Area code (UN M.49)
Date of publication
July 2012
Geographical focus

As countries develop, the demand for
water increases while water supply becomes less certain and
is often not enough to meet demand. In general, pressures
from both environment and human activities can increase the
likelihood of water scarcity. Such pressures include
increased socio-economic development and population growth,
change in people's diets, competition for available
water among different user sectors and growing climate
variability. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the
existing demand and supply stresses, particularly when more
frequent and extreme droughts and floods, as well as rising
sea level are becoming more evident. In temperate,
sub-temperate regions, less rainfall and longer dry seasons
are expected. In tropical areas, rainfall is predicted to be
similar or greater in terms of annual average volumes, more
intense and severe storms and seasonal droughts (IPCC,
2007). These pressures will test the effectiveness of water
resource management systems in providing a consistent and
secure water supply for all users, with minimum
externalities. This study will assess advances in management
practices, institutional and technological innovations for
managing water scarcity sustainably under a changing
climate. This study of 'sustaining East Asia's
water resources through Green Water Defense (GWD) is a
sub-study of the 'towards GWD in East Asia' study
and is complemented by another sub-study 'green water
defense for flood risk management in East Asia' that
focuses on flood management in delta regions.

Date of publication
August 2015
Geographical focus

This report outlines a 3-year program to
upgrade the knowledge platform for managing water resources
in Central Asia. Its ultimate purpose is to enhance the
ability of all countries to engage in evidenced- based
dialogue on water and energy management. It focuses on
regional actions, linking all five countries plus
Afghanistan, but recognizes the essential role of national
initiatives. It covers the core elements of a modern
decision support system and, based on extensive
consultations, supports a change in accessing, developing,
and sharing information and analysis. The intended outcomes
of the road map are to: (i) establish a knowledge platform
that is accepted by countries as a basis for cooperative
actions; (ii) enhance capacity and knowledge sharing at the
national and regional levels; and (iii) directly improve
management of water at national and transboundary scales.

Date of publication
April 2013
Geographical focus

This volume presents a synthesis of the multi-country collaborative program of analytical and advisory activities titled reducing vulnerability to climate change in European and Central Asian (ECA) agricultural systems. Climate change and its impacts on agricultural systems and rural economies are already evident throughout the ECA region. Adaptation measures now in use in the region-largely piecemeal efforts-would be insufficient to prevent impacts on agricultural production over the coming decades. Interest is growing among governments and many of their development partners to gain a better understanding of the exposure, sensitivities, and impacts of climate change at the farm level, and to develop and prioritize adaptation measures to build resilience to the potentially adverse consequences. Agricultural production is inextricably tied to climate, making agriculture one of the most climate-sensitive of all economic sectors. In many countries, such as the four examined in this work, the risks of climate change for the agricultural sector are a particularly immediate and important problem because the majority of the rural population depends either directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. The risks of climate change cannot be effectively dealt with and the opportunities cannot be effectively exploited without a clear plan for aligning agricultural policies with climate change, for developing key agricultural institution capabilities, and for making needed infrastructure and on-farm investments. However, an important advantage of the innovative approach developed for this assessment is that it can be applied to gauge the climate change risks and opportunities of any country's farming systems, and it can be used to define and prioritize practical adaptation options.

Date of publication
July 2014
Geographical focus

This regional profile presents the Doing
Business indicators for economies in East Asia and the
Pacific (EAP). It also shows the regional average, the best
performance globally for each indicator and data for the
following comparator regions: Europe and Central Asia,
European Union, Latin America, South Asia, and OECD High
Income. The data in this report are current as of June 1,
2013, except for the paying taxes indicators, which cover
the period January to December 2012. Regional Doing Business
reports capture differences in business regulations and
their enforcement across countries in a single region. They
provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each
location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in
each of the indicator areas. The report sheds light on how
easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and
run a small to medium-size business when complying with
relevant regulations. It measures and tracks changes in
regulations affecting 11 areas in the life cycle of a
business: starting a business, dealing with construction
permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting
credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across
borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and
employing workers. Doing Business presents quantitative
indicators on business regulations and the protection of
property rights that can be compared across 189 economies,
from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, over time. The data set covers
47 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, 33 in Latin America and
the Caribbean, 25 in East Asia and the Pacific, 25 in
Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 20 in the Middle East and
North Africa and 8 in South Asia, as well as 31 OECD
high-income economies. The indicators are used to analyze
economic outcomes and identify what reforms have worked,
where and why.

Date of publication
January 2014
Geographical focus

Recent increases in the prices of
agricultural commodities have spurred a surge of private
investment into farming and agribusiness. Given the right
types of large-scale investment, this can have a
transformative effect in underdeveloped rural areas and have
a positive effect on national economic development including
the provision of domestic food supply to urban areas that
can reduce dependence on food imports. This study analyzes
the experience of the Commonwealth Development Corporation
(CDC) as an investor in commercial smallholder and estate
agriculture and agro-processing in Sub-Saharan Africa and
Southeast Asia and the Pacific between 1948 and 2000. A
simple analysis of the data was undertaken to determine
whether success and failure can be correlated to any
critical factors. Seventy-nine (or 49 percent) of the
projects were classified as failures or moderate failures in
financial terms. This review of CDC agribusiness investments
corroborates the view that agribusiness investments are
risky, particularly when the investment is in a start-up.
While only one fifth of projects were rated complete
failures, one third of equity investments generated at least
moderately attractive internal rates of return, and overall
about 55 percent resulted in financially viable projects.
The majority of projects in both Asia and Africa ended up
being sustainable businesses that delivered broadly the
number of jobs and level of turnover that had initially been
anticipated. This raises the question of why, despite this
low level of returns on equity, these businesses often
survive. The analysis of CDC's agribusiness portfolio
demonstrates both historical potential and pitfalls and
illustrates the need to continuously adapt and innovate to
achieve both political and commercial sustainability.

