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Op-eds and Opinion

ADB management and subject experts share knowledge, views, and insights on development issues in op-ed articles and opinion pieces published in international and regional publications.

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  • Turn on a major international television channel these days and one can't but help to notice the catchy "Remarkable Indonesia" investment promotion advertisements. During three days on a working visit to Indonesia — walking in rural villages and meeting local residents, witnessing the bustle in Jakarta, talking with government, private sector and civil society representatives — I've come to appreciate that Indonesia is indeed a remarkable nation on the move.
  • China has introduced its first national plan on groundwater pollution control, which is an important step to tackle water scarcity in the country. With about 20 percent of the world's population but only about 7 percent of global freshwater resources, China has been feeling the impact of water scarcity on its economic development and its people's livelihoods in many areas. China draws groundwater heavily, a large proportion of which is used to irrigate more than 40 percent of the country's farmlands.
  • In a world beset by climate change, even local weather has global implications. Thailand's historically heavy monsoon this year – swamping several northern provinces and threatening low-lying Bangkok – fits into a troubling list of recent weather events around the world, with grave implications for what lies ahead.
  • Catastrophic flooding and crop losses in Thailand, the world's leading rice exporter, are raising concerns that another food crisis may be in the offing. Also disquieting is that the world may have already entered a new era of persistently high food prices. At a time when policymakers are grappling with a host of thorny economic issues, the possibility may be unwelcome, but must not be ignored.
  • The world economy is a worry once again. Sluggish recovery in advanced economies has been aggravated by Europe's sovereign debt problems and budgetary discord in the United States. Close ties with these markets affect Asia's exports. Yet, despite this, Asia's economy continues to thrive.
  • There is an unfinished agenda across Asia and the Pacific: to provide the basics to which every person is entitled. Australia, which has been an important partner contribution to Asia's growth and has in turn benefited from its trade and investment links with Asia, has a real stake in seeing this agenda through to completion.
  • Nervous sell-offs in Asia's equity markets in response to debt problems in the United States and euro zone underscore the region's growing links to financial events on the other side of the world. But with increased integration comes the increased threat of contagion. It is therefore not only in Asia's interest to promote global financial stability -- increasingly, its economic fate depends on it.
  • A recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) study on drought management in China says the country has a stunningly agile disaster response system but not a corresponding system of risk reduction and management. In other words, China does not prepare for climate-related disasters; it only reacts to them. This year, the government has been tackling two prolonged dry spells and the ongoing floods that have caused havoc in central and eastern parts of the country. The second spell of drought in the Yangtze River basin was followed by devastating floods.
  • An Asia producing over half of global GDP? Three billion Asians considered part of the "rich world" by 2050? A dream ... or plausible reality? It could happen if the region's economy keeps growing at its current rate and if new Asian generations grab the baton and run with it. That baton, however, could be a very slippery one. There are several daunting multigenerational challenges and risks that must be overcome along the way.
  • Global payments imbalances are back in the spotlight. As the global financial crisis recedes, international policy debates are again focusing on the large and persistent U.S. current account deficit and China's huge surplus. It has been the cause of heated overnight debates at G-20 summits in Washington, Toronto and Seoul—and mostly likely will again in Cannes in November this year. Some point to the imbalance as the culprit behind the crisis.

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