In new development report, UN spotlights ‘string of successes’ in Asia-Pacific region


26 January 2015 – The United Nations main development programme spotlighted today its string of successes in 36 countries and territories in the Asia and Pacific region in the areas of poverty reduction, conservation of natural resources, democratic governance, and crisis resilience.

Launched by the UN Development Program (UNDP), the Asia-Pacific Regional Report Achieving Development Results in Asia and the Pacific highlights the accomplishments of programmes implemented in 2013 and 2014.

“The report documents the achievements of UNDP’s $2 billion delivery in the region during the past two years, focusing on key priority areas: innovative solutions to persistent development challenges and scaling up those solutions for greater impact,” UNDP Administrator’s Helen Clark said in a statement today.

Innovative solutions go hand-in-hand with efforts to strengthen local level partnerships, UNDP says. An example of that is the Programme’s work with Baidu, China’s largest internet service provider, to develop a mobile application to encourage responsible recycling of electronic waste.

“UNDP will strengthen partnerships and ensure that we are fit for purpose to continue achieving high quality results in the region,” said Haoliang Xu, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

With its programmes, UNDP also assisted people in strengthening livelihoods. From the help of governments and development partners, more than five million people now have access to social protection in the region, half of them women. Additionally, UNDP supported three million urban poor women and men in Bangladesh to gain financial security through loan schemes.

This is critical because economic empowerment is closely linked to the creation of community housing development funds and the various models of land tenure security, ensuring people are secure and can invest in their homes, UNDP said.

On crisis resilience, UNDP supported debris removal efforts, helped to restore social service centres and rebuild infrastructure following Typhoon Haiyan, the biggest natural disaster to hit the region in the two years. Since then, UNDP has been working with local and national authorities to improve early warning systems. The Philippines Government’s impressive preparatory action meant that the death toll from Typhoon Hagupit was just 18 as opposed to the 6,000 casualties after Haiyan.

In the area of strengthening democratic governance, UNDP provided electoral assistance which led to 16.7 million new registered voters across the region. In Bhutan, where it can take up to a week for parliamentarians to visit voters in remote areas, constituents can now interact with their parliamentarians virtually. And in the Maldives, selected community members are testing a new scheme to use mobile phones or log on to a website to report problems with public service delivery.

“It’s a new way for citizens to communicate with policy makers. According to a global survey responsive government is a key priority for more than three million people in the region as the post-2015 development agenda is being formulated,” said Nicholas Rosellini, the Director of UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub.