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Volume 1/April 2011

Freedom from Want

60 Years Later, Is It a Free World? On January 6


1941 the United States’ President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to the U.S. Congress about the globally emerging principles of civil liberties. He mentioned the four fundamental freedoms of humankind, which later inspired the United Nations Charter: Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of worship, Freedom from want, Freedom from fear. President Roosevelt was speaking in Washington DC, but he was speaking on and to the whole world. In fact he repeated at the end of every one of the four definitions of freedom his vision “everywhere in the world”. There was neither an emerging “globalization” at that time nor any emotional feeling of the end of the second Millennium. But Roosevelt had a strong sense of urgency: “That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation”. The President’s estimate on the time required to build a truly free world was proved wrong by history. Many political leaders in the following cold-war era fought for one or two freedoms they preferred, forgetting the others. Even today, in a much less ideologically divided world, there are political leaders in G8 countries who think that “Freedom from Want” is just a communist goal, a kind of non essential optional for the free world. Roosevelt concluded his speech by saying that “The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society”. 60 years later a humankind where governance of global public goods will be truly cooperative is still in the making. I am glad and honoured to launch our new magazine on human development, which will share experiences of practitioners who are applying the blunt simplicity of Roosevelt’s grand vision. Readers, including nay-sayers, are welcome to contribute facts and opinions. It’s a free world!

Sandro Calvani

Volume 1/April 2011


Freedom from Want


Freedom from Want

Volume 1: April 2011 60 Years Later, Is It a Free World?


Sandro Calvani

Dev.2: Re-thinking and Re-designing Development Aid


Giulio Quaggiotto

ASEAN Accelerates the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals


Staff Report

Cover by Muhary Wahyu Nurba

The HDI Tree: A Visual Representation of 8 the Human Development Index Cesar A. Hidalgo, Alex Simoes and Isabel Meirelles

Managing and Advancing Knowledge on Millennium Development Goals: 300 AIT Projects to Facilitate the Attainment of MDGs

Editor Sandro Calvani

Publication Staff 10

Mahbooba Amin Detty Saluling Abramo Abderrahmane Chabib Tania Albertini

Abramo Abderrahmane Chabib

Changing Faces of Poverty and Food Security in South-East Asia


Mokbul Morshed Ahmad

Partnership with the Private Sector for 16 Sustainable Development: Joining Forces in the Race to Achieve the MDGs Leena Wokeck

Combating Corruption and Transnational Illicit Threats: A Must for Sustainable Development



David Luna

Book Review Detty Saluling

Freedom from Want is a quarterly publication published by the ARCMDG. The views and opinions expressed in the Magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the ARCMDG or AIT.


ASEAN Regional Center of Excellence on MDGs Asian Institute of Technology P.O. Box 4, Klong Luang Pathumthani 12120, Thailand Tel: +66 2 524 6722 Fax: +66 2 516 2126 Email: Website:

Volume 1/April 2011

Dev.2: Re-thinking and Re-designing Development Aid Giulio Quaggiotto 1

Random events or emerging patterns?

Last year the NGO charity:water decided to do something many development players would balk at: they filmed a well being drilled, live, in the Central African Republic. It was a particularly challenging drill and there, in front of the cameras, in front of their donors and supporters, they failed in real-time. (Not surprisingly, they earned lots of praiseI for their transparency). In Bangalore, the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy launched “I paid a,” an initiative aimed at tapping into “crowdsourced” reports from citizens who are victims of corruption. Their objective is “perhaps for the first time,” to provide a snapshot of bribes occurring across the city and use the emerging evidence for advocacy purposes2. As I am writing this article, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has for the first time formally requested the support of the Standby Volunteer Task Force, an organic coalition of volunteer crisismappers groups (profiles range from logistics specialists to retirees) to set up a Crisis Map of LibyaII that will support humanitarian operations in the country. This follows events such as the Random Hacks of Kindness “hackathonsIII” where disaster response specialists from the World Bank joined forces with developers from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and volunteers from the software engineering community to develop software applications that can help in some of the toughest humanitarian crises. It is still in the early days, but I like to think that the elements of novelty which these phenomena point to are not occasional or a manifestation of the “technoutopia” which has

plagued so many development initiatives in the past. Rather, they signal a new approach to development and are a direct response to the challenges and quest for renewal that the whole sector is experiencing. The limitations of an aid system designed more than 50 years ago to respond to the complexities of the modern world are becoming increasingly evident.

