Publications List

Comprehensive listing of books, reports, and research on regional cooperation and integration (RCI) in South Asia and relevant global RCI publications, including publications on transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridors in the SASEC region.

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Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2017 Update: Sustaining Development through Public-Private Partnership

Developing Asia is forecast to expand by 5.9% in 2017 and 5.8% in 2018, a slight upgrade from projections in the Asian Development Outlook 2017. However, growth forecast for South Asia is downgraded to 6.7% in 2017. India’s growth remains strong and most South Asian countries are expected to meet or exceed growth forecasts from April. Exceptions are Sri Lanka, where agriculture was affected by drought and floods, and Bhutan, where geological problems have constrained construction on two large hydropower projects. Growth in Nepal surged in 2017 on earthquake recovery but is slowing as agriculture struggles, following severe flooding in August 2017. Inflation forecast in South Asia is lowered to 4.2% for 2017 and 4.7% for 2018. Favorable global commodity prices, good harvests, and prudent macroeconomics are expected.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: Asia, Development, Sustainability, Public Private Partnerships, South Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Agriculture, Bhutan, Hydropower, Energy, Nepal

World Development Indicators 2017

This report compiles statistics on global development, with this years’ database including more indicators covering the Sustainable Development Goals and more data disaggregated by sex, age, wealth quintile, and urban or rural location. The online database (http://data.worldbank.org) now includes more than 1,400 indicators for more than 220 economies (including those from South Asia), with some data series extending back more than 50 years.

Author: World Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: WB, Development, Sustainable Development Goals, South Asia

World Trade Report 2017: Trade, Technology, and Jobs

Economic growth over the last 25 years has been accompanied by unprecedented economic change. Over the past two decades, many countries have experienced significant transformations in the sectoral and occupational structure of employment. This report examines how technology and trade affect employment and wages and analyzes the challenges for workers and firms in adjusting to changes in labor markets. It looks at how governments could increase the positive impact of open trade and technological trade in South Asia and around the world.

Author: World Trade Organization

Year: 2017

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Tags: Trade, ICT, Employment, Global Value Chains, South Asia

Trade Facilitation and Better Connectivity for an Inclusive Asia and Pacific

This report investigates the evolution of trade costs, examines trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation, and highlights key initiatives in South Asia, including efforts by members of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC). The SASEC Trade Facilitation and Transport Working Group agreed to expand assistance to trade facilitation through technical assistance to support more efficient, transparent, secure, and service-oriented processing of cross-border trade across South Asia. Through 2025, the SASEC connectivity agenda will be better aligned with the frameworks of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. To help establish a trade and transport facilitation monitoring mechanism, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal conducted studies that reviewed trade and transport procedures, analyzed bottlenecks, and gave recommendations on trade and transport facilitation.

Author: Asian Development Bank and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2017

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, BIMSTEC, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, India, Myanmar, SASEC, South Asia, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, Transport, UNESCAP

Together We Deliver: 50 Stories of ADB's Partnerships in Asia and the Pacific

This special edition of Together We Deliver tells 50 stories that highlight the importance of good partnerships in Asia and the Pacific in meeting complex development challenges. In South Asia, ADB has supported infrastructure development and social programs, helping lift people out of poverty in a diverse, rapidly urbanizing subregion. The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Roads Improvement Project, for instance, is set to widen 160 kilometers of Nepal’s East–West Highway, which connects Nepal to India. The improved roads will provide faster and better access to social services and economic opportunities, and will facilitate national and regional integration.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: ADB, Economic Corridor Development, India, Nepal, Regional Integration, Roads, SASEC, South Asia, Transport

State of Electricity Access Report (SEAR) 2017

This report presents insights drawn from emerging innovative business and delivery models so that governments, donors, the private sector, civil society organizations, and practitioners could develop interventions to close the electricity access gap. It shows that urgent measures are needed to speed up access to modern energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and that responses will have to be supported by a conducive environment of the right institutions, policies, strategic planning, and incentives.

Author: World Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: Energy, South Asia, Sustainable Development Goals

SARSO News: Vol. 31, No. 2

The South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) newsletter features updates on SARSO events and activities. This issue features the publication of three South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation standards on food quality and safety, and the workshop on the importance of ISO 14001—which aims to help organizations improve environmental performance through the efficient use of resources and reduction of waste—and its impact on the environment and trade. It also has reports on Workshop on Conformity Standards held in New Delhi, India, and the Enhancing Capacity for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for Safe Trade in Animal and Animal Products in South Asia held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Author: South Asian Regional Standards Organization

Year: 2017

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Tags: Agriculture, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, SAARC, SARSO, South Asia, Standardization, Trade

Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2017 Supplement: Cautious Optimism for Asia's Outlook

With export demand stronger than expected in the first quarter of 2017, Asia’s GDP is expected to expand faster than forecast in April in Asian Development Outlook 2017. Developing Asia is now expected to grow by 5.9% in 2017. The smaller upgrade in the 2018 growth forecast—5.7% in ADO 2017 to 5.8%—reflects a cautious view on the pace of the turnaround in external demand. Excluding the newly industrialized economies, growth projections for the region are revised up to 6.4% for 2017 and to 6.3% for 2018. India is expected to achieve April forecasts of 7.4% growth in 2017 and 7.6% in 2018, primarily from strong consumption. Growth projections for South Asia are likewise maintained as prospects remain robust.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: ADB, Development, Export, Bangladesh, India, South Asia

World Trade Statistical Review 2017

The World Trade Statistical Review looks at the last 10 years and examines the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services. The book gives information on the participation of India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian economies in world trade, and highlights trends in the use of trade-facilitating measures. It also gives information on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade agreements, such as the South Asian Free Trade Arrangement.

Author: World Trade Organization

Year: 2017

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Tags: Export, Least Developed Countries, Aid for Trade, SAFTA, South Asia, Trade Facilitation, WTO, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Win-Win: How International Trade Can Help Meet the Sustainable Development Goals

This book aims to demonstrate to policy makers how international trade can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Trade can promote income growth, which can then support sustainable development. In addition, there are also direct links between trade and sustainable development, such as trade’s effect on the price and availability of health, education, energy, and other important services. This book maps out a triple-win scenario where good trade policy spurs international trade, contributes to development-friendly outcomes, and helps achieve the SDGs.

Author: Matthias Helble and Ben Shepherd, eds.

Year: 2017

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Services, South Asia, Sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals

World Investment Report 2017

This report presents foreign direct investment (FDI) trends and prospects at global, regional and national levels. FDI flows to developing Asia contracted by 15% to $443 billion in 2016. This decline was relatively widespread, except in South Asia, where several countries including Bangladesh and Nepal are expected to receive more FDI in the coming years. The report investigates the internationalization patterns of digital multinational enterprises, as well as the effect of digitalization on global companies across all industries. It provides insights to policymakers on how the digital economy impacts investment policies and how investment policy can support digital development, with a view toward achieving the SDGs.

Author: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Year: 2017

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Tags: FDI, Global Value Chains, Investment, Policy, South Asia, UNCTAD, Bangladesh, India, Nepal

June 2017 Global Economic Prospects: A Fragile Recovery

The World Bank forecasts that global growth will strengthen to 2.7% in 2017 amid a pickup in manufacturing and trade, rising confidence, favorable global financing conditions, and stabilizing commodity prices. In South Asia, growth is projected to remain strong at 6.8% in 2017. India is recovering from the temporary adverse effects of the end-2016 withdrawal of large-denomination currency notes. Activity in Bangladesh is moderating, reflecting a pullback in domestic demand and industrial production. Regional growth is expected to steady in 2018-2019, reaching an average of 7.2%, supported by strong domestic demand, a small rise in exports, and strong foreign direct investment. The regional outlook has been slightly revised down from January, reflecting a more protracted recovery in private investment in India than previously expected.

