic air pollution in the People’s Republic of China, and the grim death toll in the recent collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh,” says Thomas.

Considerable gaps remain in the state of human development in the region, indicating that a positive link between economic growth and human development is not automatic. For example, the number of underweight children aged below 5 only declined modestly over two decades, from 35% in the early 1990s to 25% by the late 2000s.

The link between rapid economic growth and the environment is complex, with slow progress and even regression on some environmental targets in many countries. Linda Arthur, the study’s principal author, says: “Several environmental indicators are unlikely to meet their 2015 cut-off values, notably for CO2 emissions, forest cover protection, and improved sanitation.”

Did setting goals make a difference to development results beyond historically expected trends? Country case studies for India, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, and Papua New Guinea show that some of these countries adjusted policies and budgets because of the MDGs, leading to better performance on several indicators. Importantly, many development institutions redirected their financial support to MDGs.

But goal setting ran into problems because of the limited resources and capacity in many countries to implement the MDGs. Poor data collection and data quality meant that many countries were unable to adequately track their MDG progress. This renders planning for further support to reach the MDGs by 2015 difficult and planning for the post-2015 agenda even more so.

“The data issue must be addressed when considering new targets for the post-2015 period,” says Arthur, “but the evidence on balance supports the positive effects of goal setting.”

Some $32 billion of ADB’s total sovereign financing between 2002 and 2011, the period covered by the study, was for direct MDG support. Projects and programs aimed at reducing income poverty and promoting environmental sustainability comprised the major share of that portfolio, while MDG support for human development was less prominent. The study found that interventions directly supporting the MDGs were notably more successful than ADB’s overall historical average.

Looking at ADB’s potential contribution to a post-2015 development agenda, the study suggests that a focus on countries and goals whose development progress falls furthest below a minimum standard is warranted. The best way forward for Asia and the Pacific will be a balanced pursuit of poverty reduction, human development, and environmental sustainability.

To download the evaluation study, visit: http://www.adb.org/documents/thematic-evaluation-study-adb-s-support-achieving-millennium-development-goals?ref=site/evaluation/resources and click on the PDF. Table 6: Millennium Development Goals Progress Tracking on page 33 of the study shows the progress of all countries in Asia and the Pacific in achieving their MDGs.
Source: Asian Development Bank’s Independent Evaluation.

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Asia is more integrated, but future cooperation will be a complex task

Asia Integration MonitorMANILA, PHILIPPINES – Asia has become increasingly integrated over the past decade, led by growing trade and tourism and, most recently, as the region faced down the global financial crisis and subsequent eurozone crisis, according to a new integration index published in the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) latest Asian Economic Integration Monitor (http://www.adb.org/publications/asian-economic-integration-monitor-march-2013).

“Going forward, greater integration will be harder won as the remaining areas of cooperation are more complex,” said Lei Lei Song, Principal Economist in ADB’s Office of Regional Economic Integration. “Asia needs to avoid complacency and continue to work together in this post-crisis period.”

The report warns that the struggles of the eurozone and the fear of the contagion that accompanies greater integration could give Asia’s policymakers pause as they assess the way forward for their region.

The index, which monitors foreign direct investment, capital markets, output correlations, trade, and tourism across Asia, shows the level of integration rising from a base level of 100.00 in 2001 to a peak of 233.27 in 2010, when the region was collectively bracing itself against the eurozone crises. Preliminary data for 2011 shows the level of integration tapering off slightly to 192.22, still much higher than in 2007 when the global financial crisis was just beginning.

The biannual Asian Economic Integration Monitor notes that in addition to growing intraregional trade and tourism, capital markets have also become tighter knit. During the crises, cooperation stepped up a notch: ASEAN+3 countries acted in concert to expand the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, their regional financial safety net; India offered to finance a South Asian equivalent; and several countries expanded bilateral currency swap arrangements.

However, financial integration and labor mobility have lagged. There is a huge need for more national and cross-border infrastructure. And even on trade, there is much work to be done to deepen integration.

Tariffs have come down but other barriers to trade, such as border administration, are significantly constraining greater integration. Intraregional trade in services also faces many impediments. The impact of regional trade blocs such as the upcoming Trans Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is still unclear. They could compete or they may provide the building blocks for a global trade agreement.

The report’s theme chapter points to the need to unravel the profusion of overlapping free trade agreements. As of January 2013, Asia had 109 free trade agreements, up from only 36 in 2002, with another 148 in various stages of development. This plethora of agreements is both complex and costly for exporters to navigate and Asia should work to multilateralize the agreements to make the best bilateral agreements applicable to other trade partners.

More multilateralized agreements like the ASEAN Free Trade Area, which involves a growing number of countries in and outside of Asia, would increase global trade, and thus income gains, in the absence of a global trade deal, the report says.

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Developing Asia Faces New Era of Moderate Growth | ADB Report

3 October 2012 | HONG KONG, CHINA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is significantly scaling back 2012 and 2013 growth forecasts for developing Asia, saying that after years of rapid growth, the region must brace for a prolonged period of moderate expansion amidst an ongoing slump in global demand.


