UN: Virus Hits Poverty Reduction Progress in Asia-Pacific

Islamabad, MINA – The UN on Tuesday said the COVID-19 pandemic has erased years of progress in poverty reduction in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2021, released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), suggested that 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.

The survey forecasts that the Asia-Pacific economies are expected to grow by 5.9 percent in 2021 and 5 percent in 2022 after having experienced an estimated contraction of 1 percent in 2020. Anadolu Agency reported.

“Despite a reasonably strong rebound expected in 2021, a “K-shaped recovery” is likely, with poorer countries and more vulnerable groups marginalized in the post-pandemic recovery and transition period,” it said.

The survey estimates that due to the pandemic, an additional 89 million people in the region could have been pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020 at the $1.90 per day threshold, erasing years of progress in poverty reduction.

Working-hour losses in 2020 equaled 140 million full-time jobs, it said, adding severe disruptions of economic activity and education are likely to have caused a significant setback to human capital accumulation and productivity in the region.

“COVID-19 is a shock like no other and it requires a response like no other,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of ESCAP.

“The time is now for the Asia-Pacific region to seize this opportunity to speed up and make its transition towards more resilient, equitable, and green development the centerpiece of the post-pandemic economic recovery,” Alisjahbana added.(T/R3/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)