The Survey 2019 argued that we should raise our ambitions beyond GDP growth and re-prioritize investments towards people and the planet. The current resource intensive growth model that the Asia-Pacific region has pursued, is not sustainable. If current production and consumption patterns continue, we would need 3-5 planetary Earths, 60 per cent of which would be for the Asia-Pacific region.This kind of growth is also detrimental to the environment, which affects the region’s capacity to consume and produce in the future. Environmental degradation and climate-induced disasters could also reverse the region’s efforts at poverty reduction.
Building on this core message, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2020 (Survey 2020) will propose a concept of “sustainable economy” and examine its key elements. The rationale is that achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will require fundamental changes to the economic model, including in systems of production and consumption. The main call for action is as follows: urgency, policy trade-offs, and needed behavioral changes.
Under the traditional economic theory, producers maximize profits and consumers maximize their utilities (or satisfaction) subject to their budget constraints or initial endowments. However, what both producers and consumers are facing today is a larger constraint from nature: this more binding constraint must be taken into consideration for sustainability of both production and consumption, and hence the environment. The Survey 2020 would establish the stylized facts by digging deeper into demand and supply patterns in consumption and production of resources. Then, the report will analyze the efforts on the part of the two main categories of stakeholders (consumers and producers) along the cross-cutting themes of governance, finance, emerging urbanization models, behaviors and collaboration among stakeholders.
The Conference will host international experts on the subject of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) from within ESCAP, other UN and external agencies, as well as the private sector. The objective will be to engage with multiple stakeholders on the subject to attain the following goals by the end of two days:
- Understand how macroeconomic policies can tackle the impacts of climate change from over consumption and production;
- Elevate the discussion on how we can maximize material resource use efficiency while maintaining competitiveness of State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) and private businesses; and
- Bring different perspectives to the discussion on how we can prioritize purpose while making profits to ensure our overall long-term wellbeing and quality of life.