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Floods and storms remain main threats in Asia

An early view of disaster trends in 2012 across Asia, the world’s most disaster-prone region, shows that mortality from flood events continues to decline but economic losses remain a major cause of concern

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An early view of disaster trends in 2012 across Asia, the world’s most disaster-prone region, shows that mortality from flood events continues to decline but economic losses remain a major cause of concern. In 2012 so far, floods were the most frequent disaster occurring in Asia (44%) and had the highest human and economic impact.

They accounted for 54% of the death toll in Asia, 78% of people affected and 56% of all economic damages in the region. Pakistan suffered large-scale loss of life from floods for the third successive year as 480 people died in floods between August and October. Floods in China (June-July) affected over 17 million people and caused the highest economic losses (US $4.8 billion).

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Flood risk must be addressed in a more systematic manner and integrated in all urban and development management plans Photo credit

Globally, these three regions accounted for 57 per cent of the total deaths, 74 per cent of the affected people and 34 per cent of the total economic damages caused by disasters in the first ten months of 2012. Worldwide, 231 disasters caused 5,469 deaths, affected a total of 87 million others, and caused US$ 44.6 billion economic damages.

“Fortunately this year, the regions did not suffer from any major disaster, such as an earthquake. Asian disaster figures are low compared to other years and this is good news,”

said Dr. Debby Sapir, Director of CRED. “The 2012 figures show that floods and storms affected most people and caused most economic damages in the regions. Data also suggest that some high risk countries in the region have made significant progress in controlling disaster impacts. This means that preparedness and prevention measures can be effective,” she said. Jerry Velasquez, Head of the UNISDR Asia Pacific, said:

“The relative reduction in the number of disasters so far this year in the region is not a cause for complacency. We must still contend with the fact that risk is growing faster than wealth is being created. Exposure is on the rise and flooding represents a serious challenge to Asian cities as we have seen earlier this year in Beijing and Manila where these two cities were partly flooded in a couple of hours. ”

Flood risk must be addressed in a more systematic manner and integrated in all urban and development management plans if we want to ensure sustainable economic growth and better protect people and their assets as extreme weather events will be more frequent and severe in the future.”

Mr. Velasquez added: “The number of people killed by weather-related disasters continues to decrease in Asia and this confirms the trend that was already observed by the 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction and the last Asian Pacific Disaster Report, but economic losses are going up and we should be worried about it.”

“Unless prevention–including climate action–takes center stage, disasters will likely block development,” said Vinod Thomas, Director General of Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) who was also a speaker at the press conference. “Yet for too long we have thought of natural calamities as just periodic interruptions to development but this is not the case anymore, we need to invest more in preventive actions before disasters strike,” he said. ADB’s Response to Natural Disasters and Disaster Risks which was recently released also signaled the increase of floods and storms in the region and the need for more action. —

*Preliminary data covering the time period January to October 2012

**Eastern Asia: China P Rep, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Korea Dem P Rep, Korea Rep, Macau, Mongolia, Taiwan (China). South-Eastern Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao P Dem Rep, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam. Southern Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran Islam Rep, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Read More

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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Economics

Youth unemployment hits new highs in Thailand due to COVID-19 restrictions

BANGKOK, Thailand (ILO news) – Joblessness among young men and women in Thailand has reached a level unseen in recent years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) WHO Thailand Situation Report - 22 February 2021

The Thailand labour market update  found that youth employment fell by 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 (from the fourth quarter 2019). The youth unemployment rate increased by 3 percentage points for both men and women, reaching a high of 6 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.

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