Globalization in Asia-Pacific resulting in growing social, income inequalities, UN reports

1 May 2002

Despite the rapid pace of globalization in Asia and the Pacific many people are still excluded from its benefits, as reflected by growing poverty and other inequalities, according to a new study conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the region (ESCAP).

"Globalization, coupled with demographic dynamics, is resulting in increased exclusion and social dislocation in some situations," warns the report, which will be presented to government ministers attending the next session of the Commission later this month in Bangkok

"In the ESCAP region, these are reflected in deepening poverty in its different forms, growing social and income inequalities, and eruptions of social and ethnic tensions," according to the report, entitled, "Sustainable Social Development in a Period of Rapid Globalization: Challenges, Opportunities and Policy Options."

Among the "social risks and vulnerabilities" cited by the report are changing conditions in local labour markets, an aging population, and a population increasingly on the move. Other factors resulting in social dislocation include social and civil conflict, the prevalence of people with disability, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and fall-out from the 1997 financial crisis.

The study finds that some people are being excluded "partially or wholly from sustainable livelihood, decent employment, minimum earnings and consumption, physical and human capital development."

On a positive note, the report states "globalization and the 'opening up' of societies have increased opportunities for people's participation and contributed to the strengthening of civil society."

Globalization has also meant that people are beginning to network as never before, creating new associations and interest groups in fields such as environmental protection, women's empowerment and human rights.

International links are also forged between some trade unions and farmers' organizations as they collaborate to meet the challenges of possible downsides of the globalization of production, the report says.

 

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