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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and many targets, offers a decidedly ambitious, comprehensive and universal framework for global development policymaking. In essence, it promotes a broad and holistic concept of well-being and prosperity; one that recognizes that the welfare of people, countries and the planet encompasses much more than just expansion of economic output and emphasizes the importance of social inclusiveness and environment sustainability.

The Asia-Pacific region holds the key to the success of the 2030 Agenda. It is home to almost 60 per cent of humanity and has some of the world’s largest and most dynamic and innovative economies. Changes in the economic conditions and direction of policies in those countries have notable implications for its regional counterparts and beyond. At the same time, the region is home to several small countries that are dependent on and influenced by larger economies in the region.

The region has experienced unprecedented economic growth in the past few decades. However, this rapid economic growth, facilitated by globalization and technological advances, has led to rising inequalities and environmental degradation. To think afresh and to make a conceptual transition, policymakers of the region can benefit considerably from research that provides in-depth analysis of various sustainable development challenges and offers evidence-based policy solutions. To that end, we have decided to revisit the mission of the journals produced by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Journal is published twice a year by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It aims to stimulate debate and enrich research in the formulation of policy in the Asia-Pacific region towards the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In this issue:

What impedes structural transformation in Asia?
Kunal Sen

External sector liberalization, financial development and income in South Asia
Guna Raj Bhatta

The impact of foreign direct investment on income inequality: a panel Autogressive Distributed Lag approach for the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation developing economies
Kalaichelvi Ravinthirakumaran and Navaratnam Ravinthirakumaran

Envisioning tax policy for accelerated development in India
M. Govinda Rao and Sudhanshu Kumar

Contract farming, agriculture productivity and poverty reduction: evidence from tea estates in Viet Nam
Anh Tru Nguyen, Janet Dzator and Andrew Nadolny