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Bangladesh: looking beyond garments - employment diagnostic study

Economic growth in Bangladesh, above 6% in most years since the 2000s, has been on the fast track since the 1990s. Not many developing countries, especially the least developed, have been able to achieve this consistently for such a long period. Yet despite the jobs generated in the export-oriented ready-made garment industry, the fruits of growth have not been widely shared. This joint study by the Asian Development Bank and the International Labour Organization examines the nature and magnitude of the employment challenge Bangladesh faces, looking at the nature of productive employment and its role in transmitting the benefits of growth into incomes for the poor. It indicates that the positive economic turnaround in Bangladesh is largely due to the rising presence of women in the workplace.

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The housing challenge in emerging Asia: options and solutions

This publication provides new insights and ideas to best design and implement housing policies aimed at improving access to affordable and adequate housing. The book offers an innovative theoretical framework to conceptualize and analyze various housing policies. It also critically reviews housing policies of various countries and draws lessons for others. The countries studied include advanced economies within and outside Asia, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as emerging countries within Asia, such as the People’s Republic of China and India.

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Housing system and urbanization in the People’s Republic of China

This paper examines how transformations in the housing system in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) influence the PRC pattern of urbanization. It first discusses how housing policies determine the supply and demand of housing in urban PRC and subsequently analyzes how the changes in the mode of housing provision have affected rural–urban migration, intercity labor mobility, the financing of urban infrastructure, and general urban economic activities in the PRC. The PRC experience of the interaction between the housing system and urbanization is unique, but it clearly indicates that an effective housing system that can responsively provide adequate and affordable housing is crucial to the success of inclusive and equitable urbanization.

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Human capital and urbanization in the People’s Republic of China

The relationship between human capital development and urbanization in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is explored, highlighting the institutional factors of the hukou system and a decentralized fiscal system. Educated workers disproportionately reside in urban areas and in large cities. Returns to education are significantly higher in urban areas relative to those in rural areas, as well as in large, educated cities relative to small, less-educated cities. In addition, the external returns to education in urban areas are at least comparable to the magnitude of private returns. Rural areas are the major reservoir for urban population growth, and the more educated have a higher chance of moving to cities and obtaining urban hukou. Relaxing the hukou restriction, increasing education levels of rural residents, providing training for rural–urban migrants, and guaranteeing equal opportunity for all residents are necessary for a sustainable urbanization process in the PRC. In terms of health, rural–urban migration is selective in that healthy rural residents choose to migrate. Occupational choices and living conditions are detrimental to migrants’ health, however. While migration has a positive effect on migrant children, its effect on “left-behind” children is unclear.

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The emergence of Pacific urban villages: urbanization trends in the Pacific islands

Village-like settlements such as squatter and informal settlements are seen as a type of urban village. The report examines the evolution of different types of settlement commonly known as native or traditional villages, and the more recent squatter and informal settlements. It looks at the role these and other urban villages play in shaping and making Pacific towns and cities and presents key actions that Pacific countries and development partners need to consider as part of urban and national development plans while achieving a more equitable distribution of the benefits of urbanization.

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Ensuring health care services for the poor during a financial crisis. The Medicard Program in Mongolia: experiences and lessons learned

The 2007–2008 global financial crisis severely affected the Mongolian economy. Poverty struck and access to basic services and medical care plummeted, affecting the health of women and children. The Medicard program was the Mongolian health sector’s first to apply the Proxy Mean Test to target eligible households. It contributed to ensuring government health and social program inclusiveness, and highlighted the critical role of political commitment in ensuring the sustainability of such programs. This paper provides information on the program design and implementation by comparing it with international best practices.

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Financial inclusion, financial regulation, and education in Bangladesh

Like in many other countries, inclusive finance for inclusive growth has become a policy issue in Bangladesh following the global financial crisis in 2008. Over the past 10 years, intensity of financial deepening and access to financial services has increased. Both banks and microfinance institutions have contributed to higher intensity. A recent study shows that around 40% of the adult population and 75% of households have access to financial services in Bangladesh. Several factors may have contributed. Proactive regulatory policies and expanded financial literacy are the major determinants. In this paper, regulatory policies have been evaluated and the effect of financial literacy on financial inclusion has been examined empirically. Our analysis suggests that the regulatory agencies in Bangladesh have formulated policies for promoting financial inclusion and creating investment opportunities for micro and small firms in particular. Our empirical evidence, based on household-level data, shows that the intensity of financial literacy in Bangladesh is moderate, and it has a positive impact on inclusive finance. These findings warrant more emphasis on increasing financial literacy for access to finance and informed investment decisions.

