The publication contains the report of the Fifth Asian and Pacific Ministerial Conference on Social Development, including the Manila Declaration on Accelerated Implementation of the Agenda for Action on Social Development in the ESCAP Region. It also contains major papers highlighting vital social development trends and concerns, which were prepared for the Conference by the ESCAP secretariat and various collaborators.
The Fifth Asian and Pacific Ministerial Conference on Social Development was convened by ESCAP in Manila in November 1997. The Conference reviewed and assessed the progress achieved in attaining the goals and targets of the regional Agenda, in the context of the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development. While acknowledging the progress and continuous efforts made by many countries in the region in poverty alleviation, employment generation and social integration, it noted with concern the social challenges that remained to be addressed. The Conference recognized the social development repercussions of international economic volatility and agreed that it was necessary to monitor the impact of the current financial crisis in some parts of the region on the population at large and ensure that social development targets and goals were not adversely affected by the corrective economic measures being undertaken or planned. It deliberated on proposals for national action and regional cooperation in order to accelerate the implementation of the regional Agenda in the light of current and emerging social development challenges in the Asian and Pacific region.
The Conference adopted the Manila Declaration on Accelerated Implementation of the Agenda for Action on Social Development in the ESCAP Region. A set of recommendations annexed to the Declaration concerned national action on planning and target-setting, mobilizing enablers and institutional support, mobilizing resources, capacity-building through human resources development, and monitoring and evaluation with a view to the early attainment of the goals and targets in the Agenda. The Declaration also contained recommendations for regional and international action in support of national action and follow-up action.