Author: World Bank Group

Year: 2017

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Tags: WB, Bangladesh, FDI, India, Manufacturing, South Asia, Trade

Unlocking the Potential of Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in South Asia

At a modest 6% of total trade, intraregional trade in South Asia stands at less than one third of its full potential. Trade barriers and inadequate infrastructure have cost South Asia over US $54 billion per year in lost export opportunities. With 309 million people living on less than $1.90 a day—the largest concentration of poverty in the world—South Asia should urgently pursue broad-based regional economic cooperation that could enable effective responses to the subregion’s developmental challenges. This report examines the state of economic integration in South Asia and identifies potential areas for further strengthening subregional linkages. It provides recommendations on policy actions to increase market integration, improve connectivity, boost investment in infrastructure development, and tackle shared vulnerabilities and risks. It calls for the consolidation and upgrading of existing trade and investment cooperation initiatives into a South Asia Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2017

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Investment, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, South Asia, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Trade, UNESCAP, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Growth Slowdowns, Middle-Income Trap, and Demographic Profile in South Asia

This paper examines how investment in human capital is critical for innovation. Analyzing the different growth-promoting factors in South Asian economies, with a focus on demographics, and factors that can help shift middle-income countries to high-income countries, it concludes that economic transition is affected by firms’ productive advantages—ability to compete with high-skilled producers, low-wage exporters—and education-based growth, which can help advance the country's technological capacity.

Author: S. P. Jayasooriya

Year: 2017

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Tags: Economics, Employment, Manufacturing, Economic Corridor, South Asia

Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Outlook

This outlook report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) offers an overview of the issues confronting the Asia and the Pacific region in eradicating poverty. Calling for greater synergies and collaboration, this report underscores that climate change and growth policies, including initiatives to improve access to energy and other forms of infrastructure, must also correspond to poverty-reduction strategies. The first knowledge product under a renewed partnership between the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme, this report brings together experts and practitioners in the hope of inspiring new ideas to achieve the 2030 agenda.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank, and United Nations Development Programme

Year: 2017

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Poverty Reduction, South Asia

The Little Data Book on Information and Communication Technology

This book presents quick indicators for more than 200 countries showing data on key indicators of information and communications technology (ICT), including access, quality, affordability, efficiency, sustainability, and applications. It includes data for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Author: World Bank and International Telecommunications Union

Year: 2017

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, ICT, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Asia, WB

ADB Annual Report 2016

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) 2016 Annual Report provides a complete picture of ADB’s performance in the reporting year. In 2016, South Asia sustained its rapid economic growth, expanding by 6.6% despite global headwinds. ADB approved $4.4 billion in loans and grants covering 30 projects in South Asia. ADB also supported the development of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Vision, which articulates the region’s potential as an integrated entity. SASEC countries adopted the partnership’s first comprehensive and long-term Operational Plan covering 2016-2025, defining strategic objectives and operational priorities. The Operational Plan identifies over 200 potential projects requiring more than $120 billion in development assistance over the next five years.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: ADB, SASEC, South Asia

Mekong-Ganga Cooperation: Breaking Barriers and Scaling New Heights

The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) promotes intra-regional collaboration among Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in the areas of trade, tourism, culture, education, and transport and communications. This book reviews how MGC cooperation has grown since MGC's inception in 2000, including expansion of their economic and cultural relations. Under India's Act East Policy, MGC has gained further momentum – endorsing a Plan of Action 2016-2018, and planning extended connectivity of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. This report outlines important discussion points on trade, regional value chains, foreign direct investment, physical and digital connectivity, border connectivity, and cultural relations, to strengthen India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation linkages through MGC.

Author: Research and Information System for Developing Countries and ASEAN-India Centre

Year: 2017

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Tags: ASEAN, India, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Trade, Trade Facilitation

Global Energy Interconnection

Sustainable energy and climate change are major global concerns, yet three billion people around the world rely on wood, coal, or animal waste for cooking and heating. The interconnection of grids would open up opportunities for resource sharing and bring clean energy to much more of the world. This paper assesses benefits and outlines policy, technical, and economic preconditions for global energy interconnection. It analyzes global transmission scenarios and evaluates their impact on energy supplies and the environment. It also gives recommendations for setting standards, and where stakeholder involvement is necessary.

Author: International Electrotechnical Commission

Year: 2017

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Tags: Energy, India, Nepal, Policy, Standardization, Sustainability, Trade, South Asia

Implications of Brexit to the Asia-Pacific Region: with a Focus on Least Developed Countries (Trade Insights: Issue No. 20)

This issue of Trade Insights, published by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, discusses how possible Brexit scenarios could adversely affect least developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Simulation results show that potential reduction in exports to the United Kingdom for fish, clothes, textiles, footwear, and other key items can range from 16% to 50% of their current export value. According to the study, countries heavily exposed to Brexit-induced risks must analyze the extent of such impact and engage the United Kingdom in discussions in order to limit negative impact.

Author: Louis Graham, Arun Jacob, and Anders K. Møller

Year: 2017

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Tags: Asia-Pacific, Least Developed Countries, South Asia, Trade, UNESCAP, India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Asian Development Outlook 2017: Transcending the Middle-Income Challenge

The Asian Development Outlook 2017 forecasts 5.7% growth for developing Asia in 2017 and 2018, and 7% and 7.2% for South Asia in 2017 and 2018. Resumption of growth in South Asia follows the brief slowdown in 2016 due to decline in fixed investment and impact of demonitization on trade and commerce. Growth in India is forecast at 7.4% in fiscal 2017 and 7.6% in 2018. In Bhutan, growth is expected to accelerate to 8.2% in 2017, with expanded investment in hydropower for export, and added capacity in electricity generation. Nepal's growth is expected to revive to 5.6% in 2017 with increased post-earthquake reconstruction and more reliable electricity.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: ADB, India, Bhutan, Nepal, South Asia

Meeting Asia's Infrastructure Needs

This report estimates infrastructure investment needs in Asia and the Pacific for 2016-2030, updating the Asian Development Bank's assessment for 2010-2020 published in 2009. The report places developing Asia's investment needs at $26 trillion to maintain its growth momentum, eradicate poverty, and respond to climate change. While developing Asia's infrastructure, including its transport network and electricity generation capacity, has improved significantly over the years, it remains far from adequate – lack of reliable power supply continues to constrain economic growth and traffic congestion results in lost productivity, wasted fuel, and human stress. The report recommends $14.7 trillion investment for power and $8.4 trillion for transport. South Asia requires investments valued at 8.8% of gross domestic product.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2017

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Tags: Asia, South Asia, Energy, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, ADB, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal

South Asia’s Turn: Policies to Boost Competitiveness and Create the Next Export Powerhouse

Will South Asia become the next global factory? By 2030 more than a quarter of the world’s working adults will live in South Asia. As the work force ages and labor costs rise in China and other East Asian countries, many eyes turn to South Asia. According to this report, to realize the region’s potential, countries in South Asia should increase regional and global integration, take advantage of agglomeration economies, strengthen firm capabilities, and improve the business environment.