Time for soul-searching

Perhaps the most effective and concise articulation I have come across of the anxiety that is permeating our sector comes from Tod Moss, Vice President of the Center for Global Development in a recent articleIV entitled “Development Policy of the Future… and Why We Aren’t Ready.”3 Moss identifies three key trends that are likely to shape the future of development: a drastically smaller number of poor countries (the number of IDA countries is expected to halve in the next 10 to 15 years); the end of the traditional “aid cartel” with many new players coming to the fore (most notably, from the private sector); the dwindling of public-sector aid money. These trends, he argues, are likely to result in “an escalating demand for value for money” (the recent release of DFID’s Multilateral Aid reviews, with its emphasis on “good value for money for UK aid” is a good case in point). Furthermore, tightening the belt is likely to call for the development of public goods that have impact beyond one single country: farewell, country level programming. Finally, as development issues become more complex and transboundary (as in the case of migration or climate change), the demand for aid tools that go beyond the traditional toolkit of development organizations is likely to increase. Traditional players in the development world, Moss concludes, are not ready for these trends.

1 UNDP BRC Knowledge Management practice leader. Contact: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily represent the view of UNDP. 2 Similar attempts at tapping into citizen reporting are going on across the world to tackle issues ranging from sexual harassment of women ( in Egypt to counterfeit medicines in Africa, from tracking the progress of Russian politicians in fulfilling their promises ( to highlighting cases of human trafficking. 3 See also the follow up piece from Andy Sumner: Aid 2.0: What does aid look like with drastically fewer poor countries? (


Freedom from Want

new tools to do things in the old way, “radical innovators” were embracing technology in an attempt to change the business model of traditional development at its core.

What has emerged since then?

It seems to me that I can point to at least four trends:

© Muhary Wahyu Nurba

Enter Development 2.0

While it is hard to disagree with Moss’ conclusion, I would argue that examples like the ones mentioned above point to emerging patterns that perhaps indicate that the “underbelly” of the development sector is getting ready for change after all. In 1998 a Brookings Institute book V , dubbed the phenomenon “Development 2.0,” pointing to the entry of new players in the development scene, the availability of new technologies and the increasing impact of mass collaboration (while others more recently argued it is already time for Foreign Aid 3.0VI). In a groundbreaking speechVII at Georgetown University last year, calling on development economists to go “from hubris to humility” and embrace hands-on experience, World Bank President Robert Zoellick coined a motto for the new era: “Open Data, Open Knowledge, Open Solutions.” So what are the tenets of the Development 2.0 era? A collection of buzzwords would include phrases like: open data, crowdsourcing, wisdom of the crowds, geolocation, simulation games, microvolunteering, citizen reporting, real-time, data exhaust and social innovation. Early pioneers like or Ushahidi, now mainstream names, are perhaps its obvious flagbearers. Mobile phones are its key platform (as the EconomistVIII reminded us recently). Haiti, the food crisis and, more recently, events in the Arab world have been turning points in focusing public attention and debate on the role that social media can play in development.

1. The emergence of real time: regardless of where one stands in the debate on the role of social media, it is hard to deny the potential benefits of being able to harness real-time the “information shadowX” being increasingly generated from the developing world (an eventXI and reportXII sponsored recently by the UN Global Pulse made this point convincingly). Real time reporting from the field will complement and perhaps eventually replace many of the current reporting systems. 2. New interfaces: one way in which traditional development players have tried to harness the skills and (often volunteer) energy of many new, nimble players in the development arena has been through the setting up of devoted interfaces. Here’s how the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery Labs initiative defines its mission: “The mission of the Labs is to bridge the gap between technology communities and the Bank’s Disaster Risk Management programs to inspire innovation.4" 3. New professional profiles: open data evangelists, social innovators, crisis mappers, and data architects are already being hired. As I wrote in the pastXIII, I believe this is a sign of things to come. The ability to handle vast amounts of data, in particular, is likely to become a key differentiator among development organisations.

4. Transparency and process innovation: one area that holds great promise for the Development 2.0 sector is process innovation to increase efficiency and accountability5. I like to think, for example, that Akvo’s real simple reporting approachXIV, with its emphasis on transparency and simplifying reporting requirements, will become Back in 2009, I made a modest attempt to increasingly common. By the same token, summarise a 13-step guide for change in by making geocoding common practice, XV the Development 2.0 Manifesto.XI At its core a whole new level of transparency and a new lay the observation that while many were using

4 Unicef’s Innovation Unit and the UN Global Pulse ( are other examples that come to mind. Challenges such as USAID’s App for Africa are also attempts at bridging the gap between the technology and development communities 5 For example: Can approaches like MIT’s Konbit ( or the Peace Dividend Marketplace ( index.html) change local sourcing or labour in the wake of a crisis or a conflict? Can simulation games like the World Bank’s Evoke or IBM’s CityOneo be used to go beyond the usual suspects and tap into new perspectives for effective policy making? Do projects like I Paid a Bribe ( or the Caucasus Conflict Voices ( point to new ways of “doing” anticorruption and peacebuilding?

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granularity of analysis can be enabled that can provide donors and policy makers with better insights for decision-marking.

