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AU — The G20: a quick guide

March 26, 2014 Comments off

The G20: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This is a quick guide to basic information about the G20, as well as links to useful summary resources. The G20 background section includes the G20’s history, its members, the hosting system and G20 meeting processes, as well as a brief discussion of selected policy areas. Material on Australia and the G20 includes Australia’s involvement in the G20, Australia’s G20 goals for 2014 and speeches and press releases on the G20. A short list of links provides access to more resources on the G20.

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Asia — Energizing Green Cities: Solutions to Meet Demand and Spark Economic Growth

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Energizing Green Cities: Solutions to Meet Demand and Spark Economic Growth
Source: World Bank

Cities in Southeast Asia (SEA) are growing twice as fast as the rest of the world and by 2030, it is expected that 70 percent of SEA population will live in cities. Worldwide, cities account for around two-thirds of global energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While cities have always been the engines of economic growth, now they also hold the key to a sustainable development in SEA. Given their size and dynamic growth, SEA cities today have a unique opportunity to also become global engines of green growth by choosing energy-efficient solutions for their infrastructure needs.

Improving energy efficiency isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for economic growth, says a World Bank report, “Energizing Green Cities in Southeast Asia – Applying Sustainable Urban Energy and Emissions Planning.” According to the report, there is a clear correlation between investments in energy efficient solutions in infrastructure and economic growth, based on a study of three cities – Da Nang in Vietnam, Surabaya in Indonesia and Cebu City in the Philippines. By improving energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions, cities not only help the global environment, but they also support local economic development through productivity gains, reduced pollution, and more efficient use of resources.

Country Analysis Brief: Indonesia

March 9, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Indonesia
Source: Energy Information Administration

Indonesia is the most populous country in Southeast Asia and the fourth most populous country in the world, behind China, India, and the United States. Formerly a net oil exporter in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Indonesia struggles to attract sufficient investment to meet growing domestic energy consumption because of inadequate infrastructure and a complex regulatory environment. Despite their energy struggles, it was the world’s largest exporter of coal by weight in 2012 and the fourth-largest exporter of liquid natural gas (LNG) in 2013. As Indonesia seeks to meet its energy export obligations and earn revenues through international market sales, the country is also trying to meet demand at home.

Indonesia’s total primary energy consumption grew by 44% between 2002 and 2012. The petroleum share, although decreasing, continues to account for the highest portion of Indonesia’s energy mix at 36% in 2012. In the past decade, coal consumption nearly tripled and surpassed natural gas as the second most consumed fuel.

National Assessments on Gender and STI

March 13, 2013 Comments off

National Assessments on Gender and STI

Source: Women in Global Science and Technology

The National Assessments on Gender and STI are based on the Gender Equality – Knowledge Society (GE&KS) indicator framework, which was developed to address the fact that worldwide, women’s capacity to participate in science, technology and innovation is grossly under-developed and under-utilized. Not only do they have less access to information and technology, they are poorly represented in educational, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. It brings together gender-sensitive data on key areas in the knowledge society (ICT, science, technology and innovation) with gender indicators of health, economic and social status to assess the barriers and opportunities for women.

A pilot assessment of six countries and one region took place during 2012 with funding from the Elsevier Foundation: Brazil, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States, and the European Union.

Key Findings

The major finding of this study is that the knowledge gender divide continues to exist in all countries, even those which have a highly-developed knowledge society. In all countries in this review – which represent the leading knowledge-based economies in the world – the knowledge society is failing to include women to an equal extent, and in some cases, their inclusion is negligible.

  • Numbers of women in the science, technology and innovation fields are alarmingly low in the world’s leading economies, and are actually on the decline in many, including the United States.
  • Women remain severely under-represented in engineering, physics and computer science — less than 30% in most countries – while the numbers of women working in these fields are also declining.
  • Women have lower levels of access to the productive resources necessary to support active engagement in the knowledge society and related professions – property (land); finance; technology; and education.
  • Female parity in the science, technology and innovation fields is tied to multiple factors, with the most influential being higher economic status, larger roles in government and politics, access to economic, productive and technological resources, and a supportive policy environment. Findings also show that women gain ground in countries that have health and childcare, equal pay, & gender mainstreaming.
  • Access to education is not a solution in and of itself and neither is economic status. It’s only one part of what should be a multi-dimensional policymaking approach. There is no simple solution.

CRS — Rising Economic Powers and U.S. Trade Policy

December 20, 2012 Comments off

Rising Economic Powers and U.S. Trade Policy (PDF)

Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A handful of developing countries are becoming major players in the global economy due, in part, to their large populations, rising trade flows, and rapidly growing economies. These evolving economies are likely to be of increasing interest to the 113th Congress. Led by China, these rising economic powers (REPs) include Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey. Based on purchasing power parity estimates, China, India, Brazil, and Russia are now among the 10 largest economies in the world and Mexico (#11), Indonesia (#15) and Turkey (#16) are not far behind. With large economies and rising shares of world trade flows, the REPs have greater involvement in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations and dispute settlement cases, have protested with greater frequency U.S. economic and trade policies, and are more able and willing to deflect or reject U.S. trade and market access demands.

Although they have made great economic strides, any of these REPs could stumble if they do not take steps to improve their business climates by undertaking a range of trade, regulatory, and structural reforms. At the same time, other large developing countries that have enormous economic potential, such as Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, and Vietnam could rise if they successfully address underlying political and economic challenges.