Author: Gladys Lopez‐Acevedo, Denis Medvedev, and Vincent Palmade

Year: 2017

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Regional Integration, South Asia, Trade, WB

Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016: Recent Trends and Developments

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016 reports that the Asia-Pacific region is still the largest exporter of goods globally, with a share of 40%. Its share in commercial services trade is also on the rise, while restrictiveness of services trade has not increased. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows is also growing at a much faster pace compared to the global average, with special economic zones being used as one of the modalities to attract FDI. India, in particular, has been attracting an increasing portion of FDI inflows, both from outside and inside the region. While economies in Asia and the Pacific continue to make progress toward trade facilitation, there are still huge gaps among subregional economies, with much needing to be done to reduce trade costs. Furthermore, efforts undertaken to reduce trade costs through trade facilitation have been partially offset by imposition of a large number of new trade distortive measures globally and regionally, with most of these new measures falling under the non-tariff category.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2016

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Tags: Export, Trade Facilitation, Non-Tariff Measures, FDI, South Asia, India, Special Economic Zones

Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports: A Comprehensive Assessment of Performance, Drivers, and Costs

As a result of inefficiencies in South Asia’s container ports, the average cost of exporting or importing a container in the region is more than double that in East Asia. Better port logistics could help increase trade, diversify exports, attract more foreign direct investment, and spur economic growth. As container traffic continues to grow in South Asia, the best way to improve port performance is by increasing productivity. This report examines the performance of the 14 largest container ports in the region, identifying key drivers of port performance and examining differences in performance across ports.

Author: Matías Herrera Dappe and Ancor Suárez-Alemán

Year: 2016

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Tags: Customs, Economic Growth, FDI, Infrastructure, Investment, South Asia, Trade, WB

Connecting Bangladesh: Economic Corridor Network

Economic corridors anchored on transport connectivity could significantly boost Bangladesh's economic growth. This paper presents a new set of corridors for Bangladesh – a nine-corridor comprehensive integrated multimodal economic corridor network that will enhance Bangladesh’s role as land bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and between South Asia and northern Asia. These proposed corridors are designed to sustain robust economic growth over the long term by improving regional connectivity, transit, and integration, alongside trade facilitation measures.

Author: Mohuiddin Alamgir

Year: 2016

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Tags: Economic Corridor, Bangladesh, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Connectivity, Transport, Trade Facilitation

Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability

As South Asian economies improve, they have the potential to greatly improve their prosperity and livability for the people of the region by improving their state of urbanization. Messy and hidden urbanization that leads to slums and sprawls is the result of failure to address congestion constraints arising from rapid growth of urban populations. This book examines the state of South Asia's urbanization – it reviews gaps in markets and policies that have hindered its proper growth, and discusses key policy areas that must be undertaken, including improvement in housing provisions, infrastructure, and basic services.

Author: Peter Ellis and Mark Roberts

Year: 2016

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Tags: Economic Corridor, Urban Development, Governance, Sustainability, South Asia, Social Services

South Asia Economic Focus, Fall 2016: Investment Reality Check

South Asia continues on a path of gradual acceleration in 2016, led by a solid India. However, amid the resilience to external headwinds, including China’s slowdown and uncertainty surrounding monetary policy in advanced economies, South Asia is starting to feel the effect of slowing remittance flows or waning oil price dividends. Against this backdrop, this World Bank publication forecasts growth for the region at 7.1% in 2016, with its medium-term performance strongly dependent on investment and export turnout. India is set to grow at 7.6% in 2016, with the same speed as in 2015, but may increase its pace again in 2017 to 7.7%. The report highlights how private investment is a key future growth driver across South Asia that could help further boost the pace of economic activity.

Author: World Bank

Year: 2016

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Tags: India, South Asia, Investment, Economic Growth, WB, Export

Regional Integration in South Asia: Essays in Honour of Dr. M. Rahmatullah

Building efficient transport linkages within and across countries in South Asia is crucial to development of production networks and value chains, and promotion of trade and investment. This collection of essays honors Dr. M. Rahmatullah, who championed the cause of multimodal connectivity in South Asia for seamless movement of goods across Asia, and dreamt of building an integrated South Asia through corridors and gateways to be connected with pan-Asian transport networks. A valuable resource for policymakers, academics, and practitioners working on issues of South Asian regional integration, this book looks at progress made on facilitating trade and enhancing connectivity in the region, assesses policy priorities, implementation imperatives, and emerging challenges to South Asian trade and integration, and gives recommendations on further strengthening South Asian integration.

Author: Prabir De and Mustafizur Rahmant

Year: 2016

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Tags: Transport, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Connectivity, South Asia, South Asian Economic Union

Improving Energy Efficiency in South Asia

This paper examines areas where the efficiency of South Asian power systems could be significantly increased, such as the operation of thermal power plants and transmission systems. It also looks at ways to increase conservation by users through time-of-use electricity tariffs, appliance standards, and demand control through smart metering. It concludes that South Asia has a significant potential for energy efficiency improvement in the power sector, which can be realized by implementing policies and programs that can readily complement the existing institutional framework.

Author: Priyantha Wijayatunga and Tilak Siyambalapitiya

Year: 2016

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Tags: Energy, ADB, South Asia

Disaster Risk Financing in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is disaster-prone, with frequent severe floods and cyclones. Applying appropriate disaster risk financing is key to minimizing economic impacts from disasters, and sustaining the country’s development. This paper analyzes economic losses in Bangladesh caused by natural disasters from 2000 to 2013 and the funding gap, due in part to insufficient financial preparedness in disaster risk management.

Author: Mayumi Ozaki

Year: 2016

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, South Asia

The Little Data Book 2016

The Little Data Book 2016 offers a quick reference of World Development Indicators 2016, presenting the latest available data for World Bank member countries and other economies in 214 tables. Regional and income group aggregates are also covered in the 12 summary tables, including South Asia. The book includes selected indicators used to monitor progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

Author: World Bank

Year: 2016

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Tags: Sustainability, South Asia, Economic Growth

Improving Regulatory Environment for a Regional Power Market in South Asia

Countries in South Asia continue to experience poor access to energy, energy shortages, and concerns for energy security. Bilateral energy trading, with its limited scope, leaves untapped the vast economic, reliability, and environmental benefits of energy cooperation in the region. Improving access to modern energy sources through regional cooperation contributes toward economic growth, and better and more sustainable living conditions in South Asia. Regional energy cooperation supports the development of regional primary energy sources to generate electricity, cross-border transmission infrastructure, and a regional framework that will coordinate energy resource development and trade of electricity across the region. However, this will only be possible with appropriate policies and harmonized legal and regulatory frameworks in all necessary systems. Experience across the world indicates that such legal and regulatory changes can be accomplished successfully.

Author: Anoop Singh, Priyantha Wijayatunga, and P. N. Fernando

Year: 2016

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Tags: Energy, Regional Cooperation, South Asia

SARSO News Volume 2, Issue 2

The South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) newsletter features updates on SARSO events and activities. This issue highlights initiatives by SARSO to harmonize standards and improve conformity assessment in the region through workshops, and also meetings of its sectoral technical committees. It also discusses the Cooperation Agreement signed by SARSO and the International Organization for Standardization, to help facilitate the flow of goods and services, and participation of SARSO in a meeting organized by the private sector on 'Promoting Trade in Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal' region.

Author: South Asian Regional Standards Organization

Year: 2016

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Tags: Standards, Trade Facilitation, SAARC, BBIN, South Asia

Asian Development Outlook 2016 Supplement: Asia's Growth Prospects Undimmed by Brexit Vote

Recent global developments have prompted revisions to developing Asia's 2016 and 2017 growth outlook, as published in March in Asian Development Outlook 2016 (ADO 2016). Uncertainty following the British vote to leave the European Union chilled already tepid recovery in the euro area. While developments have affected developing Asia’s currency and stock markets, its impact on the real economy in the short term is expected to be small. This Supplement expects the region to expand by 5.6% in 2016 and 5.7% in 2017. India has shrugged off global headwinds and is expected to grow by 7.4% in 2016 and 7.8% next year. South Asia as a whole will be the region’s fastest growing subregion.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2016

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Tags: ADB, South Asia, Development

The Little Green Data Book 2016

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put environmental concerns on par with economic and social ones. The environment cuts across all the SDGs and is directly reflected in at least seven goals. The 2016 Little Green Data Book provides 50 indicators for 200 countries. Several indicators have the potential to measure progress on the SDGs as well as highlight important trends in the environment more broadly. The indicators are part of the larger World Development Indicators compiled annually by the World Bank from many different data sources.

