Inclusive policies key to sustainable growth, say Asia-Pacific countries ahead of the G20

ESCAP concludes 2 day pre G-20 meeting with 26 Asia-Pacific Countries

An Asia-Pacific high-level consultation organized by the United Nations ahead of the G20 summit in Seoul, Republic of Korea called for inclusive global governance and underlined the central role of anti-poverty measures in supporting global growth in the post-crisis world.

A chairpersons’ summary was adopted by representatives of 26 countries from across the region at the end of a two-day consultation organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Countries welcomed the initiative of the Republic of Korea to proactively extend the G20’s outreach activities by inviting ESCAP and other regional commissions of the United Nations – the only global body with universal participation – to convey the perspectives of non-G20 countries on the Summit’s agenda.

Highlighting the growth-development linkages, they called for the G20 Summit to give a clear message that “the achievement of the MDGs and narrowing of development gaps have a central place in achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth.”

With 950 million people in Asia-Pacific still in poverty, the challenge of global rebalancing and the need for new sources of demand is an opportunity to promote inclusive development, says the outcome document. To this end, policies to boost agriculture and rural development, social protection, financial inclusion, and job creation should be expanded, with a focus on disadvantaged groups and women.

In addition, taking note of the work being done to strengthen the financial system, including through a new capital framework, countries emphasized the need to maintain the positive momentum. At the same time, however, concerns were expressed that the new measures may unintendedly reduce poor countries’ access to critical external finance. It was therefore proposed that a thorough impact analysis of new regulations be conducted along these lines.

Addressing the representatives on the second day of the consultation, Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, the UN Assistant Secretary General closely involved in the G20 process, emphasized the need for a more “conscious design and comprehensive reform” of the global economic and financial governance. In this connection, countries recognized the recently agreed shifts in World Bank voting power and IMF quotas as encouraging first steps, but called for the G20 to continue pushing for further and more ambitious steps to enhance the representation of developing countries.