Perhaps we are getting ready, after all

Are these developments enough to counter Moss’ observation that we are not ready for the development policies of the future? Probably not. But perhaps they do point to some potential solutions to the challenges he identified. Take for example the emphasis on “value for money.” Approaches like real simple (and real-time) reporting and geocoding can play a role in determining investment decisions. And one can imagine that in a not so near future donors might want to demand the presence of effective interfaces to tap into crowdsourced volunteer resources as a precondition for disbursement and a way to make their development dollars go further. And is a platform like UshahidiXVI, which has found such a variety of applications all over the world an example of the “public goods” that we should be focusing on? Finally, aren’t the opportunities opened up by social media a way for both traditional and new players (both on the donor and recipient side) to make up for the deficiencies in their skill sets and embrace new strategies to harness complexity? As the example of charity:water’s Live Drill (and the subsequent promising launch of shows, perhaps one of the most intriguing promises of Development 2.0 is that of letting the counternarrative of “hands-on experience” finally emerge to allow for less linear responses to what are increasingly complex issues. I II III IV V globaldevelopment2point0.aspx VI foreign_aid VII O R G A N I Z AT I O N / E X T P R E S I D E N T 2 0 0 7 / 0 , , c o n t e n t M D K : 22721298~menuPK:64822341~pagePK:64821878~piPK:64821912~ theSitePK:3916065,00.html VIII IX X 10194 XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI


Freedom from Want

© Muhary Wahyu Nurba

The draft ASEAN roadmap for Collective Action Towards the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has its roots in the Joint Declaration on the Attainment of the MDGs in ASEAN, adopted at the 14th ASEAN Summit in 2009. In 2008 a study on poverty reduction and social development in ASEAN was conducted in collaboration with the Australian Government. The report of the research proposed to group all the ASEAN MDG efforts into a broad timeframe and to establish a foundation upon which ASEAN as the group leader could plan a way forward to support ASEAN Member States (AMS) in attaining MDGs, rather than focusing on individual sectoral MDGs. On January 24 and 25 2011 a workshop was organized by the ASEAN secretariat in collaboration with UNDP Regional Office and ARCMDG to facilitate the consultation on the development of the same roadmap1. The roadmap draft is focused on five key areas: advocacy, knowledge management, resources, expertise and regional co-operation. 1. With regard to advocacy, the challenges include keeping national and regional stakeholders, such as governments, civil society, private sector and media, to strongly focus on MDGs in AMS in order to initiate Regional activities to supplement and support national efforts on MDGs. The appropriate focal points in AMS and with other partners should be identified in order to facilitate a linkage of the Roadmap with national development plans. Recognizing the importance of

1 This article represents a short summary of the main issued tabled at the mentioned workshop, for public information purpose, and it does not represent an official report. The contents of this article do not necessarily represent the views of the mentioned Institutions. The draft Roadmap is under on-going consultation process among concerned organizations and bodies.

ASEAN Accelerates the Attainment of the Millennium Development Goals FFW Staff Report

MDGs advocacy at national level there is a need to engage national donors, given the nexus between action at national and regional level which should complement each other. The scope of advocacy should include broadening of understanding of poverty in ASEAN. The factors that influence poverty are interlinked and interdependent, therefore enhanced dialogue between livelihood, gender, education and sanity sectors is fundamental. The MDGs Roadmap should be seen as a tool for Member States to narrowing the social and development gaps in the region and building the ASEAN Community by 2015. ASEAN’s collective actions as a group should be seen as supplementary to the individual efforts of AMS. 2. To enhance knowledge management, sharing knowledge, best practices, statistics on MDGs among AMS, and increasing the link to UN sources on MDGs are the priority actions. AMS should continue to share progress report on MDGs with ASEAN to facilitate the strengthening of statistics on MDGs and on data monitoring. Publication of best practices and case studies should be considered for ASEAN future actions, such as those on Cambodia. Linkages to best practices outside ASEAN are also important, in order to widen the ASEAN knowledge and development practices. 3. Regarding resources, the two major components, financial and human resources, should be increased and shared in all possible ways. Fostering development

partnerships among AMS and outside the region should be considered as an effective way to match the MDGs with appropriate resources capacity. 4. The attainment of MDGs requires appropriate expertise, in the form of capacity building, institutional strengthening and technical assistance. AMS should mobilize skilled technical experts to assist AMS at all level of MDGs implementation by leveraging the know-how available at country and regional level and the capacity of the UN bodies. Good practices, which have proved to be effective to enhance sustainable development, should be replicated. 5. Regional cooperation is essential for a good governance of regional public goods. A strong collaboration with global initiatives should be established by the different ASEAN sectoral bodies since global development aid plans, including those on climate change, represent a good opportunity to improve and broaden the ASEAN action. Civil society and private sector should play a relevant role in this regard. Appropriate reporting on the development of the roadmap will become a monitoring platform for the ASEAN Member States in order to exchange, share and compare ideas, views, data and best practices.