Author: World Bank Group

Year: 2016

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Tags: Energy, Environment, South Asia, WB

Connecting Asia: Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia

This book contains background papers prepared for the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank Institute joint study, 'Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia.' It emphasizes the potential contribution to growth that greater connectivity—through better transport and energy infrastructure and improved soft infrastructure, including trade facilitation—between South Asia and Southeast Asia can foster. With benefits including greater participation in global supply chains for South Asia; lower trade costs; and increase in inter- and intraregional trade, the book underscores that, at a juncture where closer regional integration can secure sustainable and inclusive growth for economies in the two regions, specific policies should be examined and considered to enable both regions to maximize gains from greater integration.

Author: Michael G. Plummer, Peter J. Morgan, Ganeshan Wignaraja, eds.

Year: 2016

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Tags: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy, ADB, Economic Corridor, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka

Asian Development Outlook 2015 Supplement: Growth Holds Its Own in Developing Asia

This Supplement maintains growth forecast for developing Asia at 5.8% in 2015 and 6.0% in 2016. In South Asia, economic outlook remains optimistic, with the region on track to meet Update projections of 6.9% in 2015 and 7.3% in 2016. India's economic expansion balances a slowdown in Bhutan—owing to weaker sales of hydropower—and the Maldives in 2015, and in Nepal in 2016—due to unfavorable weather and unforeseen delays in earthquake-related reconstruction. Growth projections for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka remain in line with those in the Asian Development Outlook Update.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: ADB, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Joint UNRCs Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation Survey 2015: Global Report

This Report features results of the first UNRCs Joint Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation, providing an overview of the current state of trade facilitation implementation in 119 economies across 8 regions worldwide. Though this Joint Survey finds that global average implementation rate of trade facilitation measures considered in the report stands at 52.9%, South Asia ranks below 40%. In the authorized operators and establishment and publication of average release times - categorized under the formalities measures - South Asia ranks below 10%. However, the region fares better in the institutional and cooperation measures, in particular with the recommendation to establish National Trade Facilitation Committees, with this measure most implemented in South Asia. The Report ranks India as the region's top performer in implementation of trade facilitation measures.

Author: United Nations Regional Commission

Year: 2015

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, South Asia, Customs

Regional Transport Infrastructure: Mapping Projects to Bridge South Asia and Southeast Asia

This Asian Development Bank (ADB) brief highlights the critical role of transport infrastructure in bridging South Asia and Southeast Asia. It maps details of economic corridors and highways, railroads, and seaports, and identifies priority transport investment projects needed to link the two subregions. While an investment of $986 million in road transport and $2.3 billion in sea ports may be needed to create proper connectivity between the two regions, the study's conservative estimate of potential benefit ranges from $89 billion to $358 billion over the next decade - demonstrating how investment in infrastructure can pay huge dividends in the medium- and longterm.

Author: Peter Morgan, Mike Plummer, and Ganeshan Wignaraja

Year: 2015

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Tags: Transport, South Asia, Southeast Asia

Lessons for South Asia from the Industrial Cluster Development Experience of the Republic of Korea

Growth of manufacturing is crucial for economic growth and poverty reduction. This report highlights the industrial cluster development policy of the Republic of Korea, including its success factors in terms of policy implementation, and the promotion of industrial cluster development, drawing lessons that could enhance industrial growth in South Asia. It discusses how the government encouraged increase in exports through relevant policies and adapted to more technology- and knowledge-intensive industries which required innovation-driven policies. The experience outlined in the report could benefit large-scale industrial promotion in South Asia, such as the Economic Corridor Program in India.

Author: Jong-il Kim

Year: 2015

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Tags: South Asia, Industrialization, Economic Corridor, Trade, ADB, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Building Firm-level Trade Competitiveness in Emerging Economies

This paper -- produced under the E15 Initiative and implemented jointly by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and World Economic Forum -- seeks to understand the framework of competitiveness and its implications for international trade. It discusses issues related to firm-level competitiveness, including the determinants; quality tools and models to address it, especially in developing economies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs); importance of diffusion and learning with a focus on SME growth; and specific policy interventions to improve firm-level competitiveness.

Author: Sharmila Kantha

Year: 2015

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Tags: Firms, SME, Trade, Development, Sustainability, India, South Asia, Energy

Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific: Thinking Forward About Trade Costs and the Digital Economy

Aid for Trade (AfT) flows have increased each year since 2006 in Asia and the Pacific. While regional aggregate trade costs continue to fall, many subregions still struggle with trade costs that are substantially higher than the global average. This report highlights and explores how AfT contributed to these emerging trends in Asia and the Pacific and how to continue to address trade costs moving forward. Among the subregions, the Pacific (along with South Asia) has made the greatest improvements in the Logistics Performance Index from 2007-2014. Recent exporter surveys reveal a movement toward niche products and leveraging of e-commerce as a means to overcome cost and distance. Emerging digital technologies such as e-commerce further offers a new set of opportunities for economies in the region to grow through trade.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: Aid for Trade, Asia-Pacific, ICT, South Asia, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Agriculture, Energy, Transport

Maldives: Overcoming the Challenges of a Small Island State – Country Diagnostic Study

The Maldives has propelled itself to middle-income status despite the geographic constraints and challenges of a small-island state. It has one of the lowest poverty rates in South Asia, although wide regional disparities in poverty rates and high-income inequality continue to be a concern. Growth – primarily driven by the tourism sector – has also been vulnerable to external shocks. As the Maldives moves toward a more sustainable and inclusive growth strategy, transport infrastructure is critical to help address the country’s connectivity issue and reduce the cost of doing business. This report identifies the critical constraints to inclusive growth in the Maldives and provides policy recommendations to sustain economic growth and hasten poverty reduction.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: Maldives, Small Island Developing States, Transport, Connectivity, Policy, Poverty Reduction, South Asia, Tourism

SAARC: The Way Ahead

This Observer Research Foundation Issue Brief examines the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation as a regional grouping that is almost three decades old. It discusses trade arrangements such as the South Asian Preferential Trading Arrangement aimed towards a higher level of intraregional trade liberalization and economic cooperation, including the South Asia Free Trade Area for reduction of Customs duties on traded goods. The paper further studies areas of energy, connectivity, foreign direct investment, trade in services and subregional cooperation. The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program is offered as one of the steps in the direction of having a viable option for subregional cooperation.

Author: Jayshree Sengupta

Year: 2015

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, SAARC, Trade, Connectivity, Energy, FDI, Investment, Free Trade Agreements, Services, South Asia

How Much Could South Asia Benefit from Regional Electricity Cooperation and Trade?

This paper assesses the potential economic benefits of cross-border electricity cooperation and trade in South Asia from 2015 to 2040. It focuses on the possibilities of unlimited power flow across borders in response to regional demands and investment in generation and transmission to cost-effectively meet those demands. The study quantifies the potential economic benefits that South Asia could reap if the countries engage with full regional electricity trade and cooperation. Among South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries, Bhutan and Nepal have the potential to cost-effectively supply electricity from hydroelectric resources in excess of their own demands; Bangladesh and India are likely to become more dependent on higher-cost coal as well as natural gas to generate electricity. The countries of the South Asia region also have non-coincident demand peaks across the year, implying gains from trade.

