Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

KE Seetha Ram, Senior Consulting Specialist for Capacity Building and Training Projects


KE Seetha Ram

Joined Asian Development Bank Institute as a senior consulting specialist for capacity building and training projects in June 2017.

He is concurrently visiting professor at the Center for Spatial Information Science, University of Tokyo, Japan, and special advisor to East Japan Railways Company (JR East) for India High Speed Rail. He is co-chair of the special interest group on high-speed rail in the World Conference on Transport Society. He is an associate editor of Water Policy, the official journal of the World Water Council. Between 2013-2017, Seetha acted as the focal point for ADB-wide knowledge management, working to spur innovative solutions to the varied development challenges in Asia. From 2008 and 2012, Seetha was on secondment to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, as ADB visiting professor and founding director of the Institute of Water Policy and NUS-Global Asia Institute. Prior to joining ADB he worked as an expert in Japan on project finding, formulation, management, and technology transfer in about 30 official development assistance projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation in more than 10 Asian and African countries. Seetha has published numerous books, contributed to edited volumes, and refereed papers on water-related issues, including sanitation, water management, and climate change.

Well-functioning wastewater management systems contribute to water security by improving resilience and welfare, but many countries are falling short of their wastewater management targets.

In the post-pandemic era, the need for a timely rebound in infrastructure development is more urgent than ever.

Water scarcity is a global issue that affects 40% of the world’s population

A lack of legal advice during a project’s procurement process can result in unclear contractual terms that undermine the project and lead to costly and lengthy dispute resolution processes.

Land value capture methods can fill budget gaps in infrastructure projects while promoting sustainable transit-oriented development.

Governments in developing Asia should adopt practical interventions to maximize the effectiveness of new and existing sources of funding for water and sanitation.

The private sector can play a vital role in solving the sanitation challenge. The following four aspects highlight the importance of private sector participation in sanitation in developing countries, including in Asia.

An examination of the published journal articles on development economics reveals a striking pattern—very few are devoted to the analysis of sanitation interventions and development.

Over a billion people across Asia and the Pacific still lack access to basic sanitation services (JMP 2019). Most low- and middle-income countries in Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia still do not have safely managed sanitation services.

All the sanitation improvement projects and investments over the years beg the question of whether we have seen a significant increase in school enrollment and gender parity in education or not.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has registered 959,116 deaths worldwide as of 21 September 2020. While the number is alarming, it is still not large compared with the 5.2 million children who died due to various causes in 2019, according to UNICEF.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has highlighted the importance of the civil service but has also, ironically, hindered its reform activities. Civil service personnel will have to work with government leaders to find the right balance between addressing public health and economic concerns and implementing policies for mitigating the effects of the pandemic.

Medical experts and institutions tell us that a critical but simple lifesaving action to reduce vulnerability to COVID-19 is literally in our own hands—regular handwashing with soap. Public awareness efforts underscore the need for greater behavioral compliance.

The landscape of Misato City in Japan has changed drastically in the last 35 years. In the 1980s, Shin-Misato Station was the Mushashino marshalling yard for freight services. Most of the land near the station was used for agriculture, but once residential houses increased and more people came to settle in the area the government built a passenger train station.

In India, the project to build the country’s first 500-kilometer high-speed railway (HSR) from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is underway. For comparison, all top 10 economies in the world except the United States have constructed several HSR lines in the past 30 years.

As we are increasingly relying on technical innovations to solve some of society’s most complex problems, technological advancements such as artificial intelligence are contributing to new, modern modes of transportation, especially to enhancing safety.

“Over-the-top” (OTT) service providers are referred to as so because they allegedly ride exclusively on top of the infrastructure laid by telecommunications service providers.

Many large infrastructure projects underline the complex relationship between physical structures and human resources. Such infrastructure projects would not be effective without proper operation and maintenance, and economic activities would be unsustainable without efficient infrastructure.

Since its inception in Japan in 1964, high-speed rail (HSR), and its impact on the economy, has received attention from policymakers worldwide.

The “out of sight, out of mind” attitude is proving to be critical for the slow progress toward target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on global, safely managed sanitation.

The Smart Cities Mission, launched by the Government of India, aims to transform the urban governance ecosystem, especially urban local bodies (ULBs). It is hoped that the mission will help attract innovation, expertise, and financial resources for the holistic development of the ever-expanding urban areas.

In October 2018, the world will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the seminal Declaration of Alma-Ata where the aspiration of “health care for all” was boldly declared. The realities have sadly fallen far short of the rhetoric—half the world lacks access to essential health services and 100 million people fall into financial catastrophe due to medical bills.

Reports from the United Nations estimate that India will add 404 million persons to its urban areas between 2014 and 2050 (UN DESA 2014) and that it will have seven cities with a population of more than 10 million by 2030 (UN DESA 2016).

The City Development Initiative for Asia, the Asian Development Bank, other multilateral agencies, and national governments are funding sewerage systems for medium and large cities throughout Asia.

ADBI Senior Consulting Specialist for Capacity Building and Training Projects KE Seetha Ram explains his work to promote quality infrastructure growth and sanitation access in developing Asia Pacific economies.

The novel coronavirus continues to test health systems and economies worldwide. In this podcast, ADBI’s KE Seetha Ram discusses barriers to a simple life saving action to reduce exposure to COVID-19 – handwashing – and how efforts to further strengthen sanitation management can help communities in developing Asia and the Pacific thrive again.

The novel coronavirus is affecting transportation connectivity worldwide. In this podcast, ADBI’s KE Seetha Ram and Shreyas Bharule, co-editors of the new Handbook on High-Speed Rail and Quality of Life, discuss the sector’s development prospects and socioeconomic effects in the fast-changing and uncertain environment.