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The HDI Tree: A Visual Representation of the Human Development Index

Cesar A. Hidalgo1,2, Alex Simoes1, Isabel Meirelles3 *The article is reproduced from the Let’s Talk Human Development blog of the Human Development Report website of UNDP (


field of Human Development competes with many other activities to grab our attention. Unlike campaigns promoting a healthy diet, however, Human Development does not have a “food pyramid” that can be used to help convey its message or to show the progress that the world has made during the last few decades. Human Development is complex, and we need ways to remember its multidimensional structure and introduce its concept to others.

Visual Metaphor (The HDI Tree)

The HDI is an attempt to simplify and communicate the complexity of human development using a numerical representation. Yet, there are alternatives to these numerical representations that have not been explored much in the context of the HDI. In 2010 we explored, together with the Human Development Report Office, the use of visual representations ( global/hdr2010/papers/HDRP_2010_39.pdf) as an alternative to the mathematical forms currently used to aggregate the HDI. HDI is a composite measure of one health, one income and two education indicators, which are aggregated numerically through a set of formulas that reduce all these dimensions to a single number. To keep the information on the dimensions that get aggregated away when aggregated numerically, we proposed representing the HDI graphically as a tree, in which the aggregate value represented the trunk, and its components and subcomponents represented higher and higher branches (Fig 1). By using appropriate design rules for the sizes of each branch we preserve the information encoded in the mathematical definition of the HDI, and augment it, by providing a representation that allows differentiating between countries that might differ in HDI structure despite having a similar aggregate HDI value (Fig 2). 1The Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2Center for International Development, Harvard University 3Department of Art and Design, Northeastern University


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Mathematical Representation

Diagramatic Representation

HDIx: Human Development Index; EDUx: Education Index; GNIx: Income Index; HEALTHx: Health Index; MYSx: Mean Years of Schooling Index; EYSx: Expected Years of Schooling Index Background Paper: Graphic Statistical Methods for the Representation of the Human Development Index and Its Components. CA Hidalgo, Human Development Research Paper 2010/39 (2010) Figure 1: The HDI Tree a visual alternative to represent the HDI

Figure 2: Philippines, Botswana and Gabon. Three countries with similar HDI values, but different HDI structures that are made clear using the HDI tree.

The HDI Tree: An alternative Representation of the HDI

The HDI Tree is a visual representation used to illustrate the Human Development Index together with its components and subcomponents. The design rules of the HDI tree are: ♦ The height of the tree trunk is proportional to the total value of the HDI ♦ The side of the tree branches are proportional to each sub-indicator ♦ The branches are ordered in increasing order from left to right ♦ The color of the trunk is the average color of the components

The HDI Tree Grammar

The visual language used in the HDI Tree is easy to learn. The height of the tree trunk is proportional to the total value of a country’s HDI, and the size of each of the branches is proportional to the value of each of the HDI components (education, health and income). The fact that the branches are next to each other makes comparisons relatively easy. There are two more design rules that complete the HDI tree “grammar”. First, the branches for the three HDI components are sorted from left to right, in ascending order. This makes it easier to see which components contributed the most or least to an HDI value. Second, the color of the trunk is equal to the weighted average of the colors of the three components. This detail reinforces the information already in the tree and helps, from a design perspective, to connect the trunk with the branches.

So what are the potential benefits of having a visual representation for the HDI?

Visual representations allow us to perform operations, such as sorting and comparing, much faster than numerical representation. This makes the HDI tree a form of representation that is useful when considering a large number of countries. The HDI Tree can also show the lopsided nature of some countries’ development, which is something that numerical representations, due to their aggregate nature, are blind to and cannot communicate effectively. We certainly do not need HDI Trees to run cross-country regressions, yet we probably do not want to be bound to the exclusive use of numerical representation when explaining Human Development to children or creating PowerPoint presentations for time-constrained/ attention-deprived grown-ups. HDI Trees can also represent an alternative way to communicate the message of Human Development to a wider audience and might be a useful resource for outreach and awareness campaign. For all of the above reasons, we believe that the HDI tree might be useful as a complement of the HDI numerical representation. Through this post, we are glad to make available a tool on the HDR website that allows anyone interested in using the HDI tree as an alternative and complementary form of representation, to create its own graphics. The interactive tool can be accessed here. (

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Managing and Advancing Knowledge on Millennium Development Goals: 300 AIT Projects to Facilitate the Attainment of MDGs Abramo Abderrahmane Chabib

A well known proverb suggests that “God will rise someone’s status who possess a knowledge”. Evidence in socio-economic research on sustainable development suggests that people’s quality of life improves significantly when people acquire knowledge that contributes to human progress and development. AIT promotes technological advancement and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region through higher education, research and outreach. Since 50 years the Institute is widely recognized for its multinational and multi-cultural ethos. Furthermore AIT develops strong partnerships with relevant institutions, governments and the private sector to facilitate innovative collaborations for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals through knowledge management of effective development practices. AIT has expanded its established range of educational and research oriented activities through innovative outreach endeavours, carried out with development partners from all parts of the world. More than 300 projects are ongoing. AIT development oriented Centers of excellence include the following:

AIT Consulting It was established with the mission to enhance the application of science and technology to development in Asian region. It provides higher standard services in the field of science, engineering and technology through knowledge, information and expertise sharing.