Watch ADB’s Chief Economist Changyong Rhee discuss the highlights of the report.

“Developing Asia must adapt to a moderate growth environment, and countries will need to do more to reduce their reliance on exports, rebalance their sources of growth, and increase their productivity and efficiency,” said Changyong Rhee, ADB’s Chief Economist. “These measures are critical if the region is to continue lifting its people out of poverty.”

In its Asian Development Outlook 2012 Update, released today, ADB projects the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth dropping to 6.1% in 2012, and 6.7% in 2013, down significantly from 7.2% in 2011. The deceleration of the region’s two giants – the People’s Republic of China and India – in tandem with the global slowdown, is tempering earlier optimism.

The report notes that the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the euro area and looming fiscal cliff in the US could have disastrous spillovers to the rest of the world, particularly developing Asia.
View infographic in higher resolution.

The projected slowdown is likely to ease price pressures, however, with inflation falling from 5.9% in 2011 to 4.2% for both 2012 and 2013, assuming there are no spikes in international food and fuel prices.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is forecast to grow 7.7% this year and 8.1% in 2013, a dramatic drop from the 9.3% posted in 2011. The slowdown in the PRC is having a knock-on effect elsewhere in East Asia, with diminished demand for intraregional exports. Weak demand from industrialized countries is impacting East Asia’s exports, and growth in the subregion are now forecast at 6.5% in 2012, with an uptick to 7.1% in 2013.

For India, GDP growth will slow to 5.6% in 2012, down from 6.5% in 2011. The downward revision in India’s prospects, due in significant part to weak investment demand, is expected to slow South Asia‘s growth to 5.6% and 6.4% for 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Growth in Southeast Asia is expected to quicken to just over 5% in 2012, mainly due to Thailand’s recovery from severe flooding in 2011. Higher levels of government spending have contributed to growth in Malaysia and the Philippines, while investment and private consumption in the subregion are generally buoyant with inflationary pressures abating.

Economic activity in Central Asia is moderating as oil prices stabilize and external demand cools. GDP growth is now projected at 5.7% in 2012 and is expected to edge up to 6.0% in 2013.

The growth forecast remains unchanged for the Pacific region at 6% for 2012, where the resilience of larger Pacific countries, such as Papua New Guinea, is masking the weakening of some smaller economies.

If an extreme shock were to materialize, most economies in the region have room to use fiscal and monetary tools to respond. However, there is currently no region-wide need to pursue aggressive demand management. Rather, efforts should focus on the medium-term issue of continued soft external demand.

Developing a vibrant service sector in the region can supplement growth.

Asian Development Outlook and Asian Development Outlook Update are ADB’s flagship economic reports analyzing economic conditions and prospects in Asia and the Pacific, and are issued in April and October, respectively. See http://www.adb.org/news/developing-asia-faces-new-era-moderate-growth-adb-report

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adbresultsmatter.org | Results-focused Project Design and Management” (RfPDM) training

The site “Results-focused Project Design and Management” (RfPDM) is a platform where facilitation and development cooperation meet. While we cater primarily to the former and future participants of The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Training of Facilitators’ (TOF) and other alumni of our Results-focused Project Design and Management (RfPDM) workshops, our doors are open to development practitioners, trainers, facilitators, development executives, donors, consultants, contractors and project managers. This will insure broader sharing of experiences, perspectives and tools among colleagues and peers. http://adbresultsmatter.org

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Asia must promote employment, support those without decent jobs, ADB says

Creating the conditions for good jobs and, more importantly, social protection programs for those unable to find decent work is an urgent priority for governments in Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss told a conference in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. Speaking at the conclusion of a three-day conference titled ”The Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific,” Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said that the recent global economic downturn has cut demand for the exports on which the region’s economies depend, forcing job cuts in many of the industries that send their goods overseas and slashing the incomes of thousands of people in the region. Many may struggle to find alternative employment. ”Before the crisis – in the context of high growth rates – only about half of the region’s young labor entrants could find decent jobs, while the rest had to sustain themselves and their families through the informal sector,” said Ms. Schaefer-Preuss. ”The need for social protection strategies to address the post-crisis labor market becomes more urgent with the prospect that growth rates may not reach the levels of just a few years ago.” The conference, organized by the ADB, together with the governments of Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China, the ASEAN Secretariat and nine development partners, saw over 350 representatives from ADB, regional governments, civil society, intergovernment organizations and academe discuss the social impact of the global crisis and the need for social policy reforms. http://www.adb.org/Media/Articles/2009/13020-asian-employments-priorities/

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Asia’s Progress on Millennium Development Goals Remains Mixed

Asia and Pacific countries continue to make broad progress in reducing extreme poverty but hunger still remains widespread and many economies are struggling to meet other Millennium Development Goals, including reductions in maternal mortality rates and access to sanitation, latest available data show. Source: ADB http://www.adb.org/article.asp?id=12968

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Weitzenegger’s International Development Job Market

Looking for a job in development cooperation? This Website gives you a list of professional opportunities around the world. Updated as you arrive. I am still working on updates, so come back soon.
http://www.weitzenegger.de/new/jobmarket.php