Asia-Pacific leaders meet to revise steps towards regional economic recovery

17 May 2010

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged leaders in Asia and the Pacific to cooperate and take bold action to seek ‘green’ solutions to their long-term economic recovery, as they gather in the Republic of Korea to review regional development policies.

“Now is the time to focus on green growth strategies. That means renewable energy sources, clean and low carbon technologies, mass transit, reforestation... and more,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the high-level session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) meeting in the Korean city of Incheon.

Representatives from 53 regional countries and nine associate States will meet through tomorrow to come up with common regional development policies, including green growth and financial infrastructure measures.

Asia and the Pacific had been the fastest-growing region in the world in the past year, according to the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2010, a publication of ESCAP published two weeks ago.

The annual growth rate of four per cent was driven by China and India, with the rest of Asia-Pacific’s developing economies contracting in 2009 by 0.6 per cent.

The report urged greater intra-regional trade and faster development of an Asia-Pacific consumer marker to develop all economies in the region in the long-run.

“The opportunity is now for Asia-Pacific to emerge as a leader in the global economy, in the realm of social progress, and in safeguarding our global environment,” ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer told participants in Incheon.

“The crisis of the past two years underscores the threat that global economic shifts continue to hold for the region. We remain vulnerable to the man-made shocks of global capital flows and food and fuel price increases, and we are vulnerable to natural shocks and disasters and the increasing threat of climate change.”

Among the recommendations ESCAP presented to the session is to strengthen social protections, such as increasing social spending that directly supports household income security by providing nutrition, education and access to health care.

The regional body also recommended promotion of agricultural and rural development, and enhancing financial inclusion.

Conclusions from the meeting may contribute to preparations for the summit in September in New York to review progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged countries to accelerate progress on the universally agreed anti-poverty targets or risk missing that deadline.

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