Kuala Lumpur, 17 May 2010 - The United Nations (UN) in Malaysia today hosted the country release of the 2010 Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific, titled, “Sustaining Recovery and Dynamism of Asia-Pacific for Inclusive Development.". The Survey reviewed the impact of the global financial crisis on the economic performance and social development of the Asian and Pacific economies in 2009. It identified key policy responses that proved successful in restoring growth and stability in 2010, and emerging challenges that Governments are likely to face in generating additional aggregate demand for sustaining the region’s dynamism while fostering inclusive development at the national as well as regional levels.
The findings of the Survey were presented by Ms. Nobuko Kajiura, Economic Affairs Officer, Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Y. Bhg. Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr Mohamed Ariff, and Dr. Shankaran Nambiar from MIER.
In his opening speech, Mr. Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, said, “The high annual projected growth for China and India in 2010, places Asia in a unique and advantageous position to lead the global economic recovery process in the months to come. Asia must take advantage of this position to drive recovery in the most responsible and effective manner – this would entail a growth model which involves less environmental destruction, avoids over-exploitation of natural resources and most importantly, significantly mitigates the excesses in risk-taking and consumption which resulted in the misaligned incentive system which led to the 2008-09 global and regional financial and economic crisis.”
“Governments must embrace this opportunity to secure the gains of the economic rebound by investing in social programs that directly benefit people hardest hit by the crisis, act to reduce poverty, and create a more sustainable economy,” said Nobuko Kajiura.
Prof Datuk Dr. Mohamed Ariff spoke about the specific issues related to Malaysia. He listed the strengths and weaknesses of the Malaysian economy and discussed the various threats and opportunities it faces in the near-term. Although the positives far exceed the negatives, he said that the latter cannot be taken lightly. He presented an independent assessment of Malaysia's 2010 economic outlook, and concluded that, “We may be out of the woods but it is not going to be a walk in the park.”
Dr Nambiar spoke about the challenges faced and the steps that are necessary to be taken in order to overcome the current malaise, to improve the investment climate, to achieve growth, and to raise income levels especially among the poor.
The Survey recommends that the Asia and the Pacific region should increase efforts to create a more integrated and sustained regional market benefiting both national economies and a larger consumer class. Until now the region has been better connected through trade patterns with Europe and North America than it has been with itself. The Survey identifies a number of priorities - enhancing regional economic integration and integrated trade and transport policies, development of a regional financial architecture - that can lay the foundations for a more inclusive, interconnected and sustainable path of development for the region.
The Survey - launched in over 22 cities across the region and in New York and Geneva - is available online at: http://www.unescap.org/survey2010
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