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An outlook on Asia’s agricultural and rural transformation: Prospects and options for making it an inclusive and sustainable one
June 2019

If the success of Asian countries in transforming their rural economy is measured by the extent to which poverty has declined over the past 20 years, there is no question that their transformation can be regarded as one of the major achievements in human history. The decline in extreme poverty and hunger has been outstanding and today Asia is making steady progress towards eradicating both by 2030.

Contrasting with these bright lights, though, are shadows dimming Asia’s development performance.

Environmental quality has worsened and continues to do so at a rapid pace. The degradation of natural resources has reached worrying levels in most parts of Asia. Vulnerability to climate change is increasing as concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere increase. Inequality is on the rise, both within rural and urban areas and between them.

New problems are overtaking the older ones and Asia is now entering a critical part of its history. Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals are challenging propositions for today’s policymakers in Asia.


Fabrizio Bresciani, Thomas Chalmers, Dilva Terzano, Raghav Gaiha, Ganesh Thapa, and Nidhi Kaicker