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 2020: Leveraging Ocean Resources for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States

thumbnail_pic The Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report examines how small island developing States can leverage ocean resources for their sustainable development. It shows that these economies are not on track to reach most of the Sustainable Development Goals and that accelerated action is needed to reach them, especially given that the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be hard felt by the people in the Asia-Pacific region. It examines how small island developing States should take full advantage of their blue economy to foster their development, focusing on two sectors, fisheries and tourism, which are important in small island developing States and which both rely on ocean resources. This report puts forward pertinent policy recommendations to strengthen the development role of fisheries and tourism. It highlights that scaling up action for oceans is required for small island developing States to make progress towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Enforcing international frameworks, norms and standards is one element that will contribute to such progress; ensuring greater regional cooperation is another one. Just as the policy response to the current COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of coordinated and evidence-based policy measures, grounded in strong political will and commitment to sustainability, regional cooperation can help protect fisheries and enable recovery of coastal fisheries. It can also be linked to tourism by promoting a common branding for the Pacific subregion and leveraging tourism to foster further sustainable development.

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Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2019: Structural transformation and its role in reducing poverty

thumbnail_pic The 2019 report entitled “Structural transformation and its role in reducing poverty” examines the link between structural transformation and poverty reduction in countries with special needs. Increasing productive employment is critical to increase real wages and facilitate reduction in levels of poverty. The report puts forward relevant policy considerations to align structural transformation and poverty reduction, highlighting the importance of targeted industrial policies and rural development.

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Asia's Landlocked Developing Countries: Structural Transformation, Poverty Reduction and Financing for Development

thumbnail_pic This report highlights the role of structural transformation in reducing poverty in Asia’s landlocked developing countries. It emphasizes the relevance of structural transformation to these economies, and particularly to those that are landlocked least developed countries, which are still dominated by the agrarian sector, and in which many people live below the poverty line of $3.20 a day. To accelerate structural transformation, Asia’s landlocked developing countries must focus on economic diversification and on reducing their dependency on extractive industries, including through foreign direct investment and mitigation of the consequences of premature deindustrialization. Landlocked least developed countries also require extra support in financing their development. Given their lack of resources and the particular structural impediments that those economies face, they need additional capacity to mobilize financial means, both internal and external, in order to embark on an effective trajectory of structural transformation to reduce poverty and pursue sustainable development. This report discusses these topics and provides pertinent policy recommendations to help address policy gaps and development challenges of landlocked developing countries, including landlocked least developed countries, and support the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries.

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Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2018: Sustainable development and sustaining peace

thumbnail_pic The 2018 report entitled “Sustainable development and sustaining peace” explores the multidimensional links between peace and development. It argues that countries with special needs due to their structural impediments exhibit limited capacities to cope with shocks and are thus more vulnerable to the impacts of conflict. Given the multidimensional nature of the causes and impacts of conflict, the report discusses the alignment between the integrated approach to development presented by the SDGs and the fundamental building blocks for durable peace. Essentially “there can be no peace without sustainable development, and no sustainable development without peace.”

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Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2017: Investing in infrastructure for an inclusive and sustainable future

thumbnail_pic The 2017 report, “Investing in infrastructure for an inclusive and sustainable future” highlights issues of physical infrastructure, covering transport, energy, information and communications technology and water supply and sanitation. The access to physical infrastructure index is presented to underscore the multidimensional concept of infrastructure and to provide a tool for infrastructure development policies that support sustainable development.The report argues that closing infrastructure gaps and maintaining existing infrastructure requires significant financial resources.

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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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Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2015: Building productive capacities to overcome structural challenges

thumbnail_pic The report in 2015 entitled “Building productive capacities to overcome structural challenges”, provides a review of the status, challenges and prospects of these countries. It also analyses the role of economic diversification in reducing the vulnerability of these countries, through reducing export concentration, creating jobs, raising GDP and securing competitive advantages within product niches. It identifies policy options in promoting potential new sectors, products and markets for successful diversification, enabling the development of new capabilities and easing their structural bottlenecks.

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