Large parts of the population in Asia and the Pacific are still struggling to generate a livelihood that satisfies their basic needs, being highly vulnerable to any form of external shock. The lack of income, assets, opportunities and access to social services make them unable to mitigate or cope with an increasing number of economic, social and environmental risks. This has been evidenced recently by the multiple global crises which have caused large portions of the population to fall back into poverty. The challenge is thus to reduce poverty, diminish risks and exclusion, enhance peopleís resilience and protect the disempowered in a constantly changing region, characterized by a variety of cultures and volatile economic systems. The call to address this challenge is particularly urgent for population groups which are prone to exclusion such as persons with disabilities, women, migrants, older persons, as well as ethnic minorities.
ESCAP provides a platform for Governments, academia and civil society partners to exchange ideas, discuss and reach agreement on policies and programmes to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience in Asia and the Pacific in the face of shocks to the economic, social and natural environment. ESCAP works towards:
Such a comprehensive approach based on human rights is crucial for building resilient communities, able to reduce their own vulnerabilities. ESCAP is currently preparing a conference on social protection in collaboration with Social Protection in Asia (SPA) and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). The conference will provide a forum for researchers and policy makers to review the regionís current situation and find innovative solutions to tackle the challenges outlined above. Social protection and its link with development will be the topic of the theme study at the ESCAP Commission Session to be held in Bangkok in 2011.