Feb 02, 2012
The ADB-Asia 2050 panel at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) 2012 discussed what will be instrumental in driving Asia’s growth momentum in future.
New Delhi: An additional three billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today, and the region could account for over half of global output by the middle of this century. The optimistic finding of Asian Development Bank's Asia 2050 report comes with a word of caution though - while an Asian Century is plausible, it is far from preordained.
The report provided the foundation for the ADB-Asia 2050 panel discussion at the 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit today at New Delhi.
The study presents two alternative scenarios for Asia's economic trajectory between now and 2050: the Asian Century Scenario and the Middle Income Trap Scenario. Under the latter, Asia's GDP per capita would be only about half of what could be achieved under the Asian Century Scenario!
"This report is not about predicting the future or prescribing
policies. Rather it is to draw attention of policy makers to the
challenges of the future. Asia has indeed done very well over the past four decades. The economic center of gravity is shifting towards Asia, thus giving rise to the term the 'Asian Century'," said Dr Bindu N Lohani, Vice President (Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development), Asian Development Bank, Philippines.
"This study brings to light some critical multi-generational issues such as widening income disparities and demographic changes. The bottom-line is that a lot depends on our policy choices and its implementation. We need to provide social safety nets and avail opportunities for profitable investment in green growth. The Asian Century should not be of Asia's alone but of the entire globe,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda outlined steps countries in the Asia and the Pacific region are already taking to protect shared natural resources and called for more private sector involvement in the building of green infrastructure: "Around the region, leaders are recognising that a better quality of economic growth is possible—one that can simultaneously meet aspirations for greater economic prosperity and provide a cleaner and
The panel, moderated, by Dr Iwan Azis, Head, Office of Regional Economic Integration, Philippines attempted to shift aside the red herrings to provide a clear road map for future course of action.
"In the US we are fixing the problems of the past. Asia can deal with the challenges early on. Take the case of buildings – 80% of the buildings in Asia in 2050 are yet to be built. The opportunity lies in building them to the highest standards of efficiency," opined Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council.
The overarching need of the hour, the panel agreed, was to redefine the entire approach to development. "We need new models of development, of job creation, of wealth creation, of preventive healthcare. The model that we followed did not result in equitable growth. At the same time the corporate action has to rise to a new level," said S Gopalakrishnan, Executive Co-Chairman, Infosys Ltd, India.
Naoko Ishii, Deputy Vice Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of Japan kept it short and succint: "The stakes for Asia are high but then the action on climate change is in Asia's self interest. Though it's challenging it is possible. The right policy mechanism can make it plausible."
Hon Cheung, Regional Director, Official Institutions Group,
SSgA-Singapore said: "We live in a climate where government’s financial position is stressed. Private sector thus has a very important role to play. Green bonds and debt financing are important to finance sustainable projects. There is definitely an appetite for such investments. We are managing billions of dollars in ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) assets. We have also launched green bond funds in response to the market demand."
ADB also supports green growth and sustainable development through mechanisms such as the Climate Investment Fund, under which multilateral development banks have mobilised $6.5 billion for developing countries, with $2.5 billion earmarked for Asia and the Pacific.
Mentionworthy is a loan of up to $48 million to finance what will be India's largest solar photovoltaic power plant, the 40-megawatt Dahanu Solar Power Project in Jaisalmer district in the western state of Rajasthan.