CSR Asia Center at AIT CSR Asia is a joint venture partnership between CSR and AIT and brings together the strengths of the two founding or ganizations. It contributes to knowledge development and assists private sector on the impact of climate change.


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ASEAN Regional Center of Excellence on Millennium Development Goals (ARCMDG) ARCMDG mission is to catalyze the achievement of MDGs in ASEAN countries and elsewhere through capacity building. Programs are carried out in close collaboration with ASEAN Secretariat, governments, UN agencies and CSOs. Center of Excellence (CoEN) in Nanotechnology With its innovative poor-man’s nanotechnology approach, COeN supports innovative research in the region also training experts with cutting-edge cross-disciplinary research. COeN promotes public and industrial awareness of nanotechnology.

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Sustainable Development in the Context of Climate Change (SDCC) SDCC goal is to enhance the AIT’s research efforts providing an effective platform to discuss and launch new initiatives to address issues on sustainable development and climate change.

WHO Collaborating Center The Center provides technical expertise and consulting to WHO, its Member States and development partners. Specific researches on health impact assessment, health risk assessment and environmental management for health risk reduction are given to collaborating institutions.


GeoInformatics Center The center primary mission is to create training opportunities for regional organizations to help in capacity building. International training courses in GIS and its related material are also provided.

United Nations Environment Programme (AIT/UNEP) Regional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific UNEP RRC.AP was established in 1989 to provide technical assistance with capacity building and informed decision making in accordance to UNEP’s MTS priorities and implementation program in Asia and the Pacific.

Yunus Center at AIT

United Nations Office at AIT

The center is the result of collaboration between Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and AIT in order to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development by promoting, developing, disseminating and implementing social business ideas and projects.

UNAIT’s focal point is to increase cooperation and interaction between AIT and various UN agencies at regional and local level on common issues such as climate change, environmental preservation, biodiversity and water and sanitation.

Asian Center for Transportation Studies (ACTS)

Energy and Environment Partnership with the Mekong Region

ACTS aims to enhance the role of knowledge dissemination in improving road safety for rural communities. ACTS provide also road safety training programs for countries’ officials.

EEP aims to support wide provision and use of renewable energy and to combat climate change. Projects are funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Nordic Development Fund.

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Volume 1/April 2011

Changing Faces Of Poverty and Food Security in South-East Asia 1

Mokbul Morshed Ahmad 2


-East Asia has experienced rapid economic growth in the past two decades. With this changing situation disparities within countries have sprung up and have posed a major challenge for this region. Though income poverty and other forms of poverty are still deeply rooted in rural areas of Asia and the Pacific, the region is undergoing significant economic, political, technological, social and environmental changes which are likely to have a major impact on the conditions of the rural poor and their ability to lift themselves out of poverty.

and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities or assets while not undermining the natural resource base.

According to UNDP (2008), South-East Asia has done remarkably well in both economic growth and poverty reduction. But the rate of economic growth alone does not determine that the livelihood of the rural poor is really improving. The dynamics of economy on the rural livelihoods needs to be examined at a greater depth.

Income disparities have become more differentiated across the SEA countries, with Thailand, and Viet Nam having higher per capita incomes when compared to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar, to this day among the eight least developed countries in Asia. Among the wealthier group, Thailand stands out with a per capita GDP in 2005 of more than double the average regional income of $875, and about fifteen times that of Myanmar, seven times that of Cambodia, five times that of Lao PDR, four times that of Viet Nam. Overall, poverty incidence and magnitude has decreased substantially since the start of the regional cooperation. Significant progress has also been made in improving education, expanding sanitation coverage and improving health outcomes.

Currently, seventy-five per cent of the world’s poor people live in rural areas of developing countries, and nearly three fourths of the poor in South-East Asia live in rural areas. A large majority of them are dependent on agriculture. By international standards, South-East Asia has done extremely well in both economic growth and poverty reduction. The sub region’s economic growth rate during the past 25 years averaged about 5.0 per cent per year, while the corresponding figures for Asia and the world were about 3.9 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively (Arsenio et al, 2005). At most, general measures of poverty reduction must link into people’s livelihood that consist of the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses

Poverty and Inequality

Irrespective of the national income levels, poverty is consistently higher in rural areas than in urban areas in all SEA countries, with the highest incidence in remote, upland areas where ethnic communities live. Thailand is the less poor, but its mountainous areas are much poorer than its lowlands, just like in Lao PDR and Viet Nam.

