The UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched its 2016 Human Development Report for the Asia-Pacific region, outlining actions by which countries with different demographic profiles can work towards sustainable development.
28 April 2016: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched its 2016 Human Development Report for the Asia-Pacific region, outlining actions by which countries with different demographic profiles can work towards sustainable development.
The report, titled ‘Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development,’ highlights that 68% of people in the region are of working age, with fewer dependents now than at any time in history, resulting in a hot-air-balloon-shaped demographic chart. The report emphasizes this ratio as a potential springboard for growth. Like a hot air balloon, it says, the region has the potential to “take off” economically to a more prosperous future. The report notes that the ability to “navigate in the right direction” will depend both on on clear, well-informed policy choices, as well as the ability to adjust to changing needs. Governments must be able to “read the wind,” so as to respond to impending challenges as well as opportunities.
Within the region, the demographic profile and related recommendations vary widely from one country to another. For countries with a large working-age population, the authors call for creating decent jobs for the growing workforce, ensuring women’s equal participation in the workforce, and encouraging the use of savings as investments within the region. For countries with young populations, they recommend investing in education and healthcare, smoothing the transition from school to work, including opportunities for apprenticeships and supplementary training for workplace readiness, and encouraging youth participation in public life. In countries with older populations, they recommend designing fair, sustainable pension systems, supporting “active aging,” and promoting appreciation for the value of older citizens, including ensuring that older people who wish to work have that opportunity. These are among the “9 Actions for Sustainable Development” offered in the report.
Launching the report, Haoliang Xu, UNDP, warned that economic growth in the region could begin to slow by 2050, as the current population of working age begins to retire, and that adequate preparation is needed to increase productivity, invest in growth and save for the future. He noted the potential of South-South cooperation within the region to share experiences on long-term fiscal planning, including the sustainable use of tax revenue. He said UNDP can facilitate partnerships and offer expertise related to youth, aging, migration, social protection, climate change and disaster risk management, among many other issues. [Publication: Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development] [UN Press Release] [UNDP Press Release] [Infographic: 9 Actions for Sustainable Development]