Author: The World Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: Energy, South Asia, Trade, Bangladesh, India, SASEC

Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2015

The 2015 edition of ESCAP’s Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific highlights inclusive growth as a prerequisite for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and critical for effective implementation of the sustainable development agenda post-2015. It also contains proposals to improve the pattern of public expenditures and increase access to financial services. Economic growth in South and South-West Asia increased in 2014, led by stronger macroeconomic performance in India, but remained far below its pre-crisis pace. While the near-term outlook is optimistic and conditional on continued domestic reform in large economies, limited intraregional trade within the sub-region could limit positive spillovers into relatively smaller economies. A key reform area is broadening the tax base and stemming of tax evasion to lower public borrowing and help address severe power shortages.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2015

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Tags: Asia-Pacific, Economic Growth, South Asia

Asian Development Outlook 2015 Supplement: Growth Prospects Soften for Developing Asia

This Supplement revises growth projections for developing Asia published in the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2015 in March, as slower-than-expected recovery in the United States and moderating growth in the People’s Republic of China weigh on the region’s prospects. Economic outlook for South Asia is stronger growth in the subregion as a whole in 2015 than forecast in ADO 2015, now bumped up slightly to 7.3% from 7.2%. The projection for 2016 remains the same at 7.6%. By individual countries, stronger growth is estimated for Bangladesh in FY2015, but slower growth is projected for the Maldives and earthquake-struck Nepal.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: Development, Economic Growth, South Asia

A Critical Disconnect: The Role of SAARC in Building the DRM Capacities of South Asian Countries

This report evaluates the disaster risk management (DRM) efforts of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in the last ten years as a regional organization, and assesses its impact in supporting the DRM national capacities of member states. Published after the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, the publication underscores the critical role SAARC plays in building a common regional vision for DRM. It recommends focusing on priority activities that can assist member states in implementation of policies at a sub-national level; opening itself to support by external donors; and enhancing its training program through regional training of trainers by the SAARC Environment and Disaster Management Centre.

Author: Stacey White

Year: 2015

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Tags: SAARC, Disaster Risk, South Asia

Clean Energy and Access to Infrastructure: Implications for the Global Trade System

This paper focuses on how international trade rules could better accommodate renewable energy trade through fixed infrastructure. It explains the World Trade Organization disciplines relevant to trade in clean energy via fixed infrastructure, in particular General Agreement on Trade in Services disciplines on energy services and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade transit rules. Finally, it suggests policy options to adopt existing rules to the challenges of integrating clean energy transported via fixed infrastructure.

Author: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Year: 2015

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Tags: Energy, Trade, WTO, India, South Asia, Sustainability, Tariff

Cross-Border Electricity Cooperation in South Asia

Strengthening cross-border electricity cooperation in South Asia can be part of the solution for providing adequate and reliable electricity. This World Bank Policy Research Working Paper reviews the status of cross-border electricity cooperation in South Asia, identifies key regional-level barriers to expand cross-border cooperation and trade in South Asia, and discusses the extent to which current domestic sector policies impede greater cross-border electricity cooperation. Finally, the findings offer policy recommendations on increased cross-border trade and cooperation.

Author: Anoop Singh, Tooraj Jamasb, Rabindra Nepal, and Michael Toman

Year: 2015

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Tags: Energy, Regional Cooperation, Regional Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, South Asia, Sri Lanka, Trade, Trade Policy, WB

Key Recommendations: South-Asia Consultation on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the Asian Development Bank organized the South Asia Consultation on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Nagarkot, Nepal on 26-28 August 2014. This Nagarkot Statement contains the eight guiding principles for future goals, key messages and recommendations on South Asia’s development priorities, financing for a post-2015 development agenda to support sustainable development, and technology access, including data, monitoring and accountability.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2015

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Tags: South Asia, Sustainability, ICT

Connecting South Asia and South East Asia

This book analyzes how closer regional connectivity and economic integration between South Asia and Southeast Asia can benefit both subregions. It aims to build a broad case for increased connectivity between the two regions and identify specific projects that have high potential to fulfill this objective. This joint study focuses on both “hard” infrastructure and associated “soft” infrastructure, including tariffs and non-tariff barriers, trade and transport facilitation, energy trading, and infrastructure investment and financing. It further provides a canvas for considering strategic cross-border infrastructure investments and policy reforms.

Author: Asian Development Bank Institute and Asian Development Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Connectivity, Economic Corridor, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka

Asian Development Outlook 2015: Financing Asia’s Future Growth

The Asian Development Outlook 2015 forecasts that the 6.3% rate of gross domestic product expansion achieved in 2014 will continue into 2015 and 2016. This is supported by a strengthening recovery in major industrial economies and soft global commodity prices. It also projects growth in South Asia to accelerate to 7.2% in 2015, and 7.6% in 2016. Developing Asia needs a deep, robust financial sector to sustain growth, and policymakers are challenged to ensure inclusive financial sector development and financial stability to enhance growth and equity.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2015

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Tags: Asia-Pacific, South Asia, Financial Sector

Electricity Consumption, Output, and Trade in Bhutan

This ADB South Asia Working Paper examines the relationship between electricity consumption, international trade, and economic growth using an augmented production function framework. The findings show that Bhutan is energy-dependent and can promote economic growth through future investment in hydropower. More specifically, the results show that a 1% increase in (i) electricity consumption generates 0.03%-0.05% increase in output, (ii) total trade results in 0.5% increase in output, (iii) trade openness results in 1% increase in output.

Author: Hooi Hooi Lean and Russell Smyth

Year: 2015

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Tags: Energy, Trade, Bhutan, ADB, South Asia, Hydropower

Gender Dimensions of Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Gender and Safe Mobility – Promising Global and Regional Practices

This technical report analyzes global practices related to gender equality and safe migration, and their applicability to the context of South Asia. "Hard" aspects, such as physical infrastructure and equipment including border infrastructure, passenger holding facilities and surveillance cameras, and "soft" aspects, such as regional, bilateral and/or country-specific policies, programs, mechanisms and institutional linkages of safe mobility, are presented. The report also presents national policies and procedures that promote safe mobility. Given the lessons drawn from the reviewed policies and practices, it highlights the need for stronger evidence-based approaches in understanding the complex experience of women migrant workers, and identifies the need for more regular peer exchange through periodic regional dialogues of key stakeholder groups.

Author: International Organization for Migration

Year: 2014

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Tags: Gender, Migration, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport, Trade

Gender Dimensions of Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Gender, Trade and Green Growth (Volumes I and II)

This technical report presents an analysis of the interconnection between gender equality, regional trade and sustainable development in selected areas of four South Asian countries. In general, the report found women's contributions to total exports of all countries to be low, and in green exports to be lower. It identifies constraints and challenges, such as limited training in entrepreneurship, gender stereotypes related to green trade, existing gaps in policy framework, and weak access to technology, hindering women's participation in three green trade industries - agriculture and agro-processing, renewable energy, and ecotourism. The report looks at possible entry points for women, and recommended a list of actions to tap these identified entry points, including the need for greater exchange and cross-fertilization of experience among associations of women entrepreneurs and women’s chambers of commerce in South Asia.

Author: Shreyasi Jha, Ritu Dewan, Amee Misra, Saloni Singh, Navanita Sinha, Maheen Sultan and Sonam Tobgay

Year: 2014

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Tags: Gender, Trade, Sustainability, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

Developing Economic Corridors in South Asia

This book describes key conditions for transforming transport corridors into economic corridors and establishes the rationale for developing economic corridors, and the related benefits from production value chains along those corridors. It further emphasizes the significant potential of economic corridors in South Asia, particularly those being developed under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program. The chapters highlight the impact of trade barriers on bilateral trade and present case studies on trade facilitation in South Asia. Countries in the subregion would benefit by working closely to exploit the full economic potential of economic corridors.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: Economic Corridor, South Asia, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, ADB, SASEC, Bilateral Trade, Transport

Unlocking Bhutan’s Potential: Measuring Potential Output for the Small, Landlocked Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan

The hydropower sector has driven Bhutan's economic growth in the past two decades with growth rates averaging 7.9%. Yet, the economy has not been invulnerable to market fluctuations and external shocks. This ADB South Asia Working Paper analyzes how Bhutan can create sustainable and inclusive growth, alongside the continuous expansion of its hydropower industry. It examines how certain policies can impact Bhutan's potential growth over 2013–2030. Results show that higher investment in education, health, and efforts to diversify its economic base—including enhancement of new industries with linkages to regional and global value chains—can further drive economic growth and improve the country's living standards.

