The global economic crisis highlights the urgent need for stronger social protection programs in Asia and the Pacific, and policy makers must use the current rebound as an opportunity to make the region's future growth more inclusive, according to a book launched here Thursday.
"Economic shocks such as those that we have witnessed over the past two to three years not only have a negative impact on people's livelihoods and financial resources, but also on human development, including health conditions and educational achievements," said ADB Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss.
"Economic growth alone is insufficient to reduce poverty. We must not lose the opportunity presented by the crisis to adopt measures that will soften the human impacts of future shocks, and lay the groundwork for more inclusive, sustainable growth in the region."
Schaefer-Preuss spoke at the launch of "Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia: Impact and Responses to the Global Economic Crisis", a collection of studies assessing the impact of the crisis on a range of areas, including health, gender, migration, remittances, and education.
Edited by ADB economists Armin Bauer and Myo Thant, and including contributions from key experts in think tanks and development partners from the Asia and Pacific region, the book urges policy makers to invest in social protection and broaden health insurance, build up pension funds, and provide targeted social assistance programs, including conditional cash transfers and employment guarantee schemes.
"Crises are not exceptions, but accrue in cycles," Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said. "It's critical that we understand that major downturns will inevitably occur in the future, and plan accordingly to ensure that the most vulnerable sectors of society are better protected the next time around."
The book is a joint work of ADB, the ADB Institute (ADBI), the German Development Cooperation (BMZ/GTZ/KfW), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, and the Governments of the People's Republic of China and Vietnam.
The original conference proceedings are available and the book can be downloaded at: www.adb.org/documents/books/poverty-sustainable-development/ (ANI)