Reports and Publications


ESCAP produces a number of publications each year examining the breadth and implications of economic and social policy making in the Asia and Pacific region. The Countries with Special Needs Development Report is the annual flagship publication. Other analytical products such as working papers, policy briefs and information materials are available to download.


Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2016: Adapting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the National Level

thumbnail_pic The 2016 report, “Adapting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the national level”, addresses the challenges for achieving the SDGs. A unique analytical framework is proposed, based on cutting-edge methods from complexity science coupled with economic analyses, to guide countries on the prioritization and sequencing of attainment of the SDGs in the most effective manner. The framework allows for the identification of synergies, tradeoffs and bottlenecks in attaining the various Goals.

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From the Istanbul Programme of Action to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

thumbnail_pic Asia-Pacific least developed countries (LDCs) continue to face structural challenges in their development processes. Such challenges are highly idiosyncratic and, in most cases, associated with disadvantages in their initial endowments and geographic features, including remoteness, costly access to international markets,insufficient human, natural and financial resources, and vulnerability to disasters. Currently there are 12 LDCs in the Asia-Pacific region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – seven of which have met the criteria for graduation in the 2015 triennial review of the Committee for Development Policy. The Istanbul Programme of Action aims at overcoming the structural challenges of the LDCs through building their human and productive capacities and enabling their graduation from the LDC category. The overarching objective of the Programme, which received a strong endorsement from the international community through the adoption in September 2015 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is to support the sustainable development of LDCs. The last five years of the Istanbul Programme of Action will be implemented simultaneously with the first five years of the 2030 Agenda. With 251 actions included in the Programme and 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets in the 2030 Agenda, it is clear that a strategic approach with clearly defined priorities and sequencing of actions is necessary. This is particularly important in the light of the scarcity of financial and human resources that characterizes LDCs.

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Fostering Productivity in the Rural and Agricultural Sector for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific

thumbnail_pic This paper is motivated by the need to identify potential links between productivity in the rural and agriculture sector in The A-P with a view to proposing policies and strategies on how strengthening productivity in the rural and agriculture sector will contribute to the realization of SDGs. In order to identify broad regional trends, the paper analyses the circumstances of 23 countries of the ESCAP region , but policy discussions are limited to a selected few from among the 23 countries.

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An analytical framework for identifying optimal pathways towards sustainable development

thumbnail_pic The freedom accorded to governments on how to achieve the ambitious and holistic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development raises the critical issue of how countries should adapt the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level. This paper presents an analytical framework that merges methods from complexity science with economic analyses to address this issue of adaptation. The proposed framework 1) highlights the interlinkages, including complementarities, synergies and trade-offs across different Goals, 2) measures the country’s capacities to achieve the Goals, and 3) identifies optimal pathways for progress towards sustainable development. Using Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, and Fiji as examples, the derived pathways for progress are seen to align well with traditional development theory. However, the paths are reflective of the specific circumstances of each country, which in turn dictates their development paths. Overall, the framework provides a guidebook that may inform national deliberations on the adaptation by proposing pathways for progress that take into account interdependencies across different sectors as well as countries’ unique circumstances.

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Pathways for adapting the Sustainable Development Goals to the national context: the case of Pakistan

thumbnail_pic The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a laudable attempt to portray a comprehensive global vision towards progress in a plethora of socioeconomic and environmental issues that we face today. However, this holistic view of progress presents countries with substantial difficulties in implementation in that the 17 goals and 169 targets are inherently complex and intertwined. Recognizing these difficulties, we are utilizing cutting-edge methods from complexity science coupled with economic analysis to consider the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a complex system, in an attempt to identify the pathways Pakistan can take in implementing the broad spectrum of goals and targets. Ultimately, we seek to provide for a guidebook that Pakistan can complement with its national development plan, Vision 2025, in the early stages of implementation of the SDGs, fully regarding their unique situations and development paths.

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Smooth transition and graduation of least developed countries: coping with natural disasters and climate change

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Developing renewable energy in Pacific small island developing States

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