Skip to main content

Sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific is contingent on progress made by countries in special situations, which include least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing States (SIDS) and comprises more than half of the countries in the region. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and persistent economic challenges have hindered their progress. This report highlights the crucial role of connectivity in transport, energy and information and communications technology (ICT) for achieving sustainable development and a low-carbon, resilient economy. This is unique because the focus of the report is on the role of connectivity in addressing climate change and building resilience, with attention placed on countries in special situations in Asia and the Pacific, while considering synergies across the three sectors.

Seamless and sustainable transport, energy and digital connectivity across countries is central to improving the lives of people of the countries in special situations, which comprise least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) in Asia and the Pacific. It can, therefore, play the role as a catalyser of sustainable development. It is also an important tool to accelerate climate actions in and for these countries. For instance, improved multimodal transport connectivity can allow for more environmentally friendly modes of transport in these countries; greater energy connectivity can accelerate the cost-efficient deployment and integration of renewable energy; and enhanced digital connectivity can assist them in accessing green and innovative climate adaptation solutions. The long-term benefits of seamless and sustainable connectivity will be especially significant for these countries given the current and future climate impacts and the sustainable development dividends from having a low-carbon and climate-resilient world.

The Asia-Pacific Countries with Special Needs Development Report 2023: Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Seamless and Sustainable Connectivity examines how regional cooperation on seamless and sustainable connectivity can facilitate a long-term transformation towards a net zero carbon emissions future. Key suggestions of this Report include (a) prioritizing transport corridor development that promotes decarbonization and climate resilience; (b) facilitating access and use of new technologies and ICT solutions for climate and disasters monitoring and recovery; and (c) harmonizing operational, planning, regulatory and financial procedures to enhance energy and transport connectivity. Recognizing the ongoing efforts and existing initiatives, and considering the large financing gaps in the countries in special situations, the Report underscores the need to seek synergies across transport, energy and ICT connectivity through co-deployment and management.