U.S. exports to the REPs and other developing countries have become an increasingly important source of growth for the U.S. economy. If the United States is to maximize its export potential and boost its living standards, U.S. exporters and investors may need to have better access to the REP markets. Trade and investment barriers remain considerably higher in most of the REPs than in the United States and other advanced countries. Efforts have stalled in these countries to reduce their barriers further, and several REPs have reactivated industrial policies or found ways to take advantage of gaps in the world trade rules to promote home companies at the expense of foreign companies.

The United States’ ability to persuade these emerging economic powers to embrace the principles of free and fair trade is constrained by growing differences over the role of the state in economic activity. The more interventionist practices and philosophies of REP governments coincide with a desire to maintain “policy space” to promote development of their economies via policies that often appear to violate the letter or spirit of WTO rules and obligations. Persuading the REPs that a strengthened multilateral trading system is squarely in their national economic interests and a way to move their domestic economic reforms forward remains a challenge.

As global power and prosperity is reconfigured, U.S. trade policymakers face a number of overlapping and complex issues relating to the role of future trade liberalizing negotiations, U.S. leverage in influencing REP economic reforms, and the management of the global trading system. Given the checkered history of the Doha Round, future progress on trade liberalization within the WTO may require new approaches. Principles that have guided multilateral trade negotiations in the past, such as unconditional most-favored-nation (MFN) and special and differential treatment (S&D), may need to be reexamined. Similarly, if the United States wishes to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with large and more significant trading partners, it may need to consider deviations from its standard FTA template. At the same time, ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and a potential comprehensive U.S. FTA with the European Union (EU) could serve as incentives for the REPs to view multilateral or bilateral negotiations more favorably.

Strengthening Pre-Departure Orientation Programmes in Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines

September 28, 2012 Comments off

Strengthening Pre-Departure Orientation Programmes in Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines (PDF)

Source: Migration Policy Institute

With overseas employment a more permanent feature of the development strategies of a number of Asian states, predeparture orientation programs have emerged as an important tool for the protection of migrant workers. This brief examines the strengths, limitations, and areas for improvement of this intervention, based on findings from field research conducted in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines.

Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives

May 4, 2012 Comments off
Source:  National Academy of the Sciences
In Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives, a new compilation of peer-reviewed papers, researchers discuss emerging data about the various aspects of aging in Asia. The papers were presented at conferences held in Beijing and New Delhi during 2011 as part of a collaborative effort by NAS, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Indonesian Academy of Sciences, and the Science Council of Japan to prepare for the challenges of population aging.

Rebound from steep drop in demand amid simmering global trade issues : markets for paper, paperboard and woodpulp, 2009-2010

July 26, 2011 Comments off

Rebound from steep drop in demand amid simmering global trade issues : markets for paper, paperboard and woodpulp, 2009-2010
Source: U.S Forest Service

Paper and paperboard consumption declined sharply in 2009 by 9% in Europe and 10% in the United States relative to 2008; just a fraction of that decline was recovered by early 2010. Pulp and paper commodity prices fell in 2009, dropping well below 2008 price levels, but prices began to stabilize by mid-year, and in some cases fully recovered by early 2010. A wave of capacity withdrawals in the form of mill downtime and shutdowns helped stabilize the market balance between product supply and demand. Pulp prices were boosted also by shutdowns of Chilean pulp capacity due to the devastating earthquake in February 2010, and by expanding woodpulp demand in Asia, particularly in China. Global market trends point to a secular shift of growth in paper and paperboard output to Asia, while production has levelled out and declined in Europe and North America. Global trade issues were simmering in 2010: the European Union launched anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes in 2010 concerning coated paper imports from China; the US imposed preliminary countervailing duties on coated paper imports from China and Indonesia. In 2009, Russian Federation exports of market pulp and packaging paper products to China declined as China’s export demand shrank with the global economic crisis. In central and eastern Europe, reduced production due to the downturn in demand from the global economic crisis in early 2009, with production returning to normal levels later in the year. Central and eastern Europe increasingly is becoming incorporated into EU procedures and policies and therefore developments, e.g. costs are similar to the rest of Europe. Green energy production subsidies are a serious threat for the pulp and paper industry in Europe due to strong competition for raw materials.

Country Analysis Brief: Indonesia

June 5, 2011 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Indonesia
Source: Energy Information Administration

Indonesia has the largest population in Southeast Asia and the fourth largest population in the world (behind China, India, and the United States). It is also the world’s third-fastest growing economy. Although Indonesia has been a net importer of oil since 2004, it is the sixth largest net exporter of natural gas, and the second largest net exporter of coal. However, as a result of inadequate infrastructure and Indonesia’s complex business environment, Indonesia has struggled to attract investment sufficient to meet its energy development goals.
Map of Indonesia

Indonesia’s total primary energy consumption grew by nearly 50 percent between 1999 and 2008. Oil continues to account for the most significant share of Indonesia’s energy mix, at 44 percent in 2009. Coal consumption has tripled over the decade, accounting for 29 percent of total energy consumption in 2008, surpassing gas as the second most consumed fuel.

Reproductive contributions of Taiwan´s foreign wives from the top five source countries

May 22, 2011 Comments off

Reproductive contributions of Taiwan´s foreign wives from the top five source countries
Source: Demographic Research

This research studies the reproductive contributions of Taiwan’s foreign wives from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, based on applications of the multinomial logit model to the micro data of the 2003 Census of Foreign Spouses. Wives from China are found to have the lowest lifetime fertility of 1.4 children, mainly because they were more prone to marry later, have a very large spousal age gap, be separated or divorced, and have their current marriage be their second marriage. The effect of wife’s educational attainment on lifetime fertility turned out to be either modest or nonexistent.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

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