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State of the Least Developed Countries 2016

The current report builds on the first and second editions, which considered the issues of productive capacity building as well as extreme poverty eradication in the least developed countries (LDCs) and the post-2015 development agenda. These reports provided analysis relating to the inclusion of LDC issues in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. This year’s report is dedicated to the implementation of the SDGs in LDCs using synergies with the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA). Part 1 of the report assesses progress towards achieving the goals and targets of the IPoA, particularly in the eight priority areas; reviews efforts towards this end; and identifies challenges ahead. The report argues that enhanced, coordinated and targeted support to the LDCs fulfilling ODA commitments but also going beyond, will remain critical to effectively implementing the IPoA. Part 2 of the report assesses the complementarities of the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda. It maps the goals, targets and actions of the IPoA with the SDGs, focusing on means of implementation. Furthermore it looks at how the implementation of the SDGs in LDCs can be fostered, including its mainstreaming and monitoring and followup. The conclusions and policy recommendations cover the findings in both parts of the report. As the report finds significant synergies between the IPoA and the Agenda 2030 it highlights the importance of leadership and political will and effective global partnership.

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Industrial Development Report 2016: the role of technology and innovation in inclusive and sustainable industrial development

This report addresses a challenging question: under which conditions do technology and innovation achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID)? The main finding of this report is that technology can simultaneously serve all three dimensions of sustainability. Rapid inclusive and sustainable industrialization can be achieved provided that policymakers resolutely facilitate and steer the industrialization process, which requires sound policies and avoiding the mistakes other countries have made in the past.

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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: achieving the industry-related goals and targets

UNIDO’s vision to address today’s economic, social and environmental challenges is enshrined in the Lima Declaration, which was adopted by UNIDO Member States in December 2013. On this basis, the Organization pursues Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID) to harness industry’s full potential to contribute to lasting prosperity for all. The mandate is based on the recognition by Member States that poverty eradication “can only be achieved through strong, inclusive, sustainable and resilient economic and industrial growth, and the effective integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.” The present document summarizes the contribution of UNIDO’s mandate as well as current and planned future activities vis-à-vis the SDGs, with a special focus on SDG-9, which highlights and affirms the critical importance of ISID and its contribution to all 17 goals.

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World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) 2016: Climate Change Resilience

Evidence is increasing that climate change is taking the largest toll on poor and vulnerable people, and these impacts are largely caused by inequalities that increase the risks from climate hazards. This survey found that governments can play a significant role in reducing the risks of climate change to vulnerable populations. Through transformative policies, the report shows that governments could address the root causes of inequalities and build climate change resilience. While there is considerable anecdotal evidence that the poor and the vulnerable suffer greater harm from climate-related disasters, the report determined that much of the harm is not by accident, but that it is due to the failure of governments to close the development gaps that leave large population groups at risk. The report argues that while climate adaptation and resilience are overshadowed by mitigation in climate discussions, they are vital for addressing climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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Leaving no one behind: report on the World Social Situation 2016

Despite unprecedented social progress around the world, many people continue to face social exclusion and limited access to social, economic and political opportunities. This report examines the social, economic and political disadvantages that some groups of the population face, namely youth, older persons, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants and persons with disabilities. It also makes policy recommendations to help governments overcome development hurdles and address barriers that limit people’s access to opportunities.

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Cocoa industry: integrating small farmers into the global value chain

This report contributes to research on the cocoa global value chain (GVC). It examines consolidation patterns in the cocoa industry and their potential impacts on stakeholders along the value chain, in particular small cocoa farmers who constitute the backbone of cocoa production worldwide. It also discusses these farmers’ integration into world cocoa markets, highlighting some critical issues they face. The report finally offers some policy recommendations which may help governments, the private sector, the international community and producers to foster the development of a sustainable cocoa economy by empowering farmers, consonant with the Global Cocoa Agenda adopted at the first World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan in 2012. The report should ultimately contribute to the debate on how to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their commitment to "leave no on behind", especially in cocoa farming communities.