Date of publication
January 2015
Geographical focus

Across the world, the housing sector
plays a key role in local and national economies, and
expanding access to housing can encourage more equitably
shared economic growth. This report surveys current policy
interventions designed to encourage affordable housing in
East Asia and the Pacific (EAP). The purpose of this report
is to provide a general overview of the recent trends in
urbanization and development in EAP and to consider
different forms of government, market, and nonprofit actions
that support housing affordability. It will also highlight
key constraints and barriers that restrict the provision of
low-cost housing in urban areas. Housing is important
because it represents a significant household expenditure.
The report assesses the strengths and limitations of
affordable housing strategies used by different countries
throughout EAP. This report offers broad conclusions that
account for the broad social, political, and institutional
variation among EAP countries; as such, these conclusions
may well be applicable to more than one country context. The
report also provides specific recommendations for
improvement where existing interventions are new or have
proven less successful. The report is divided into following
chapters: chapter one gives introduction. Chapter two
examines trends in urbanization rates, economic development,
and inequality in order to introduce the need for
high-quality, low-cost housing options. Chapter three
examines EAP regional trends in urban housing affordability
for owners and renters from select cities. Chapter four
outlines future directions for affordable housing provision
based on a comparative consideration of international best
practices. Finally, chapter five surveys different
affordable housing policies currently in place in EAP and
summarizes their strengths and weaknesses.

Date of publication
August 2014
Geographical focus

Deeper regional integration can be
beneficial especially for regions along international
borders. It can open up new markets on opposite sides of
borders and give consumers wider access to cheaper goods.
This paper uses data from five contiguous districts of
India, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the northeast of the
subcontinent to measure the degrees of trade complementarity
between districts. The paper illustrates that the regions
are underexploiting the potential of intraregional commerce.
Price wedges of up to 90 percent in some important
consumption products along with measures of complementarity
between households' production and consumption suggest
the potential for relatively large gains from deeper trade
integration. Furthermore, an examination of a specific
supply chain of tea highlights factors that help industries
scale up, aided by institutions such as an organized auction
and decent physical and legal infrastructure. However,
districts alike in geography but located across
international boundaries face different development
prospects, suggesting that gains from reduced
"thickness of borders" would not accrue
automatically. Much rests on developing intrinsic industry
competitiveness at home, including the reform of regulatory
and business practices and infrastructural bottlenecks that
prevent agglomeration of local economies.

Date of publication
December 2015
Geographical focus

East–Southeast Asia is currently one of the fastest urbanizing regions in the world, with countries such as China climbing from 20 to 50% urbanized in just a few decades. By 2050, these countries are projected to add 1 billion people, with 90% of that growth occurring in cities. This population shift parallels an equally astounding amount of built-up land expansion. However, spatially-and temporally-detailed information on regional-scale changes in urban land or population distribution do not exist; previous efforts have been either sample-based, focused on one country, or drawn conclusions from datasets with substantial temporal/spatial mismatch and variability in urban definitions. Using consistent methodology, satellite imagery and census data for >1000 agglomerations in the East–Southeast Asian region, we show that urban land increased >22% between 2000 and 2010 (from 155 000 to 189 000 km2), an amount equivalent to the area of Taiwan, while urban populations climbed >31% (from 738 to 969 million). Although urban land expanded at unprecedented rates, urban populations grew more rapidly, resulting in increasing densities for the majority of urban agglomerations, including those in both more developed (Japan, South Korea) and industrializing nations (China, Vietnam, Indonesia). This result contrasts previous sample-based studies, which conclude that cities are universally declining in density. The patterns and rates of change uncovered by these data sets provide a unique record of the massive urban transition currently underway in East–Southeast Asia that is impacting local-regional climate, pollution levels, water quality/availability, arable land, as well as the livelihoods and vulnerability of populations in the region.

Date of publication
November 2015
Geographical focus

This report summarizes the knowledge
shared and issues raised during a conference convened by the
World Bank on the above topic held on November 3-5, 2014 in
Manila, Philippines. Building on earlier conferences on this
topic, the conference aimed to raise awareness about, and
share good practice on, building a social protection system
that integrates disaster risk management and climate change
adaptation. It brought together 17 country delegations from
Asia and Pacific region comprised of officials from the
ministries managing social protection, disaster risk
management, and financing and insurance.2 As such, it was
both cross-global practice and cross-regional in focus. The
conference offered a range of learning opportunities,
including presentations from technical experts from the
World Bank, country case studies from Asia, Africa and Latin
America, roundtable discussions, and group work sessions.
The conference was conducted in collaboration with the
Government of the Philippines and was financed by the Rapid
Social Response Fund and the Global Facility for Disaster
Reduction and Recovery.

Date of publication
June 2014
Geographical focus

Central Asia is often associated with
the silk route or road, the longest overland trade route
connecting China to Europe and one of the oldest in history.
Growth opportunities and the future prosperity of the region
are highly dependent upon the efficiency of its internal and
external supply-chain connections, which is the focus of
this report. Supply-chain connectivity depends on the
quality of the infrastructure on specific routes. This study
explains how supply chain fragmentation remains a serious
obstacle to economic development of Central Asia and to
Eurasian integration more generally. It provides a
comprehensive assessment of the various factors that yet
impede supply-chain integration, including weak transport
and communications infrastructure, but as important, and
perhaps more so, critical weaknesses in policy,
institutions, and governance. Based on this assessment this
report provides an insightful set of recommendations that,
if taken up by the governments of Central Asia and by their
key neighbors, will go a long way in promoting the effective
integration of Central Asia into an increasingly connected
Eurasian continental economy and with that into the global economy.


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