This year’s edition of our flagship Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific lays out a roadmap for inclusive post-pandemic recovery and development – a “Building Forward Fairer” policy agenda.
Our recommendations take aim at the unprecedented economic devastation and subsequent human suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting us with a generational opportunity to build a more equal and sustainable future.
While developing economies rebounded robustly in 2021 after a year of contraction triggered by the pandemic, the recovery remains fragile and uneven: economic growth is projected to be moderate in 2022 amid continuing uncertainty compounded by the Ukraine crisis.
A more fundamental challenge to sustained inclusive and economic recovery is the loss of jobs and incomes that last year pushed nearly 90 million people in the region back into extreme poverty.
The Survey analyzes the importance of effective government actions and the role of fiscal, monetary and structural policies in enhancing inclusiveness.
This three-pronged policy agenda includes:
• Avoid fiscal cuts so that development gains are not irreversibly lost. Countries must maintain public spending on health care, education and social protection to keep inequalities from deepening and becoming entrenched.
• Second, central banking can move beyond its traditional role and share the onus of promoting economic inclusiveness, not least because high and persistent levels of inequality can reduce monetary policy effectiveness.
• Finally, developing countries can learn from the experiences of advanced economies to proactively guide, shape and manage the structural transformation and technological innovation process for more inclusive outcomes.
These measures would give countries a fighting chance to get back on track with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.