Asia-Pacific Human Development Report

Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics can power Human Development
 

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#RHDR2016 | UNDP: Fastest Population Shift in History Means Make or Break for Asia-Pacific

Long-term planning now can bring unprecedented growth and tackle poverty, conflict and migration

26 April, 2016 - Demographic change in Asia and the Pacific is happening at a rate the world has never seen. An explosion in the working age population and a fall in birth rates that took a century in Europe are happening here in just 30 years.

If countries do not start planning for this demographic change, they will miss out on a unique opportunity to boost growth and investments for the future, says the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its latest Regional Human Development Report. They also risk a surge in youth frustration, exacerbating instability and conflict.

The report, entitled “Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development”, notes that Asia-Pacific countries now have more working-aged people and fewer dependents than at any point in history, providing a springboard for growth. Region-wide, 68 percent of people are of working age and only 32 percent are dependents.

“When countries have a greater share of people who can work, save and pay taxes, they have the potential to transform their economies and power investments in healthcare, education and other building blocks of future prosperity,” said Thangavel Palanivel, lead author of the report.

The report calls for immediate responses and outlines “9 Actions for Sustainable Development”. These are concrete policies tailored to the demographic profile of individual countries.

For states with a large working-aged population, UNDP is calling for the creation of decent jobs to match the growing workforce, equal employment for women, and ways to turn savings into investments inside the region.“Growth, employment and migration in the west are inextricably linked to what happens in the east,” said Haoliang Xu. “The sun rises here, but its effects are soon felt on the other side of the world.”

There is no one solution for every country, but the region’s diversity provides room for south-south cooperation. Governments need to share experiences on long-term fiscal planning, including the sustainable use of tax revenue. Cooperation can also encourage safe migration from younger to older countries within the region and reduce the desperate flight of migrants to Europe.

“With 50 years of expertise and offices in 24 countries in Asia-Pacific, UNDP is ideally placed to help implement the ‘9 Actions for Sustainable Development’,” said Haoliang Xu. “We can facilitate partnerships combining domestic, international, public and private funding and expertise on youth, ageing, migration, social protection, climate change and disaster risk management, governance, urbanization and technology transfer. Click here to read the Japanese version

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#RHDR2016 | 9 Actions for Sustainable Development in Asia-Pacific

We believe that people are the wealth of nations and Asia-Pacific is home to more than half of all people – more than half of the world’s wealth. To make the most of this potential we need to think in decades, not years, and create policies suited to the demographic makeup of each country. On 26th of April we will release a new report on how demography can power human development. This report will detail 9 Actions for Sustainable Development, a set of policy recommendations for countries to make the best use of their greatest resources – their people. We look forward to supporting you in creating better future for all!

In the early Transition

In the Middle of Transition

In advance Transition

Haoliang Xu

UNDP RBAP Director Haoliang Xu on the RHDR2016
Haoliang Xu is an Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme.

Nicholas Rosellini

BLOG | How do you unlock the immense potential of youth?
This region is home to about 670 million youth. But about 220 million of them -- of which a disproportionately large share are female -- are missing. They are neither studying nor working, and youth unemployment rates are on the rise.

#RHDR2016 | Human Development Experts

Haoliang Xu
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific
UNDP New York
 

Bishwa Nath Tiwari 
Programme Specialist 
Bangkok Regional Hub
 

Nicholas Rosellini
Deputy Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific and Director of UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub
 

Scott Standley
Economic Specialist for Asia and the Pacific 
Bangkok Regional Hub

Thangavel Palanivel
Lead Author, Chief Economist
Senior Strategic Advisor
Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific
UNDP New York

Tasneem Mirza
Strategic Specialist 
Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific
UNDP New York

Human Development

Human development – or the human development approach - is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. It is an approach that is focused on people and their opportunities and choices. 

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