Asia-Pacific officials discuss social, economic growth amid food, fuel hikes

09:19, May 20, 2011      

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Top officials from 60 Asia-Pacific countries and regions met on Thursday to discuss a social protection and economic growth blueprint for the region where high food and oil prices have pushed millions more into poverty.

"Although the dynamic Asia-Pacific developing economies are helping stabilize global recovery from the financial crisis, new challenges threaten to slow and reverse regional progress towards international development goals," said Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, also the Executive Secretary of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said at the opening of the 67th Commission Session of ESCAP.

"Across the region, as the people of Asia and the Pacific continue to suffer from the aftershocks of the crisis, ESCAP has promoted an agenda for social equity to ensure that governments invest in their people through social protection as the recovery takes hold," Heyzer told the Senior Officials' Meeting at the start of the annual Commission Session, "Inclusive and sustainable development requires a social foundation."

In the aftermath of the food, fuel and financial crisis, this year's session aims at social protection as an investment in social and economic development and a means of addressing poverty and inequality.

"Our ability to match the economic recovery underway in Asia and the Pacific must be matched with a renewed emphasis on the social dimension of development as well," she said.

The annual session comprises two parts: the Senior Officials Segment from May 19 to 21 in preparation for the Ministerial Segment, which will be held from May 23 to 25. A highlight of the ministerial segment on May 23 will be a panel discussion on the theme of the session: "Beyond the Crises: Long term perspectives on social protection and development in Asia and the Pacific."

Source: Xinhua
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