NEW YORK (August 19, 2010) – To sustain its economic recovery, the Asia-Pacific region needs to create new internal markets by addressing infrastructure gaps and alleviating poverty, according to a United Nations-backed gathering that wrapped up today in Bangkok, Thailand.
The roundtable, whose theme was “Global economic crisis and the Asia-Pacific region: sustaining Asian dynamism in a post-crisis world,” was jointly organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Club de Madrid, an independent group aiming to promote democracy and change and whose members are former heads of State and government.
“There is a question mark on the ability of the region’s economies to sustain recovery beyond the fiscal stimulus packages as developed countries wind down the global imbalances or curb excessive consumption,” said Noeleen Heyzer, ESCAP Executive Secretary.
She added that the region “will need to find new sources of supplementing aggregate demand to sustain its growth.”
There are 950 million poor people in Asia and the Pacific, who, participants at the meeting pointed out, could help boost domestic consumption if the necessary policies are in place to lift them above the poverty line.
Enormous gaps in infrastructure development across the region also could help increase domestic investment, as well as allowing smaller and less developed countries to share the benefits of growth with their larger and wealthier neighbors.
November’s meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, will be the first gathering of the leading and emerging nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
In this regard, participants at today’s meeting underlined that the region should play a global governance role commensurate with its increasing economic strength.
“In the months to come, it will be necessary to find the balance between short-term macroeconomic coordination to prevent a double-dip recession and important long-term issues,” said Wim Kok, former prime minister of the Netherlands and current head of the Club de Madrid.
“Asia needs to avoid being complacent, and its leaders need to be prepared to take the next steps forward,” he stressed.