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Facilitating BioTrade in a challenging access and benefit sharing environment

Legal uncertainty, lack of clarity and administrative inaction are not a good recipe to facilitate sustainable biodiversity businesses. With the entering into force of the CBD Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, there is a new opportunity to improve the synergies for access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) in the context of BioTrade, and in turn contribute to legal certainty on this particularly important matter in regards to sustainable use of biodiversity. Though historically BioTrade has moved in the realm of sustainable biodiversity businesses, particularly with biological resources and certain ecosystem services, questions remain regarding when and how genetic resources become part of BioTrade and most importantly, whether ABS policy and legal frameworks are applicable or not. Implementing the Nagoya Protocol in regards to BioTrade will require guidance as to how BioTrade and ABS positively interact and generate complementarity. When and how ABS requirements may be applicable to BioTrade is key to creating the enabling policy and regulatory environments. This scoping study offers an overview of some of the key issues and connections between BioTrade and ABS under the framework of the Nagoya Protocol, the challenges faced by interested actors and suggestions of ways to address them, including in terms of interpretation, implementing policies and legal reforms. Examples, figures and case studies are used to clarify some of the points raised and suggestions on the way forward.

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Why geographical indications for Least Developed Countries?

Since 2010 UNCTAD is supporting selected LDCs rural communities in their efforts to promote traditional products through Geographical Indications (GIs). GIs are a trade-related intellectual property right under the WTO TRIPS Agreement. The link between the territory and the uniqueness of the product is the distinctive developmental nature of GIs with respect to other forms of TRIPs. Evidence from the market and literature shows that the promotion and protection of products under GIs may results in higher economics gains, fostering quality production and equitable distribution of profits for LDC rural communities. GIs encourage the preservation of biodiversity, traditional know-how and natural resources. Leveraging on biological and cultural diversification, the implementation of GIs may represent a unique opportunity to bring together the various players along the value chain supply, including producers, government authorities and researchers.

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Multisectoral action framework for malaria

Malaria is both a result and a cause of a lack of development. The malaria burden is highest in the countries with the lowest human development, within countries in the least developed and poorest areas, and within populations among the most disadvantaged. The Multi sectoral Action Framework for Malaria adds this development dimension, by making actions outside the health sector essential components of malaria control. The Framework unites all efforts and builds on positive experiences, past and present. The Framework calls for action at several levels and in multiple sectors, globally and across inter- and intra-national boundaries, and by different organizations. It emphasizes complementarity, effectiveness and sustainability, and capitalizes on the potential synergies to accelerate both socio-economic development and malaria control. It involves new interventions as well as putting new life into those that already exist, and coordinates and manages these in new and innovative ways. The Framework acknowledges that malaria takes different shapes in different contexts and that no single blueprint for action would fit in all circumstances. The Framework encourages innovation, trying and learning. The Framework analyses the social and environmental determinants of malaria at four levels: society, environment, population group, and household and individual. The conclusion of the analysis is that the current strategies for malaria control need to be continued, but that they alone are unlikely to lead to sustained control and elimination in the countries with the highest malaria burden. They need to be complemented with a developmental approach, addressing key social and environmental determinants. The Framework proposes what these determinants are and which sectors should be involved. It provides examples of implementation in countries, as well as a simple tool for action planning.

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Special issue: universal health coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC) aims to provide health care and financial protection to all people in a given country with three related objectives: equity in access – everyone who needs health services should get them, and not simply those who can pay for them; quality of health services – good enough to improve the health of those receiving the services; and financial-risk protection – ensuring that the cost of health care does not put people at risk of financial hardship. It is a powerful concept in public health, and one of the key areas of progress in health in the African Region. This special issue of the African Health Monitor has a dual objective: firstly, it offers an overview of research on the subject of UHC in Africa; and secondly, it provides wider dissemination of research results presented and discussed in African scientific meetings.

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Impacts of population dynamics reproductive health and gender on poverty

How do the many the different components of the UNFPA mandate contribute to poverty reduction? This publication analyses this question in detail, looking at both the micro level (impacts on individuals and households) and the larger picture. The document concludes that the strength of UNFPA's contribution to poverty reduction resides in the complementarity of different interventions and the synergies by which population dynamics, gender equality and reproductive health work together to reduce poverty.