Author: Sabyasachi Mitra, Sarah Carrington, and Anthony Baluga

Year: 2014

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Tags: Bhutan, Energy, Economics, Hydropower, ADB, South Asia, Sustainability, Global Value Chains, Economic Growth

Regional Transit Agreement in South Asia: An Empirical Investigation

This discussion paper published by the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment assesses the potential gains of a sub-regional transit arrangement and the removal of other border-trade barriers, particularly the eastern South Asia sub-region (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal). It also discusses the link between transit and trade flows, provides profiles of intra-regional transit trade and current transit arrangements in South Asia, and identifies efficient regional transit corridors using linear programming or the Data Envelopment Analysis model.

Author: Prabir De and Arvind Kumar

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Trade, Transport, Economics, Economic Corridor, SASEC, SAARC, UNESCAP, Customs, Harmonisation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka

Global Production Networks and Economic Corridors: Can They Be Drivers for South Asia’s Growth and Regional Integration?

This Asian Development Bank South Asia Working Paper examines the role of regional and national economic corridors in facilitating access of South Asian countries to global production networks (GPNs), particularly East Asia and Southeast Asia. It also reviews the state of regional trade integration and examines the nature of engagement in South Asia, specifically India, with its dynamic and high growth GPNs. The paper further identifies key factors that constrain engagement of South Asian countries with East and Southeast Asia in GPN trade.

Author: Kunal Sen

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Global Production Network, Economic Corridor, ADB, Regional Integration, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Regional Integration in South Asia: Trends, Challenges and Prospects

This study presents an assessment of trade and economic cooperation among South Asian nations, explores emerging challenges, and highlights policy issues to foster regional integration. It provides perspectives on potential new areas of cooperation such as investment, regional supply chains, energy, and cross border transport networks. The four areas of focus are: potential gains from South Asian regional integration, key areas for cooperation resulting in effective regional integration, country perspectives of regional cooperation, and case studies on bilateral cooperation. This volume aims to further contribute to policy discourse on effective regional cooperation with perspectives from Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Author: Mohammad A. Razzaque, Yurendra Basnett (Eds.)

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Regional Integration, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Energy

NTMs in South Asia: Assessment and Analysis

The study “NTMs in South Asia: Assessment and Analysis” analyzes how Non-tariff Measures (NTMs) give rise to non-tariff barriers, which are becoming increasingly crucial for advancing trade cooperation among member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, yet remain less-addressed. The study examines export potential and actual export of South Asian countries, and attempts to highlight gains from reduction in transaction costs in bilateral trade. It also notes that initiatives for trade facilitation reforms in South Asia at the regional level remain low in incentives and have yet to produce significant results. The study closes with several recommendations for reducing and eliminating NTMs.

Author: Selim Raihan, Mostafa Abid Khan, and Shaquib Quoreshi

Year: 2014

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Trade, SAARC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, South Asia, Sri Lanka

Review of Maritime Transport 2014

The Review of Maritime Transport is an annual UNCTAD flagship publication since 1968. It provides analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports and shipping, freight markets, and transport and regulatory frameworks. It further presents statistics, data, and insights on ownership of the world fleet, with South Asia dominating the market for ship recycling. This year’s special chapter focuses on the challenges faced by the world’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and reviews shipping-related challenges resulting from SIDS size, remoteness, and exposure to natural hazards, including impacts of climate change.

Author: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Year: 2014

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Tags: Transport, Ports, Small Island Developing States, UNCTAD, Trade, South Asia, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

SASEC Website Brochure

This promotional brochure for the SASEC website features the web portal as a one-stop shop for information on SASEC activities, events, projects, and knowledge materials. The SASEC website seeks to build a dynamic discussion platform and repository of data on regional cooperation.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: SASEC, Knowledge Product, ICT, ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, South Asia, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Energy

SASEC Trade Facilitation Strategic Framework 2014-2018

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Strategic Framework 2014-2018 builds on the momentum of member countries over recent years in forging ahead with many significant improvements to facilitate, and ultimately increase, trade in the subregion and with the rest of the world. It supports the mission of the SASEC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy “to promote the prosperity of the subregion by facilitating the efficient movement of trade across the borders”, and focuses on five priority areas: customs modernization and harmonization; standards and conformity assessment strengthening; cross-border facilities improvement; through-transport facilitation; and institution and capacity building.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Regional Cooperation, Transport, Trade, Customs, Standards, Harmonisation, Regional Integration, ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Asia

World Trade Report 2014 – Trade and Development: Recent Trends and the Role of the WTO

This annual publication highlights the relationship between trade and development, including changes since the start of the millennium. It identifies four key trends that altered the way trade affects development outcomes – accelerated economic growth in developing countries, expansion of global value chains, increase in agricultural and natural resource prices, and global nature of macroeconomic shocks. This report also explores how these trends have reshaped the role of trade in facilitating development and how recent development gains allow developing countries to adapt and mitigate risks.

Author: World Trade Organization

Year: 2014

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Tags: WTO, Global Value Chains, Trade, Economic Growth, Agriculture, Trade Facilitation, Development, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, South Asia, Sri Lanka

South Asia Economic Focus: The Export Opportunity

This bi-annual report presents the recent economic developments, outlook, and policy of the following South Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It highlights developing country growth as fairly robust. Meanwhile, India’s growth rate is slowly increasing and its inflation rate declining. South Asian economies solidified their external positions by easing pressures to finance current account deficits, yet face domestic challenges such as reducing fiscal risks, supporting higher levels of investment, and sustaining export growth.

Author: The World Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Trade, Economics, WB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Asian Development Outlook 2014 Update: Asia in Global Value Chains

As developing Asia continues along a stable growth path, India maintains a 5.5% growth forecast for 2014 and shows promise of a turnaround. Reforms are envisioned for 2015, including a forecast 0.3% upgrade to 6.3%. Bhutan recorded the largest current account deficit as a percentage of GDP, due to imports used in construction of several large hydropower projects that will expand its energy export capacity to India. Meanwhile, South Asia is expected to perform with greater momentum in 2015, with a growth forecast upgrade to 6.1% from 5.8%. Most of the improvements in the subregion are from India’s deficit and Bangladesh’s current account. Nepal also shows improved outlook for 2015.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Global Value Chains, India, Economics, Trade

Economic Implications of Deeper South Asian–Southeast Asian Integration: A CGE Approach

High tariff and non-tariff barriers, and costly transport links and inefficient trade facilitation measures continue to hamper the growth of trade between South Asia and Southeast Asia. This paper explores whether potential gains from improved connectivity—via Myanmar as inter-regional bridge—justify a high level of investment. Using an advanced computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, reduction of inter-regional tariffs, decreasing of non-tariff barriers by 50%, and cutting down of trade costs between South Asia and Southeast Asia by 15% yields a prediction of 8.9% rise in welfare in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and an increase of 6.4% in gross domestic product by 2030.

Author: Ganeshan Wignaraja, Peter Morgan, Michael Plummer, and Fan Zhai

Year: 2014

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Tags: Transport, Trade Facilitation, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Regional Integration, Tariff, Trade, Connectivity, Investment, Myanmar, GDP

Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia

This book discusses the economic costs and benefits of unilateral and regional actors on climate change adaptation in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It provides the total economic loss throughout the 21st century and estimates the funding required for adaptation measures to avert potential losses. Huge impacts are likely on vulnerable sectors in the region, with South Asia losing on average nearly 2% of its gross domestic product by 2050. Results of the study will aid climate change adaptation in the region, including initiatives for regional cooperation.

