“10 Solutions to Help Meet the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific.”
This is a story of people and countries already on the way towards realizing the promises of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Progress has of course not come without challenges: a widening divide between the wealthiest and poorest people, consumption and production patterns that threaten people and the environment, and the world’s greatest vulnerability to natural disasters. This publication shows how transformation can work. The stories on the following pages have all yielded lasting, far-reaching results, and accelerated early progress on multiple SDGs.
“Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa.”
This paper summarizes evidence on six perceptions associated with cash transfer programming, using eight rigorous evaluations conducted on large-scale government unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Transfer Project. Specifically, we investigate if transfers: 1) induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco; 2) are fully consumed (rather than invested); 3) create dependency (reduce participation in productive activities); 4) increase fertility; 5) lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation), and 6) are fiscally unsustainable. We present evidence refuting each claim, leading to the conclusion that these perceptions – insofar as they are utilized in policy debates – undercut potential improvements in well-being and livelihood strengthening among the poor, which these programs can bring about in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. We conclude by underscoring outstanding research gaps and policy implications for the continued expansion of unconditional cash transfers in the region and beyond.
“Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017.”
The developing economies of the Asian and Pacific region currently account for about a third of the world’s output. But, a number of challenges and risks have become apparent. The benefits of economic expansion have accrued relatively less to the poor. Additionally, expansion of decent jobs continues to remain a challenge, and the region currently is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of social protection financing and coverage. Moreover, economic growth has come at a steep environmental cost. In the Survey for 2017, a proactive fiscal policy is advocated that could help address these challenges through productive investments in such areas as infrastructure, social protection and resource efficiency. The importance of effective governance is also highlighted as it affects fiscal management.
“Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme – Annual Report 2016.”
Since the Syrian war began about 250,000 refugees have crossed into Iraq. The conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has also forced 3.3 million Iraqis to leave their homes. Nearly a third of the Iraqi population needs humanitarian aid. This 2016 annual report details the work, goals and achievements of the ICRRP (Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme) , which has a five strand approach and focuses its work on a) improved crisis response, b) improved basic services, c) improved livelihoods, d) protection of the vulnerable groups, and e) social cohesion.
“Data for Children Strategic Framework.”
Effective use of data can help us not just track results for children, but also shape those results with better insights about what’s working, what’s not, which children are thriving and which are being left behind. The framework begins with UNICEF’s approach to data work: laying out the necessity of a demand-driven model that maintains an appropriate balance between demand for, supply and use of data. It also provides an outline of the changes that UNICEF needs to make in the coming years. The document concludes with key issues that UNICEF country offices should consider in plotting their own data investments in the coming years.
“At the root of exodus: Food security, conflict and international migration.”
International migration reached a total of 244 million individuals in 2015 alone. Forced displacement has also reached a record high, with 65.3 million individuals displaced worldwide by the end of 2015. The study found out that countries with the highest level of food insecurity, coupled with armed conflict, have the highest outward migration of refugees. The report estimates that refugee outflows per 1000 population increase by 0.4 percent for each additional year of conflict, and increase by 1.9 percent for each percentage increase of food insecurity. Food insecurity was also shown as a significant determinant of the incidence and intensity of armed conflict.
“Asia-Pacific countries with special needs development report 2017.”
Thirty-six economies in the Asia-Pacific region are least developed countries, landlocked developing countries or Small Island developing States. This report highlights the importance of infrastructure in achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development, and analyses the scale of infrastructure deficits and associated financing requirements in these countries. It focuses on four sectors of physical infrastructure that are particularly important to development: transport; energy; information and communications technology (ICT) and water supply and sanitation, as infrastructure development in these sectors has direct implications for economic activities, social development and environmental sustainability.
“Employer-migrant worker relationships in the Middle East: Exploring scope for internal labour market mobility and fair migration.”
This paper offers a way of analyzing the employer-migrant worker relationship under the kafala sponsorship system. It argues that reforming the sponsorship systems in a way which disassociates a worker’s immigration status from their employer’s control, and enables a migrant worker to resign or terminate his/ her employment contract by giving reasonable notice and without losing valid immigration status, can have significant economic, social and administrative benefits. The paper also presents a series of suggested evidence-based policy measures for reform of current sponsorship systems, which may enhance internal labour market mobility and promote fair migration.
“Counting pennies: A review of official development assistance to end violence against children.”
Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, peaceful, nurturing and enabling environment. But this is not the case for millions of children across the world that experience violence every day. Violence against children costs up to US$7 trillion a year. This report estimates that in 2015, US$238 million was spent on projects that fully address violence against children. The main recommendation from this study is for individual donors to systematically track spending to end violence against children as a separate category.
“IOM Middle East and North Africa Regional Strategy 2017–2020.”
In its 2017‒2020 Strategy for MENA, IOM follows the principles and objectives of the Migration Governance Framework, which was endorsed by IOM Member States in 2015.3 The present document also outlines sub-regional priorities for North Africa, the Mashreq and the Gulf countries. Lastly, the strategy specifies crosscutting issues and institutional principles that IOM adheres to throughout its work to maximize organizational effectiveness.
“Understanding masculinities: Results from The International Men and Gender Equality Survey.”
How are men of all ages, and younger men compared to older men, reacting to the gradual but significant improvement in the position of women and girls in the region? The study examines men’s – and women’s – attitudes and practices related to a range of key issues, including support for gender equality, support for women’s rights policies, household decision-making, use of various forms of gender-based violence in the Middle East and North Africa.
Publisher: UN Women
“The impact of disasters on agriculture: Addressing the information gap.”
In developing countries, agriculture absorbs 23 percent of the total damage and losses. In between 2005 and 2014, approximately USD 93 billion was lost in crop and livestock production due to natural hazards and disasters in developing countries. This affects food security and causes additional disruptions throughout the value chains. A thorough analysis of existing trends in agricultural production and related distortions in production volumes and patterns due to disasters is a key starting point. The report also highlighted the need for deeper analysis, more thorough data and the construction of a coherent information system.