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ESCAP Releases 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic and Social Survey

UNESCAP18 April 2013: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has released the latest edition of its flagship publication, the 2013 “Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific: Forward-looking Macroeconomic Policies for Inclusive and Sustainable Development.” The survey recommends public investment to promote inclusive and sustainable development.

The report argues that "inclusive and environment-friendly growth" will provide needed new sources of economic growth for the region. Addressing ten countries in the region - Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russian Federation, Thailand and Turkey - the report recommends a public investment package consisting of six elements: a job guarantee programme available to all participants in the informal sector for 100 days per year, which pays benefits equivalent to the national poverty line; a universal, non-contributory pension for all aged 65 or older, valued at the national poverty line; benefits to all persons with disabilities between the ages of 15 and 65, equivalent to the national poverty line; increasing the share of public health expenditures of gross domestic product (GDP) to 5% by 2030; universal enrollment in primary education by 2020 and in secondary education by 2030; and universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, by 2030. It also makes a first-time estimation of the public investment required to provide such protections and policies. 

In the Pacific region, ESCAP reports that decelerated growth is expected in Pacific island developing countries, due to a significant energy-sector slow down in Papua New Guinea and in the resource-rich Solomon Islands. The report notes that with the exception of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tonga, all Pacific island countries improved their growth performance in 2012. The survey recommends that the Pacific countries invest heavily in physical infrastructure (roads, ports, water and electricity) and in research and development in agriculture, and strive for deeper regional integration.

Overall, the survey argues that argues that macroeconomic policies can play a vital role in reorienting the region towards more inclusive and sustainable growth. [ESCAP Press Release] [UN Press Release] [UN Press Conference] [Publication: Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2013]