Author: Mahfuz Ahmed and Suphachol Suphachalasai

Year: 2014

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Tags: Climate, South Asia, Regional Cooperation, Energy, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Nepal: Development Effectiveness Brief 2014

Nepal has the potential to achieve more inclusive growth and can largely benefit from regional cooperation and integration with its developing neighbors. It is also benefiting from South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation, a flagship ADB-supported program that promotes economic cooperation and integration in areas of trade facilitation (custom modernization and transport connectivity), power development, trade, and tourism development. This brief further explores ADB’s contribution to inclusive development and poverty reduction, energy, and transport. Exporting energy when surplus is available is one way of meeting seasonal demand by subregional cooperation and power trade. Transport infrastructure is also another key ingredient to equitable, inclusive growth that can address challenges such as lack of market access, inadequate roads, and poor connectivity.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: Nepal, Regional Cooperation, South Asia, ADB, Connectivity, Energy, Roads, SASEC, Trade, Transport

Energy Security, Sustainability, and Affordability in Asia and the Pacific

Energy security, sustainability, and affordability from 2010 to 2035 for Asian Development Bank’s Asia and Pacific members are calculated in this working paper, including potential benefits of integrating energy systems regionally. Based on business-as-usual and alternative scenarios, outlook on SASEC member countries by 2035 include (i) dramatic improvement in Bhutan's energy efficiency, (ii) slight decrease in Bangladesh's energy intensity—although carbon dioxide will increase in its primary energy mix, as dependence on fossil fuels rise, and (iii) decrease in energy self-sufficiency of SASEC member countries by 2035, but improved energy affordability. Since renewable energy sources and importation of energy may be capital-intensive, requiring additional tariff support, regional cooperation can enhance affordability and energy security—with Bhutan and Nepal standing to benefit greatly from energy integration in South Asia.

Author: Norberto Fueyo, Antonio Gómez, and César Dopazo

Year: 2014

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Tags: Energy, Bhutan, Nepal, Sustainability, Asia-Pacific, ADB, Regional Integration, SASEC, South Asia, Bangladesh, Sustainability, Renewables, Tariff, Regional Cooperation

The Role of Sri Lanka in Enhancing Connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia

As Sri Lanka rebuilds at the end of a 30-year conflict, its progress in improving physical infrastructure—including the Colombo port expansion and other programs for new expressways and road connectivity—has been significant. Yet, the country has seen a sharp decline in its overall exports-to-gross domestic product ratio. How Sri Lanka can benefit from greater connectivity with its neighbors in South Asia and Southeast Asia is discussed in this paper. Trade policies geared towards enhancing regional integration efforts could boost Sri Lanka's economy. Additionally, to lessen the challenges of financing and sustaining implementation of planned infrastructure development efforts, Sri Lanka could also implement a more stringent institutional and regulatory environment encouraging more private sector participation.

Author: Dushni Weerakoon and Nipuni Perera

Year: 2014

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Tags: Trade Policy, Trade Facilitation, Sri Lanka, Connectivity, South Asia, Southeast Asia, ADB, Transport, Regional Integration

Policies to Enhance Trade Facilitation in South Asia and Southeast Asia

This Asian Development Bank Institute publication identifies the state of play of trade facilitation and provides an overview of intra- and inter-regional trade in South and Southeast Asia. It highlights key challenges and bottlenecks to effective trade facilitation, ranging from the lack of expert human resources such as information technology specialists in small landlocked countries (Bhutan and Nepal), to the high border transaction costs and severe congestion faced at border crossing points, and the lack of effective dialogue on bilateral enhancement of trade facilitation. Regional initiatives such as the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program aim to address these challenges through customs modernization and harmonization, automation, and the use of international best practices in border procedures.

Author: Anthony Bayley

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy, Southeast Asia, ADB, ICT, Bhutan, Nepal, SASEC, Customs

The Global Enabling Trade Report 2014

The Global Enabling Trade Report offers a tool to monitor progress on implementing measures for the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Benchmarking the performance of 138 economies in four critical areas, including border administration, the Report takes off from the success of the Bali package by emphasizing measures that facilitate trade at a more practical level, with benefits that significantly outweigh the cost of necessary reforms and produces positive spillover effects on other indicators—market access, infrastructure, and operating environments. Also mentioned are insights on further boosting trade facilitation within the region, such as regional cooperation and sharing of good practices. The Report is intended as a motivator for change at a time of renewed momentum for trade facilitation where windows of opportunities for policymakers to push through trade-enabling measures are open.

Author: Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, Thierry Geiger, Sean Doherty (eds.)

Year: 2014

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, South Asia, Sri Lanka

The Merits of Regional Cooperation: The Case of South Asia

This book makes the case for a re-strengthened South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), arguing that regional integration is a key factor for countries in South Asia to succeed economically and increase confidence among potential foreign investors. SAARC's inroads in improving border crossings, transport routes, and infrastructure are improving weak levels of trade within the region. However, these efforts are insufficient; they need to go hand-in-hand with further improving bilateral relations – and SAARC is in a good position to facilitate these negotiations. Spanning a wide range of subjects, including international relations, strategic affairs, environment, politics and economic issues, the publication aims to show the huge potential of South Asia as a region.

Author: Siegfried O. Wolf, Paulo Casaca, Anne J. Flanagan, and Cátia Rodrigues

Year: 2014

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, ASEAN, Bangladesh, Europe, India, SAARC, South Asia

SAARC Biz: The Inevitability of South Asia

SAARC Biz is a monthly publication of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry and features a report on the 'Inevitability of South Asia'. While the term 'South Asia' is commonly accepted, it argues that regionalism is far from being implemented on the ground. For instance, SAARC was accepted as a concept of cross-border regionalism but was hobbled due to budget constraints and restrictive mandates. Connectivity across national frontiers is needed to jump-start regionalism and improve lives in the most deprived parts of the Subcontinent.

Author: SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Year: 2014

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Tags: South Asia, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, Industrialization, Regional Integration, Poverty Reduction, Gender, Least Developed Countries, Connectivity, Agriculture, Bangladesh, Youth, India, Environment, Investment, Tourism, Renewables

Asian Economic Integration Monitor - April 2014

The Asian Economic Integration Monitor, a semiannual review of regional economic cooperation and integration in Asia covers regional economic updates, intraregional trade, financial integration and investment, and the importance of disaster risk financing instruments. The Theme Chapter: Insuring Against Asia’s Natural Catastrophes discusses market solutions and the role of government in developing disaster risk financing and strengthening financial resilience. The economic update section encourages strengthening regional cooperation in surveillance and financial safety nets, and deepening economic links. Inter-subregional trade between each subregion and the rest of Asia is rising, except in South Asia, while financial integration continues to deepen across the region.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2014

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, South Asia, Disaster Risk, Climate, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Transport

Lose to Gain: Is Involuntary Resettlement a Development Opportunity?

This book examines how displaced persons recover from physical and economic displacement in the South Asian context using resettlement case studies from India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Despite improvement in national policies and willingness to enforce good practices, the level of involuntary resettlement good practices in South Asia varies widely. There is need for greater commitment, legal reforms, and adequate resources to ensure that involuntary resettlement becomes a development opportunity for all project-affected persons.

Author: Perera, Jayantha (ed.)

