In Asia and the Pacific, the impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous due to the high concentration of people, economic activities and resource consumption. Coronavirus threatens economic, social and medical well-being of millions and we must act now to protect Asia's most vulnerable Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, the UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP’s Executive Secretary wrote in the Nikkei Asian Review on the 2nd of April.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that natural disasters can be an impediment to realizing the development goals. Earthquakes, landslides, floods, and droughts have detrimental impacts on overall country macroeconomic factors and further disproportionately affect the poor and marginalized groups. Therefore, it is imperative to develop multi-hazard assessments that address and map both physical and social vulnerabilities.
Asia and the Pacific has been going through a fundamental transformation induced by digital technology and connectivity. The region has been a driving force of such digital transformation - be it artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, cloud computing or blockchain.
Despite rapid technological advancements reported in some of the member countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), rural schools in developing countries are left largely unconnected and under-resourced. The slow progress poses two challenges.
Infrastructure underpins core economic activity and is an essential foundation for achieving inclusive and sustainable economic and social growth as it enhances access to services, education and work opportunities. Yet the world in which we live is fundamentally unequal. It is designed, built and maintained without considering the needs of all members of our society, including the most vulnerable. Gender-blind infrastructure often empowers men but impedes women and girls’ ability to contribute equally in society.