A UN report released here Thursday warned that when most countries are focused on fighting the worst economic crisis in decades, two other longer-term crises, food-fuel price volatility and climate change, should not be forgotten.
"Food-fuel price volatility and climate change are converging with the present economic crisis to create what is now being referred to as the triple threat, " said the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2009, a publication of a UN's regional arm ---the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP).
It said the triple crises are "interlinked and are reinforcing the impacts of each other," noting that the number of the poor in Asia and the Pacific, already two thirds of the global total, is likely to increase as a result of the economic crisis and rising unemployment.
The survey, released in over 20 cities across the region and in New York and Geneva, provides a regional perspective as well as country-specific analyses, and outlines ways in which economies in the region can move forward towards a more inclusive and sustainable development path.
It said the implementation of prudent macroeconomic policies, improved fiscal balances, banking and others financial reforms undertaken by Asian and Pacific countries since 1997 did make the region more resilient at the beginning of the current crisis.
However, the situation became worse in the fourth quarter of 2008 with the decline of trade in the region, due to the fact that the Asia-Pacific region is more economically integrated with the rest of the world then with itself, the report said.
It calls for more intra-regional trade and investment by accelerating implementation of regional economic cooperation agreements.
In addition, many studies have shown that Asia, as the most disaster-prone region in the world, experiences almost half of global natural disasters, with a disproportionate 65 percent of the victims.
Climate change threatens to further expand the vulnerability of the poor by increasing the frequency and severity of natural disasters, and crop failures, in the region, it said.
ESCAP, based in Bangkok, is the largest of the UN's five regional commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered. As the only intergovernmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, it works to promote sustainable and inclusive social and economic progress.