The Asian Century and the Global Sustainability Agenda
The following essay from Lucita Jasmin, APRIL Group’s Director for Sustainability & External Affairs, features in the latest edition of the Indonesian Strategic Review discussing ASEAN’s opportunity to define its own sustainability agenda tailored to the region’s unique challenges.
Asia has been a driving force in the global economy for the past three decades. In that time, we have witnessed poverty levels across developing countries in Asia dramatically decline. According to the World Bank, poverty across the region has fallen from 61 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2012, with hundreds of millions of people leaving behind the hardship of subsistence living. And according to a recent report in The Economist, a further 225 million Chinese will join the ranks of the region’s expanding middle class by 2020.
The Asian Development Bank further posits that Asia’s middle class has doubled since 1990 to 56 percent of the population today, newly enabled with discretionary purchasing power. In parallel, we have experienced a sea change in global trade dynamics, where Asia is no longer solely the developed world’s factory, but increasingly its consumer, innovator, investor and facilitator. The current geopolitical shifts in Europe and the United States create further room for Asia’s positive economic and political influence to grow. We are very much in the Asian century and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is seizing the opportunities that it brings with both hands.
Read the full essay in here.