In summary, the largest reductions in poverty have been for those countries – Thailand, Malaysia and Viet Nam – that show the biggest proportionate gains with regard to trade, investment and economic growth. Due to sustained growth, these countries have already accomplished the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to ‘eradicate extreme poverty and hunger’, by meeting the internationally set

1 This article is a shortened version of “Changing Faces of Poverty and Food Security in South-East Asia: Constraints and Opportunities”. The full version is available on the online version of “Freedom from Want” at: 2 Associate Professor, Regional and Rural Development Planning, School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. E-mail:


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© Muhary Wahyu Nurba

target of halving, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people living below the poverty line.

Food security

Food security statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2008) shows that the number of undernourished from seven countries in South-East Asia was around 82.9 million in 1990-1992 and it decreased to 62 million in 1995-1997. By 2001-2003 the number of undernourished was around 60.7 million thus a small change has happened when compared with number from 1990-1992 to 1995. According to Food security statistics from seven countries, in 1990-1992, Vietnam was the country that had the highest percentage of proportion of undernourishment at 31% of population and Malaysia had the lowest percentage of undernourishment at 3% of population. Nevertheless, in 1995-1997, the country that had highest percentage of proportion of undernourishment was Lao PDR at 28% of population and Thailand and Lao PDR were the countries that had the highest percentage of proportion of undernourishment at 21% in 2001-2003.

“A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities or assets while not undermining the natural resource base.” and others like Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Philippines are making progress but too slowly to meet the target.

Often, the poorer the people, the more closely their welfare is linked to the condition of the natural resources they rely on. Typically, poorer communities, especially, those in rural upland and marginalized areas, who traditionally depend on the use of natural resource for their basic livelihood, carry the heaviest burden from this unprecedented over-exploitation and rapid destruction of natural resources. Moreover, in recent years, some of these areas have witnessed an increase in migration into fragile ecosystems from outsiders in search of better opportunities. The ensuing competition for scarce water In South-East Asia, the overall proportion of resources, land degradation, over-grazing, rapid children underweight seems to be quite high at industrialization, uncontrolled large-scale 26% and in the top list comes the countries like logging has led in the gradual erosion of Lao PDR which has the rate higher than 40%. traditional system of trust, authority and This high rate indicates that most of legitimacy in the management of natural resource, the countries in South-East Asia are not likely a trend which has in turn lead to their further to meet the MDG target of reducing marginalization. the proportion to half between 1990 and 2015. In the countries like Cambodia and Indonesia Read the full article at: since 1990, the proportion has not fallen at all

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Partnerships with the Private Sector for Sustainable Development: Joining Forces in the Race to Achieve the MDGs Leena Wokeck 1

In 2010, a year the UN Secretary General

Striking the balance between MDG Goals 1 – where growth is needed to alleviate poverty - and 7 - where the wrong kind of growth threatens environmental sustainability as “business as usual” continues to exert pressures on the planet that would require Kemal Dervis (then UNDP Administrator )1 several of its kind to absorb - will largely had earlier identified a missing link: “In the race depend on a successful implementation of Goal to achieve the MDGs, one of the greatest 8: The challenges at hand are simply too large to be achieved by one sector alone and will need untapped resources is the private sector”. to be tackled through strategic and effective However, the Asia Pacific region remains home partnerships for sustainable development to to the largest aggregate number of people living enable and implement socially inclusive and on less than $1.25 a day and environmental environmentally sustainable growth trajectories. challenges are exacerbated as the region’s fast economic growth fails to create fair opportunities Dialogue and proactive engagement with for all and increases pressures on the environment. the private sector will be key to ensuring that economic development, trade and FDI, and On the other hand, there are encouraging the associated benefits of wealth creation, accounts of progress across the region where employment, and technology transfer do indeed impressive economic growth and rapidly translate into real benefits for people living in increasing levels of foreign direct investment poverty and contribute to enabling environmentally (FDI) and trade, which increasingly accounts for sustainable growth. Partnering with business and more substantial portions of GDP vis-à-vis aid effectively harnessing the capacity for innovation, even in least developed countries, have efficient implementation, as well as resources contributed to lifting millions out of poverty. And financial, and other - will be key to creating there are encouraging signs of increased the framework conditions necessary to drive sensitivity and action towards ensuring that the extensive transformational change that will economic growth does not further jeopardize be needed to achieve the MDGs and ensure environmental sustainability. a sustainable future for a planet of limited resources and absorbing capacity and its growing population. declared to be the “year of development” Mr. Ban Ki-Moon famously borrowed from the language of the financial crisis: the MDGs too are “too big to fail”.

1 Director CSR Asia Centre at AIT. E-mail: 2 On the occasion of the launch of the Business Call to Action Initiative, an initiative sponsored by the United Nations and the British Government, in 2008


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As the stance of development specialists and civil society groups towards business has slowly taken a turn from confrontational towards considerable and growing interest in understanding and promoting ways in which the private sector can contribute to sustainable development, the debate on the effectiveness of voluntary versus regulatory approaches to controlling corporate behaviour continues. But a general agreement is emerging around the need to identify and implement ways to improve the collaboration between business and government – at the local, national, and international level – and join forces in tackling social and environmental development challenges.

