More than 20 million people in Asia-Pacific could fall into extreme povertyFebruary 18th, 2010 - 2:58 am ICT by BNO News
NEW YORK CITY (BNO NEWS) – Twenty-one million people in the Asia-Pacific region could fall into extreme poverty, the United Nations (UN) said Wednesday.
With the global economy swiveling down, a publication launched jointly in Manila by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the UN Development Programme, and the Asian Development Bank uncovered that only 20 percent of unemployed and underemployed people have access to unemployment benefits and other labor market schemes. Additionally, just under one third of older people receive pensions in the region.
Asia has much dimmer social protection programs when comparing them to other areas like Latin America and Eastern Europe.
“Without better protection, people fall back into poverty,” Ajay Chhibber, UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific said. The economic crisis, health pandemics and natural disasters also affect development goals.
The Asia-Pacific region had been making considerable progress, meeting three key targets: gender parity in secondary education, children’s universal access to primary school and cutting down to half the proportion of people living below the extreme poverty threshold of $1.25 per day.
The economic crisis, however, has thwarted headway.
In 2009, 17 million were trapped into extreme poverty, but the current year has increased the number to 21 million.
Women have been affected the most as they represent Asia’s majority in low-skilled, low-salaried and temporary workforce.
Regional cooperation is vital for Asia and the Pacific to protect itself, as trade in food could play an important role.
“As this crisis has exposed many vulnerabilities in the region, we can now address them and direct this recovery towards a stronger sustainable development path for the Asia-Pacific region,” said ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer.
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Tags: ajay, asia pacific region, asian development bank, bno, development path, economic crisis, education children, executive secretary, extreme poverty, gender parity, global economy, headway, natural disasters, pandemics, poverty threshold, regional cooperation, regional director, un development programme, unemployment benefits, universal access