Featured Speakers: Hafiz Pasha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP; Johannes Linn, Brookings Institution; Getta Rao Gupta,
Moderator: David Yang, UNDP
Keynote Speaker, Hafiz Pasha, focused his panel presentation on “Inclusive Growth and the MDGs: The Asian Experience” in order to bring attention to Asia’s Lowest Developed Countries (LDCs) who have been largely forgotten in the euphoria of China’s and India’s success. There are 14 LDCs in the Asia-Pacific region which include some 258 million people. Pasha pointed out that this number represents 40 per cent of all the people in LDCs and that these countries have made the least progress toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As a region, there has been an increase in inequality both among Asian countries and within these countries. Pasha closed his presentation stating, “The Asian story is positive—a success story—but I have a feeling we can do much more.” His statement served as a reminder to listeners that while there has been growth in the region and progress toward reaching the MDGs, growth without inclusion of the poorest and marginalized groups will ultimately hurt Asian growth overall.
Commentators Johannes Linn and Geeta Rao Gupta both agreed with Pasha’s presentation by highlighting specific points. Gupta spoke to the importance of including women in development and cited the failure to meet the 2005 MDG for gender parity in primary and secondary education. Gupta called this failure unforgivable and called for an increase in resources, political leadership and technical expertise directed towards the right places. Linn mentioned several potential concerns, including the risk of people losing momentum in achieving the MDGs once the dates have come and gone, and the need for a more coordinated UN effort which further adopts the “One UN” imitative and Paris Declaration. All speakers agreed that to be successful in achieving the MDGs we must work for an increase in the inclusion of women, youth, unskilled laborers, migrant households, minorities, the landless, and the aged and disabled.
Date: July 11, 2007
Time: 12:00-2:00 pm
Approximate Number of Attendees: 200
Intern Attending: Meredith Blair