Sandeep Choudhury – “The Asia We Want Should Be One Based on Equitable Growth and Not the Disparity We See Today Between the Rich and the Poor”

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Oct 30, 2017
by Sandeep Choudhury
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Sandeep Choudhury – “The Asia We Want Should Be One Based on Equitable Growth and Not the Disparity We See Today Between the Rich and the Poor”

Climate change expert calls for Asia to learn from its mistakes, return to clean and sustainable land use practices and harness modern technology The growth of emerging Asian economies should be achieved in a sustainable manner, writes Choudhury (Picture: Flickr/Selamat Made)

Choudhury will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their own vision for “the Asia we want.”

Two thirds of the world’s poor live in Asia. More than 850 million lack access to safe drinking water and over two billion lack access to improved sanitation. Energy demand is set to double in the coming years. Education and women’s issues remains a big concern. Already we see large parts of South East Asia and South Asia ravaged by hurricanes and floods, which has led to millions being displaced. There are other areas with droughts and food security to deal with. Ethnic and political violence has led to the creation of millions of refugees, which compounds the problem further. Set against this backdrop, it is imperative that we understand the localization of problems and come up with solutions that are inclusive as well as bottom up. Communities need to be engaged, and not in superficial ways. Time is of the essence and the bureaucracy across governments needs to streamlined for quicker delivery.

The Asia we want is a coming together of modern technology to deliver last mile development as well as draw upon the ethos and traditions of the olden days. Frugal consumption patterns and community living was the norm in Asia, before massive industrialization and population growth spurred millions to migrate and clog the cities of Asia, as well as drive up unsustainable consumption and poverty levels. Asia is comprised of agrarian economies in large parts, and it would be ideal if we could go back to days of clean and sustainable land use practices.

The Asia we want should be one based on equitable growth and not the disparity we see today between the rich and the poor. While the emerging economies in Asia are growing and energy demands set to rise, it is important that this growth is achieved in a sustainable manner and not the same way that we witnessed the developed world grow though the 20th century.

We have to learn from our mistakes and take this next growth cycle in Asia as an opportunity to grow in a manner which is not detrimental to our existence in the future.

Sandeep is a co-founder at VNV Advisory Services, responsible for the initiation and development of the climate change expertise.


Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia - is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.

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