UN's Asia-Pacific commission ends session with call to reduce region's disparities

25 April 2001

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) ended its annual session today in Bangkok with a call to bridge the region's poverty gap.

Adopting its report for the 57th session, ESCAP encouraged its members to make a concerted effort to sustain development and provide for equitable distribution of wealth in their countries. The session was held under an overall theme, "Reducing Disparities: Balanced development of urban and rural areas and regions within the countries of the Asia and Pacific region."

The information revolution and economic globalization would reinforce existing disparities between urban a rural areas, and create new ones, ESCAP noted.

In that context, Kim Hak-Su, ESCAP's Executive Secretary, said, "We have to accept rural-urban migration and urbanization as inevitable parts of development. And we have to act and develop urban areas accordingly."

Mr. Kim also called for increased education opportunities and capacity-building measures to help prevent young people in the region from becoming a "lost generation in economic terms."

During the session, the Commission adopted resolutions on a variety of vital issues, including regional cooperation in information and communications technologies for development, action to fight HIV/AIDS in the region, and economic integration of developing countries.

The 57th session -- held from 19 to 25 April -- was attended by more than 400 delegates, including 21 ministers and deputy ministers. Representatives of UN bodies, specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations also took part.