The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, at it fifty-seventh session held in April 2001, emphasized that the three major development priorities of ESCAP were poverty alleviation; addressing the negative impacts of globalization; and emerging social issues.
With the shift in development paradigms, it is critically important to develop projects and activities under Minimum Common Programme in the light of the current policy strategies of financial and institutional donors and partners. It is equally important to protect the interests of developing countries from the negative effects of globalization by capacity-building. With such long-term goals, policy strategies will also be likely to determine the amount and level of support mechanisms for the programme. As world population continues to rise, concerns for alleviating the poor conditions of the greater masses of the people generate greater interest from development funding institutions and agencies.
Yet another concern is the widening digital divide within and across the member countries, which makes it quite difficult not only for the benefits of space technology to reach people equitably, but also for several other benefits of information technology (IT) to touch directly the grass-root levels and all levels of decision makers. Fast-changing technological options and innovations in space technology underscore the need for countries in the region to absorb and harness the full potential of the technology, while taking cognizance of socio-cultural settings and the technological trends and absorption capacity of those countries.
The common denominator projects have been focused to address such needs. The mapping of the objectives of the Minimum Common Programme onto these overarching ESCAP priorities is illustrated in table 2.
Table 2. Mapping of RESAP Minimum Common Programme goals onto the goals of ESCAP