News / Asia

UN Calls for Investment in Protections for Asia’s Poorest

Informal settlers play while bathing on a tub in San Juan, Manila. The Philippines is expected to sustain post-crisis economic growth, but this will be without development which may increase poverty, according to a new study from the United Nations, May 2
Informal settlers play while bathing on a tub in San Juan, Manila. The Philippines is expected to sustain post-crisis economic growth, but this will be without development which may increase poverty, according to a new study from the United Nations, May 2

Economists and Asian leaders say basic social protections are key to sheltering Asia’s poorest from financial and environmental shocks that put millions at risk. Officials say increased spending on social programs can be affordable and effective in helping Asia’s poorest lift themselves out of poverty.

United Nations economists say that government-funded social protections such as universal education, basic health care and job programs provide a critical safety net for the millions of impoverished Asians who are most vulnerable to rising food prices and environmental calamities.

The United Nations Economic and Social commission for Asia and the Pacific says that such guarantees give the poor the opportunity to take the risks needed to improve their lives.

UNESCAP officials say the growing trend to urbanization across the region requires a new commitment by governments to institute social protections.

Economists and government officials from Asia are gathered in Bangkok for UNESCAP’s annual meeting.

Monday, at the start of the conference, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Jigme Thinley told delegates that crises in recent years showed that growing concerns social progress should not be based just on narrow competition and economic growth.

Thinley says a “calamitous” decade of crises ranging from ecological and climate change, a financial and economic crisis of 2008, as well as crop failures, health crises, and rising social conflicts all pointed to the need for reform.

“All these crises tell us that there is something grievously wrong in the way human society conducts itself. They warn us that our way of life as dictated by market forces that are guided not so much by sense and sensibility as are insatiable greed - is not sustainable, responsible or just. Unless we mend our ways things are just going to get worse,” said Thinley.

Asia’s economic export growth model over the past 30 years has succeeded in lifting millions out of poverty, with gains in China a major contributor to reducing poverty levels across the region. But analysts say the growth has come at social and welfare costs, especially through pollution, the loss of forestry habitat and a widening of income disparities.

Thinley says intense business competition high rates of consumption resulting in the depletion of natural resources posed a threat to democratic systems of government. "How can democratic systems serve at the community, national and global levels when inequality becomes a reality and when limited resources including water will be in the hands of the strong and the powerful, whose narrative will be one of rivalry and escalating conflicts? But the more I think of our future, the more I’m convinced that we need to change,” he said.

Thinley blamed the standard measure for economic growth - gross national product - as being used as a “singular indictor” for social progress.

He said societies need to adopt a broader measure of economic progress, marked by Bhutan’s measure gross national happiness. The GNH measure also takes into account the GDP measure but also looks at governance standards, culture and the environment.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid