Asian countries look for ways to reduce urban poor at UN-backed meeting

11 December 2001

Alleviating poverty was high on the agenda as delegates gathered in Bangkok today at a meeting organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to review the region’s progress in achieving goals set by recent global and regional action plans.

Alleviating poverty was high on the agenda as delegates gathered in Bangkok today at a meeting organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to review the region’s progress in achieving goals set by recent global and regional action plans.

Participants at the three-day Committee on Socio-economic Measures to Alleviate Poverty in Rural and Urban Areas are looking at opportunities to reduce rural poverty through the increased use of information and communication technology (ICT), according to ESCAP. They will also discuss the growing phenomenon of the urban poor, focusing on poverty, lack of access to services and exclusion from power.

The Committee will also review the region’s progress in implementing the 1995 World Summit for Social Development Copenhagen Declaration and related action plans. The reassessment will focus on obstacles encountered in alleviating poverty, expanding employment and promoting the social integration of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

According to ESCAP, a majority of the Asian population is expected to be living in urban areas by 2025 and cities may become home to two thirds of the region’s poor. Other factors contributing to the rise in poverty include the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which drastically reduced economic growth in the region, causing economic contraction in several countries and resulting in decreased spending on social development and increased unemployment. In addition, the tragic events of 11 September and their aftermath have also affected regional development.

 

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