“not only can corporate and social needs be integrated, but the success of the developing world in improving prosperity is of fundamental strategic importance to almost every company”

in societies that fail or ecosystems that collapse and that “not only can corporate and social needs be integrated, but the success of the developing world in improving prosperity is of fundamental strategic importance to almost every company” (Professor Michael Porter, Harvard Business School). And, to finish by expanding on the quote referenced at the outset of the above reflections on partnership approaches to sustainable development: “Innovative business leaders, both in the North and the South, are changing the way that many businesses operate. They are expanding beyond traditional business practices […] (to catalyse) vibrant new markets that can contribute to advancing inclusive (and green) growth and (sustainable) development”2.

Three years on from the launch of Business Call to Action Initiative and a number of other interesting initiatives to measure (see e.g. and improve positive business impacts towards attaining the MDGs much however remains to be done. At AIT outreach activities to facilitate the attainment of MDGs include efforts to inject specialized expertise on the role of the private sector in susAt the United Nations High-Level Event on tainable development and business solutions to the Millennium Development Goals, held in global challenges through the CSR Asia Center New York on 25 September 2008, representatives at AIT. The CSR Asia Center at AIT is a partner of the private sector, notably the International of various joint research, capacity building, and Business Leaders’ Forum, reiterated their expert advice on the role of the private sector in commitment to supporting efforts to achieve sustainable development and business solutions the MDGs. They noted that it had “become to global challenges. increasingly clear that the MDGs cannot be achieved in the absence of a diversified and In September 2011, the CSR Asia productive private sector … [and that] … Center at AIT will be launching governments in both developed and developing an executive style professional masters countries cannot meet their commitments to program in CSR at AIT’s School of the MDGs without effectively enabling, Management. The program is designed regulating and partnering with the private sector.” to help build the capacity necessary to ensure that the business sector is better It is increasingly accepted that the interdependency prepared to manage global is a mutual one: global challenges as defined in sustainability challenges responsibly the MDGs cannot be met without the proactive and contribute to the achievement of engagement of business; at the same time targets such as the Millennium business leaders are increasingly inclined to act Development Goals in a dynamic, upon the realisation that business cannot succeed competitive business environment. 3 Ibid.

Volume 1/April 2011


Combating Corruption and Transnational Illicit Threats: A Must for Sustainable Development David M. Luna 1


acceptance of corruption and crime undercuts development and fuels mistrust between citizens and governments around the world. It impedes economic growth and foreign investment, imperils democratic and the rule of law systems, jeopardizes the integrity of world markets, and undermines the stability of political systems and the security of the international community. Corruption robs nations of their future and people of their dreams by misappropriating public investment away from development areas that need it most, such as public sector modernization, infrastructure and social development including quality access to water, sanitation, education, healthcare, and housing. In recent years, the World Bank and United Nations have estimated that the cross-border flow of global illicit proceeds related to corruption, criminal activities, and tax evasion is between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion per year. This is an enormous loss of economic potential and social development investment. Transnational crime also stifles development. Today, cross-border illicit networks are not only becoming more fluid and sophisticated, they are leveraging opportunities across international markets and corrupting government to export their illicit trade. The growing infiltration of transnational crime organizations into licit industry and commerce is a threat to the expansion of open markets and global trading regimes that underpin our modern global economy. They exploit not only the openness of our economies but invest in areas where law enforcement is weak as places for safe haven and to expand their illicit operations. In these illicit markets, criminal entrepreneurs are smuggling billions of dollars of illegal goods across borders – drugs, arms, humans, natural resources, endangered wildlife and their parts, counterfeit

medicines and pirated software, as well as embezzled public funds. This creates insecurity, costs our economies jobs and tax revenue, endangers the welfare and safety of our families and communities, and overwhelms law enforcement counter-measures. One way to combat transnational crime and converging illicit threats is for the international community to coordinate and cooperate better and build stronger law enforcement responses. The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) helps lead diplomatic efforts to raise awareness of the destabilizing impact of transnational organized criminal activities to the community of nations and to strengthen global efforts to

1 Director, Anti-Crime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State.


Freedom from Want

“Corruption robs nations of their future and people of their dreams... ...such as public sector modernization, infrastructure and social development including quality access to water, sanitation, education, healthcare, and housing.”

