Strengthening social protection, trade and environmental protection key to better rebuilding in Asia-Pacific region, UN report says

Expanding social protection, investing in a sustained recovery, the flow of goods and information, and protecting environmental health will be key to emerging stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a flagship report released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Asia. the Pacific (ESCAP) today.

The study theme for the 77e Commission session, Beyond the pandemic: rebuilding better after the crises in Asia and the Pacific, shows that countries across the region have suffered brutal economic contractions, trade disruptions, shattered supply chains and the complete collapse of international tourism, resulting in widespread job losses and increasing poverty. As no country is spared the effects of COVID-19, the region’s structural weaknesses are more visible than ever.

Specifically, the report calls for the establishment of universal social protection that extends coverage to informal workers and to more women and vulnerable population groups. He stresses that countries will need to strengthen trade and transport links and invest in digitization and broadband connectivity. The report also sets out regional priorities for the health of the planet, identifying the institutional, structural, economic and behavioral changes needed to effectively manage our human and natural environment.

“The report identifies loopholes in the region’s societies and economies that the virus was quick to reveal,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary. “Not just the glaring inequalities and fragility of our health and social protection systems, but also the weaknesses in internet coverage and digital capacity, and the limitations of some trade and transport links that seized up just as where they were needed most. “

“We hope that its information and analysis will help countries in Asia and the Pacific to look beyond the pandemic and move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.

The report presents an ambitious political agenda based on regional cooperation. In particular, the report recommends that countries reject protectionist measures, promoting regional solidarity to facilitate trade and decarbonize industry, by moving to more sustainable and low-carbon multimodal freight transport. To support long-term, resilient and sustainable development, countries should shift spending away from non-development areas and consider tax reforms to reduce inequalities.

The Commission, which is due to meet from April 26-29, 2021, is expected to adopt a resolution based on the report’s findings to strengthen regional resilience and cooperation and build back better.

Read Beyond the pandemic: rebuilding better after crises in Asia and the Pacific in full, please use the following link: http://bit.ly/CS77ThemeStudy

Joel C. Hicks