ESCAP TO LAUNCH KEY ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SURVEY ON ASIA-PACIFIC REGION

- How is the neglect of agriculture condemning 600 million people to poverty?
- What is the impact of the US subprime crisis on Asia and the Pacific?
- Which Asian economies will be hit hardest by the subprime crisis?
- What defensive actions can they take?
- Why has global financial power shifted to Asia?
- How are biofuels affecting record food prices in Asia?

These are just some of the questions that the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) addresses in the latest issue of its flagship publication, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2008.

The Survey will be launched on Thursday, 27 March, 2008, at 0500 GMT, in more than 20 capitals in the region, and in New York and Geneva.

This year’s Survey, entitled “Sustaining Growth and Sharing Prosperity,” says 218 million – a third of the region’s poor, largely living in rural areas – could be lifted out of poverty by raising agricultural productivity if governments address decades of policy neglect and failure in the agricultural sector. The Survey also calls for a comprehensive liberalization of global trade in agriculture, as this would take a further 48 million people out of poverty in the region.

This year’s issue marks the 60th anniversary of the Survey, first published in Shanghai in May 1948, which examines the most critical issues, challenges and risks in Asia and the Pacific in the months ahead, and explores critical long-term development issues relevant to all developing countries in the region.

Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Director of ESCAP, will launch the Survey in New Delhi, India, along with India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, the Hon. Kamal Nath.