Bangkok [Thailand], Mar 30 (ANI): The Asia Pacific region needs large yet attainable investments in resilience to protect development gains amid a fragile and inequitable post-Covid-19 economic recovery, said a report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP).
'The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2021: Towards post-Covid-19 resilient economies' forecasts that developing Asia Pacific economies on average are expected to grow by 5.9 per cent in 2021 and 5 per cent in 2022 after having experienced an estimated contraction of 1 per cent in 2020.
Despite a reasonably strong rebound expected in 2021, a K-shaped recovery is likely with poorer countries and more vulnerable groups marginalised in the post-pandemic recovery and transition period.
The survey estimates that because of the pandemic, an additional 89 million people in the region could have been pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020 at the 1.90 dollars per day threshold, erasing years of progress in poverty reduction.
Working-hour losses in 2020 equalled 140 million full-time jobs while severe disruptions of economic activity and education are likely to have caused a significant setback to human capital accumulation and productivity in the region.
For a more robust and inclusive recovery, the survey calls for a more synchronised Covid-19 vaccination programme across countries and highlights opportunities to leverage regional cooperation.
At the same time, it recommends that fiscal and monetary support should be sustained, as premature tightening could increase long-term scars.
"Covid-19 is a shock like no other and it requires a response like no other," said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.
"The time is now for Asia Pacific region to seize this opportunity to speed up and make its transition towards more resilient, equitable and green development the centrepiece of the post-pandemic economic recovery."
Looking beyond the pandemic, the survey examines the broader risk landscape facing Asia Pacific countries, including epidemics, natural disasters and financial crises.
It finds that adverse shocks, both economic and non-economic, result in permanent economic, social and environmental losses, and advises countries to take a more comprehensive approach to building resilience against future shocks.
In conclusion, the survey recommends that countries in the region should respond aggressively to adverse shocks to minimise the reversal of hard-won development gains. Swift and robust policy responses are needed to safeguard sustainable development in crisis times, and risk management must become central to development planning and policymaking.
Produced annually since 1947, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific is the oldest United Nations report on the region's progress. The survey provides analyses to guide policy discussion on the current and emerging socio-economic issues and policy challenges to support inclusive and sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region. (ANI)