Economics, Finance, Transport

Spillover and straw effects of high-speed rail

High-speed rail investment: A butterfly effect for urban chaos
On a typical ride on the Tokaido Shinkansen traveling from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo, it does not take a childlike imagination to notice the view from the bullet train of scattered cars, small houses, and baseball fields, gradually changing as the train approaches its destination to packed apartment buildings and tall office towers. This is an important phenomenon of high-speed rail (HSR) implementation, which can be described by the terms “spillover effect” and “straw effect.”

Governance

Malaysia’s affirmative action should be based on need

Malaysia’s Affirmative Action Should Be Based on Need
When Malaysians came out in numbers to replace the government that had ruled since Independence, they signaled a clear desire for change. But what kind of mandate does the new government have? Pakatan Harapan’s election campaign included a host of promises, most of which are now being pursued without much controversy.

Economics, Finance, Health

The costs of being overweight and obese in Asia and the Pacific

The costs of being overweight and obese in Asia and the Pacific
Increased prosperity in Asia and the Pacific has led to lifestyle changes with unwanted impacts. Studies have shown that as a result of economic progress, regions are shifting to a diet that is linked with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), particularly overweight and obesity. The World Health Organization estimates for 2015 show that about 15 million people aged 30–69 years die annually because of NCDs (Waqanivalu 2018).

Finance

Financial development and stability in the People’s Republic of China: Evaluating the policy challenges

Financial development and stability in the People’s Republic of China: Evaluating the policy challenges
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has come a long way in developing its financial system, and it has done so at a speed that has been breathtaking. The country’s “big four” banks are now the four largest banks in the world by assets, while another 14 PRC banks make it into the top 100 largest banks. The PRC last year surpassed the euro area to become the world’s largest banking system by assets, and PRC banks are now major sources of dollar-denominated lending, not least as part of the country’s One Belt One Road initiative.

Agriculture and rural development, Governance

Land trust laws as a solution to the land acquisition dilemma for infrastructure development in Asia

Land trust laws as a solution to the land acquisition dilemma for infrastructure development in Asia
Many developing countries struggle with the dichotomy of acquiring land for infrastructure development and balancing landholder interests. Industrialization of rural villages across developing Asia (particularly in India) has created widespread social and political tensions in the recent past. Most of these are attributed to land acquisition (Sarkar 2007). The “right” of sovereignty on land has long been a contested subject. Even in democracies, the exigencies of collective benefit versus individual land rights have been at loggerheads. In the long run, growth dividends from infrastructure development and industrialization are likely to materialize (Paul and Sarma 2017), and acquisition of land to facilitate this process remains one of the main development challenges in many Asian countries.

Sanitation, Water

The sanitation economy: Digging for treasure

The sanitation economy: Digging for treasure
In both respects, sanitation is deeply embedded. Grids of sewer pipes have been fixed into the surface of cities in the developed world for more than a century, and it has become a strong and important part of most policy makers’ belief that this is how to provide sanitation. Or, despairing of such systems ever being built in developing countries, some have swung to the opposite view, advocating off-grid solutions, which, while less embedded in the ground, become an equally strong and important part of their proponents’ beliefs.

Sanitation, Water

Evidence-based capacity building can inspire policy makers to accelerate sanitation interventions in Asia

Evidence-based capacity building can inspire policy makers to accelerate sanitation interventions in Asia
National and local governments in Asia are facing significant challenges to effectively deliver access to sanitation, as well as to properly collect, transport, dispose of, and treat fecal sludge. Actions taken by governments at present have been to implement large-scale sewer networks, which are prohibitively expensive, and which take years to plan and build. To address the growing challenges and requirements of sanitation, many cities are using a combination of on- and off-site sanitation solutions provided by a range of service providers comprising civil society partners, private companies, and municipalities or utility companies.

Environment, Water

Composite Water Management Index: A pathway to solve the water crisis in India

Composite Water Management Index: A pathway to solve the water crisis in India
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) and, more importantly, the citizens of India have acknowledged that the country is undergoing the “worst water crisis” in its history—and they are making commendable efforts to address it. They have proposed a comprehensive index to create awareness and to enable effective water management for the Indian states. In June 2018, NITI Aayog, the premier think tank for the Government of India, proposed the Composite Water Management Index, a tool to assess and improve the efficiency of water resource management.

Environment, Water

“Commitment” as a success factor for fecal sludge management

"Commitment" as a success factor for fecal sludge management
Leh, a high-altitude cold desert in India, is a popular tourist destination hosting around 250,000 visitors annually. At present, the poorly designed septic tanks and soak pits installed by households, hotels, and guesthouses to contain fecal sludge are posing a serious threat to groundwater contamination. To cater to the demand for fecal sludge management (FSM), the Municipal Committee of Leh (MCL) partnered with a private company called Blue Water Company (BWC) and a technical nongovernment organization named BORDA in 2017 to provide an end-to-end FSM service, including pit emptying and operation of a sludge treatment plant.

Finance

A new global and regional financial architecture to address global shocks

A new global and regional financial architecture to address global shocks
In the postwar period, the global economic and financial architecture was dominated by the advanced economies in the West. They designed the international monetary system, international development financing frameworks, and global trade liberalization schemes. They also dominated the leadership of key global institutions related to economic and financial stability, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and, more recently, the Financial Stability Board (FSB).