Two weeks ago a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan, killing more than 300 people and leaving thousands homeless. This came on the heels of floods in August that affected almost 1.5 million people. India, for its part, has not suffered any major natural disasters recently but is facing a larger challenge of continued economic slowdown. Its growth rate has dropped for two quarters in a row in 2013, reaching 4.4 percent, and it has faced a major currency crisis as well. Afghanistan, meanwhile, faces the prospects of even more fundamental challenges to regime stability and state cohesion after the U.S. military drawdown in eight months, as there are no signs there will be peace with the Taliban in the near future.
These situations represent some of the sudden shocks and long-term change-drivers that countries can potentially face. To assess a country's preparedness for such changes, KPMG and Oxford Economics created a new tool in 2012 called the Change Readiness Index (CRI). This year's index was launched at the United Nations ahead of the 2013 General Assembly sessions. The CRI measures readiness by assessing the capability of a country's government, enterprises and public and civil society-the three pillars of a state-to prepare for, manage and respond to drivers of change by mitigating adverse impacts and using opportunities to achieve sustained growth and raise living standards.
With regard to South Asia specifically, the index points to the region's overall poor readiness to cope with change. South Asian countries do not perform well, both relative to the rest of the world and when compared to many countries at their income levels.