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Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Open Working Group document proposes that governments will set its own national targets. They will be guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. To make the Post-2015 agenda actionable, much more thought needs to be given to the process of target-setting, different actors’ responsibilities, implementation and accountability.

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Towards a better life? A cautionary tale of progress in Ahmedabad

In the western Indian state of Gujarat, where Ahmedabad is located, the urban poverty rate declined from 28% in 1993-94 to 10% in 2011-12. Trade unions, such as the Self-employed Women’s Association, founded in Ahmedabad in 1972, have played a key role in organising and empowering informal workers. By 2001 Ahmedabad was already above both state and national urban averages in the coverage of drinking water, and progress has continued. The municipal government has introduced specific programmes to improve access to public utilities – water, sanitation and electricity – for slum dwellers irrespective of tenure status. Additionally, the city stands out for its ‘smart growth’ through proactive planning for urban expansion, enabling a compact urban area while allotting spaces to house poor families. However, gaps have remained and relations between communities and the government have become strained in recent years. Significant sections of the population continue to lack access to good quality services, and Ahmedabad has evolved into a city segmented by class, caste and religion. Further, across much of urban India there has been a shift in the conception of development from inclusive growth to the creation of ‘global cities’ marked by capital-intensive projects. As a result, dialogue has decreased, becoming increasingly confrontational, and the availability of public funds has diverted focus away from flexible local programmes built on a collaborative model of development. While urbanisation has been recognised as key to India’s future, the experience of Ahmedabad provides key lessons – both positive and cautionary – relevant to urbanisation both nationally and globally.

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Mind the gap? A comparison of international and national targets for the SDG agenda

The stretch required for low-income countries (LICs) to achieve SDG targets is generally greater than for middle-income and high-income countries (MICs and HICs). The gaps identified indicate where most work is needed to alter political priorities in order to realise the SDGs. Most hard work will be needed in areas that are highly politically contentious (climate policy) or expensive (secondary education, electricity and sanitation). This has implications for how governments structure a review process and how resources are mobilised for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The report also found a great deal of variation in the approach to measuring targets at the national level. A standardised approach would make comparisons easier and hold governments more readily to account.

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How does Nepal’s Child Grant work for Dalit children and their families?

The Child Grant is targeted at all households with children aged up to five years in the Karnali Zone and at poor Dalit households in the rest of the country. Launched in 2009 and covering around 20% of Nepal's children, it is seen as a key mechanism to support children in the government's draft National Framework for Social Protection. This study focuses on two districts; Bajura and Saptari, using a mixed-method approach to identify implementation barriers and recommend ways to improve effectiveness of the Grant.

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Sharing the fruits of progress: poverty reduction in Ecuador

This case study illustrates and explains Ecuador’s progress in reducing poverty and inequality, focusing on the period between 2000 and 2012. Drawing on primary interviews and secondary analyses, we argue that Ecuador’s success can be explained by four main economic and political factors. First, high oil prices helped the country to achieve economic stability and growth in a context of dollarisation. Second, growth gave way to changes in the labour market that benefited the poorest people, through a decline in unemployment and an increase in real wages. Third, Rafael Correa’s election in 2007 brought about radical change in adopting highly redistributive social policies. These were financed through measures to create fiscal space such as the re-writing of oil contracts, the restructuring of the public debt and the channelling of all oil revenues into the budgeting process. The poorest people also benefited from the expansion of the cash transfer programme, Bono de Desarrollo Humano, and the improved provision of health and education services, though these have often been used for political ends. Today, Ecuador faces the challenge of advancing and deepening the progress it has achieved in changing domestic and international circumstances, in particular the falling price of oil and the ending of Correa’s final presidential term. Further reduction of poverty will require paying greater attention to social sectors that have not shared fully in the benefits of growth, especially those living in rural areas, in certain geographical regions and the Afro-Ecuadorian and indigenous populations. In addition, the country will need to build upon the momentum it has established and channel it into a process of structural transformation.

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In quest of inclusive progress: exploring intersecting inequalities in human development

For 16 countries with appropriate data, this paper seeks to ascertain to what extent wealth status, urban/rural place of residence and ethnicity – and overlaps between them – explain inequalities in education and health; and how these inequalities have changed over time. The focus is on women’s years of education and on the proportion of children in a household who have died.

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Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

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