Asia is currently affected by the world's most serious global economic slowdown since the 1930s. The causes and impacts are different from the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998 in several respects. The current crisis concerns not only the very poor (i.e. those living under the $1.25 poverty line) but more so the vulnerable poor, mostly educated youth in the export sectors (and backward industries and services). Impact channels are going through labor markets, migration and remittances, social budgets, social protection, gender, health, education and training, among others.
Unlike the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, current response packages in the region are less focused on the social impact; rather initial programs are more oriented towards stimulating growth and strengthening banking and finance. The crisis offers new opportunities for Asia and the Pacific to rebalance toward more inclusive labor markets and social protection systems.
A high level conference will discuss implications of the global economic slowdown on the people in Asia and the Pacific, specially the poor and vulnerable. It is jointly organized by the State Council Leading Group on Poverty Alleviation and Development of the People's Republic of China, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Government of Viet Nam, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the ASEAN Secretariat*.
The conference is supported by partner organizations such as the ADB Institute (ADBI), the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC), the German Development Cooperation (BMZ/GTZ/KfW), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank.
The conference also serves as the 3rd China-ASEAN Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction and the 4th ASEAN+3 High-Level Seminar on Poverty Reduction. It will further build on discussions during the February 2009 ASEAN+3 Officials Meeting on the Social Impact of the Crisis*. Expected high-level participants include various ministers, deputy ministers and directors general from our partner countries, senior management from partner organizations, and ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda, among others.