Year: 2014

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Tags: India, Nepal, South Asia, Resettlement, Bangladesh, Energy, Renewables, Sri Lanka, Transport

Beyond Factory Asia: Fuelling Growth in a Changing World

This paper assesses the challenges of Factory Asia – a model of regional networks connecting production centers in different Asian economies. It forms part of regional and global value chains and constitutes an important source of growth in the region. Regional cooperation is vital to the success of Factory Asia, which calls for greater South-South cooperation to leverage knowledge in domestic manufacturing, allowing countries such as India to leapfrog to higher value chains. For Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with small domestic markets, strategic options include carving out a niche in lower-value manufacturing. The paper further argues that policymakers should be wary of expanding or increasing the number of free trade agreements for the growth or spread of production networks.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: South Asia, Regional Cooperation, Trade Policy, Manufacturing, Exports, Small and medium enterprises, India, Agriculture, Bangladesh

South Asia Energy Security: Challenges and Opportunities

The imbalance between the growing demand for energy in South Asia and the countries' uneven energy resources has led to weakened energy security in the region. Import dependence from outside the region has become a costly solution. As countries in South Asia move to expand their economies, fostering cross border energy trade and promoting energy investment opportunities could be a better alternative to resolving the energy deficit. However, energy cooperation within South Asia is challenged by major issues that could impede regional energy trade that is beneficial for all.

Author: Bhupendra Kumar Singh

Year: 2013

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Tags: Energy, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Trade, Hydropower

Reducing Poverty by Closing South Asia's Infrastructure Gap

This report takes a critical look at inter-and intra-regional infrastructure of South Asia and explores inequality of access across space and time. It gives an approximate total cost of regional infrastructure needs and investment trends in the South Asia region, along with a proposed framework on ranking of infrastructure needs. The report also examines better usage of existing resources and policy options to help the poorest gain better access to infrastructure. Finally, it recognizes the enormity of infrastructure deficiencies in South Asia and acknowledges that a good mix of infrastructure investment and supportive reform implementation will enable the region to close the infrastructure gap.

Author: Luis Andrés, Dan Biller, and Matías Herrera Dappe

Year: 2013

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Tags: Transport, South Asia, Infrastructure, Energy, Roads, Railway, Water Supply, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives

Attracting Foreign Direct Investment: What Can South Asia's Lack of Success Teach other Developing Countries?

Despite South Asian nations experiencing increased foreign direct investment (FDI) flows over the past decade by gaining a large share of cross border investments, FDI inflows in South Asian countries still remain the lowest relative to gross domestic product (GDP) among developing country regions. This paper uses an empirical model that accounts for possible trends in convergence in the ratio of FDI to GDP between countries and cross-sectional data for 78 countries from 2000 to 2011. In examining the historical patterns of South Asia’s FDI and its connection with the policy environment, policymakers can identify constraints to FDI and boost potential for broad-based growth.

Author: David M. Gould, Congyan Tan and Amir S. Sadeghi Emamgholi

Year: 2013

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Tags: South Asia, Trade Policy, FDI, GDP, Investment, Governance, Transparency, Economic Growth, Financial Sector, Regional Cooperation, Trade

UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2013

This UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics provides essential data for analyzing and measuring world trade, international financial flows, investment, and development. It documents the south-south trend led by developing Asia and reveals how exports among developing countries remain centered in the Asian region. The share of south-south trade in total world exports doubled over the last 20 years to over 25 per cent. Apart from The People's Republic of China and other major petroleum and gas exporters, India is among the countries that have most expanded their south-south trade during the last two decades.

Author: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Year: 2013

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Tags: South Asia, Statistics, Trade, India

Climate Action South Asia: Information Update No. 4 (Addressing Climate Risks in Development Interventions)

This Climate Action South Asia information update provides an introduction to the systemic approach employed by the South Asia Department (SARD) of the Asian Development Bank in developing a climate risk screening framework. Localized climate impact assessments using extensive geophysical information and downscaled high-resolution climate data were applied in six South Asia country projects to analyze natural hazards in project areas and climate-related risks to the project investment.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: Climate, South Asia, Infrastructure

South Asia Economic Focus: A Wake-Up Call

Global capital re-balancing has highlighted structural weakness and vulnerability in South Asia, acting as a wake-up call for policy makers.

Author: World Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: South Asia, Trade Policy

SASEC Overview Brochure

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal to strengthen connectivity, promote economic growth through trade, and help unleash the tremendous potential of this strategically vital area of South Asia.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Regional Integration, SASEC

Same Energy, More Power: Accelerating Energy Efficiency in Asia

Energy efficiency is often defined as delivered energy service per unit of energy supplied into a system. Among the range of technology options that exist to provide energy service, energy efficiency approaches are the most cost competitive.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: Energy, South Asia, Energy Efficiency, Investment, Hydropower, India, Infrastructure

Financing Low-Carbon UrbanDevelopment in South Asia: A Post-2012 Context

The cities of South Asia are growing at an unprecedented rate. Currently, the region accounts for 5 of the world's 26 megacities (Delhi, Dhaka, Karachi, Kolkata, and Mumbai),with Kolkata and Mumbai being the most dense. The urban population in India is expected to increase by 20.8 percentage points between 2010 and 2050 compared to 7.8 percentage points in Latin America and the Caribbean. These trends necessitate bold efforts in project design and financing to steer this rapid urbanization onto an inclusive, green, and low-carbon urban development path.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: Climate, Energy, India, South Asia, Kyoto Protocol, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

Climate Action South Asia: Information Update No. 3 (The Economics of Climate Change in South Asia: Adaptation and Impact Assessment)

Analyses show that the cost of early action on climate change in South Asia is lower than the cost of damage brought about by climate change impacts. In physical terms, the region will face water shortage and agricultural food production losses, which are vital to achieving poverty reduction and other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: Economics, Climate, Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, South Asia, Milennium Development Goals, Sustainability, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Poverty Reduction, Hydropower, Energy

Climate Action South Asia: Information Update No. 2 (Economics of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in South Asia: Options and Costs)

The study Economics of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Options and Costs in Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka reveals excellent opportunities in low-carbon green growth by pursuing resource- and energyefficient technologies that would lower emissions of greenhouse gases at low cost or even cost saving (benefits).

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2013

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Tags: Economics, Climate, Climate Change, Economics, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Energy, Environment, Sustainability, ADB, Nepal, Development, Hydropower

Climate Action South Asia: Information Update No. 1 (Development in an Era of Accentuated Climate Risks)

To steer South Asian economies toward green, low-carbon, and climate-resilient development and for these to take hold in South Asia, the countries need (i) better understanding and greater public awareness of the implications of climate change, (ii) climate risks screening and decision-support tools for identifying actions and managing results, (iii) improved governance and institutional capacities to take necessary actions to manage climate change impacts, (iv) funding sources for such actions, and (v) projects and programs demonstrating positive results that can be scaled up.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2012

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Tags: Economics, Climate, Climate Change, Environment, Sustainability, South Asia, Development, Economic Growth, ADB

Regional Cooperation and Integration Through Cross-Border Insfrastructure Development in South Asia

This paper aims to identify the links between cross-border infrastructure development and poverty reduction. With South Asia being home to around 40% of the world's poor, there is a great need to boost intraregional trade through greater cooperation and integration. Regional integration promises to increase the region's capacity to connect with global production networks and participate in the global economy with greater efficiency.

Author: P.V. Srinivasan

Year: 2011

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Poverty Reduction

RCI Digest 2011 Special Feature (October to December) Volume No.1- Issue No.5

ADB supports RCI in South Asia in four ways: (i) subregionally through the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program, (ii) regionally through the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), (iii) interregionally through the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and (iv) through collaboration with networks of regional policy research institutes.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2011

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, South Asia, SASEC, BIMSTEC, Policy, ASEAN

Gas Hydrates Resource Potential of South Asia

The amount of natural gas worldwide is estimated to be greater than the entire world’s conventional natural gas resources, which makes gas hydrates a potential energy resource for the future. This document reviews the status of technology regarding exploration and exploitation of gas hydrates, as well as research initiatives by India and other countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It also suggests a mechanism for technology transfer and promotion of research and development in the SAARC region.

Author: SAARC Energy Centre

Year: 2010

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Tags: Energy, South Asia, SAARC

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