combat these threats. We are enhancing international cooperation to dismantle criminal networks and combat the threats that they pose — not only through more holistic law enforcement responses, but also by building up governance capacity, supporting committed reformers, and strengthening the ability of citizens to monitor public functions and hold leaders accountable for providing safety, effective public services, and efficient use of public resources. In the Asia Pacific region, we are also developing more innovative inter-regional partnerships in collaboration with APEC, ASEAN, the Pacific Island Forum, the Organization of American States (OAS), and others on ways to better equip

ourselves against illicit threats across the region. These include devising more strategic frameworks and information-sharing arrangements, leveraging international cooperation across regional and global law enforcement networks, strengthening capacity building in law enforcement, coordinating joint investigations to target “money conduits” and corruption nodes, and securing borders by optimizing border controls. Preventing corruption is a key to combating emerging transnational criminal threats. Today, criminals and other illicit actors imperil the functioning and legitimacy of the state when they harness public institutions to facilitate their illicit activities and create a culture of impunity. In the most extreme cases, they subvert and undermine state functions to a point that official institutions become a de facto criminal enterprise. This is particularly problematic when the military, police, border control, and justice system officials align with drug traffickers, gangs, and criminal insurgencies. Government protection of criminal elements can take many forms -- officials may turn a blind eye to a syndicate’s illicit activity, choose not to pursue investigative leads, opt not to enact or enforce certain criminal laws, or ignore the efforts of others to extradite a wanted criminal. Following the money is another important area of our international cooperation in dealing with illicit networks to deny criminals and their networks, and those who they corrupt, access to entities and mechanisms used to launder their illicit criminal proceeds and hide the instrumentalities. We are working to tackle corruption and organized crime more robustly by utilizing international instruments such as the UN Conventions against Corruption and Transnational Organized Crime. We are also depriving the kleptocratic and criminal networks of their profits and strengthening efforts to trace, freeze, and seize assets related to illicit financial flows. Transnational crime and corruption are barriers to sustainable development and market integrity, trap millions in poverty, and hijack the entrepreneurial spirit that nurtures innovation, openness, and competiveness. No economy alone can successfully combat transnational illicit threats. By working together through collective action, however, we can more effectively tackle cross-border crime and corruption and anchor sustainable economic development strategies that build communities with a brighter future.

Volume 1/April 2011


Book Review

GLOBAL RISKS 2011: An Initiative of the Risk Response Network The World Economic Forum, 2011


global interconnection is inevitable, and it comes with a cost. Global Risk 2011-Sixth Edition Report maps out the web of global risks (economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological) and indicates why these risks need resolving to reduce further future crisis. The report is compiled from review of thirty-seven selected global risks and a survey of “580 leaders and decision-makers around the world. Published by the World Economic Forum1, an independent organization committing to bridge initiative and efforts of various key sectors to enhance global outlooks, the report presents tangible alarming facts and impacts the global community and environment face today and should expect in the future. The introduction offers a complex yet intriguing nexus on increasingly global interconnection so many governments and world citizens prefer not to comprehend. Although appear overwhelming, the interlink of risk nodes and sub-risks are straightforward and reasonable. The breakdown of cluster risks allows better comprehension of each group and in their relation to one another. This grouping makes understanding the nexus easier and is advantageous for most common readers, particularly on the main part where the report offers thorough analysis of each section of the focus risks. In a way it reveals that each sector can be independent but cannot avoid being part of the nexus, either in states or interstates. The first is the highlight on two significant ‘cross-cutting’ risks, economic disparity and global governance failures, which are pointed out to have been mainly responsible for aggravation of other global risks and complicate efforts to address the issues. Economic disparity, not poverty, and global governance failures, not globalization, are considered as more relevant. The report then concentrates on three sub-nexus of risks clusters and their effects: (i) macroeconomic imbalances, influenced by internal (domestic) and external (interstates) imbalances and lead to further fiscal and global market imbalances; (ii) illegal economy, the threats that illicit trade, organized crime and corruption bring to states and world stability (terrorism, fragile states, and, even, human health); and (iii) water-food-energy, lack of these three vitalities severely inhibit economic growth and social stability and, most often, lead to various emergencies like, to name a few, food shortages, natural disasters and social unrest. With such complex analysis and worrying facts on current global entanglements, readers may be led to feel discouraged and in impasse. The report, however, aims to present these challenges as our collective responsibilities that are possible to resolve and recondition. Finally, the report indicates five growing risks warned as “risks to watch” and requires immediate awareness and preventive efforts: cyber security, demographic challenges, resource security, retrenchment from globalization and weapons of mass destruction. In conclusion the report suggests that to implement effective risk responses, the efforts should not only focus on “proactively reducing” obstacles relevant with global risks but also to modify current response mechanisms and measures to respond and to utilize the latest technology and techniques as supports.

Detty Saluling 1 The World Economic Forum is an independent organization that commits to bridge initiative and efforts of various key sectors to enhance global outlooks.


Freedom from Want

Volume 1/April 2011

Freedom from Want

"Freedom from Want" Magazine  

"The Asean Regional Center of Excellence on Millennium Development Goals (ARCMDG) is a no-profit making outreach programme of the Asian Inst...

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