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08.04.2020 13:57 News >> Asia-Pacific Should Rethink GDP-Centric Model: UN

Asia-Pacific Should Rethink GDP-Centric Model: UN

More than 40% of workers in region live in extreme, moderate, or near poverty, says report by UN commission.

The Asia-Pacific region is not on track to achieve sustainable development by 2030 if the world continues its business-as-usual pathway, according to a new survey by the United Nations.
The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) 2020 survey, released Wednesday, showed that high economic growth in the Asia-Pacific has been accompanied by growing income inequality.
It said decades of high economic growth in the region have transformed its socioeconomic landscape, but economic prosperity has come at massive social and environmental costs.
The conventional economic growth-centric model has led to persistent inequality, with the top 10% income group taking away almost 50% of the total income, it said.
Although economic growth has created jobs and kept unemployment at low levels, it argued, more than 40% of workers in the region live in levels of extreme, moderate, or near poverty.
"Among people who have been lifted out of extreme poverty, they remain vulnerable as many of them still live on less than $3.20 or $5.50 per day," it said.
- 'GDP growth not enough for sustainable development'
The survey stressed that a resource-intensive growth model has led to a concomitant rise in greenhouse carbon emissions and pollution.
Additionally, traditional macroeconomic policies to boost GDP growth in the short run are not enough to address long-term development challenges, it argued.
ESCAP, one of five regional commissions under the UN Economic and Social Council, stressed the urgency of transforming the region's consumption and production patterns to live in harmony with nature.
The Asia-Pacific region currently accounts for 60% of global carbon emissions.
It is home to 97 of the 100 most air-polluted cities in the world and five of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change.
- '$675B economic loss expected annually'
The 2020 survey suggests a transition towards cleaner production and less material-intensive lifestyles supported by enabling policies, calling for all stakeholders -- notably governments and businesses -- to urgently align their own goals actions with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Otherwise, the commission warned: "A total of $675 billion economic loss is expected annually on average due to climate-induced disasters."
Reducing the social and environmental costs of economic growth is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which commits countries to balancing the three pillars of sustainable development.
This requires moving away from the focus on economic growth alone, and examining how its adverse impact on people and the planet can be minimized. -



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