Major Challenges for Social Agenda
Bangkok, United Nations Information Services (UNIS) --- The United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) are currently holding its 56th annual
Commission Session, 1 to 7 June at the United Nations Conference Centre.
Development and partnership through globalization is the theme but there are other emerging
issues being discussed. As part of a series of ESCAP Snapshots, please find below a few items of
interest taken from ESCAP studies and reports.
Women don't make much gains
Progress has been achieved in the region on the political and economic empowerment of women
but more needs to be done. Some progress has been achieved in literacy, health, economic
participation, amendments to discriminatory laws and decision making at the local level and
strengthening of gender focal points.
Women in poverty continue to suffer economic and social exclusion with the economic crisis still
affecting the employment and social conditions of women. More trafficking in women and
children still posed a grave threat and women continued to suffer from domestic violence and
increasing insecurity owing to localized armed conflicts.
Major challenges for social agenda
Governments have substantively strengthened their policy planning and legal and institutional
arrangements for social development but their social development programmes have been
hampered by resource constraints at the human and financial levels.
At least two major challenges emanating from the international environment must be taken into
account in the planning and implementation of social development agenda of the countries in the
first years of the 21st Century: dangers such as the financial crisis that struck South-East and East
Asia beginning in mid-1997and the dislocative impact along with the creative outcome of
globalization in the ESCAP region.
Social protection systems must be installed to cover as many of the people as is feasible,
particularly the vulnerable groups, in order to minimize the adverse consequences of such crises
on the welfare of populations.
Disabled make progress
Considerable progress has been made in the ESCAP region in the implementation of the
Proclamation and Agenda for Action for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993--2002. Since the last session of the Commission in 1999 four more ESCAP members have signed
the Proclamation (Resolution 49/6) bringing the number of signatories to 40. Nevertheless the
achievement of its targets, which were endorsed by the Commission at its fifty-fifth session in
1996, remains uneven.