Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific

2412-0979 (online)
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The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific monitors regional progress, provides cutting-edge analyses and guides policy discussion on the current and emerging socio-economic issues and policy challenges to support inclusive and sustainable development in the region. Since 1957, the Survey has also contained a study or studies focusing on a significant aspect or challenge relevant to the economies of Asia and the Pacific region.
Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 1983

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31 Dec 1983
9789210599092 (PDF)

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This latest edition of the Survey analyzes current economic and social developments in the region against the background of events in the world economy. It also focuses on the serios problems of growth and transformation of the area's least developed and Pacific Island developing economies.

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  • Foreword
  • Explanatory note

    The term “ESCAP region” is used in the present issue of the Survey to include Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, China, Cook Islands, Democratic Kampuchea, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Niue, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Viet Nam. The term “developing ESCAP region” excludes Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Recent economic developments

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    • International economic developments

      At the end of 1983, the outlook for the world economy was less than bright, despite widespread expectations of an impending recovery, strengthened by continuing favourable trends in the economy of the United States of America for over a year and a considerable increase in its pace during the second half of 1983. The growth impulse provided by the United States economy was, however, not yet strong enough to provide a firm assurance either of its durability in the United States or of the possibility of its spread to other developed countries, especially those in Europe. Critical questions regarding the speed of the recovery of the world economy and the length of the upswing still remained unanswered. Indeed, if a strong recovery were to be delayed much longer, the pessimists’ forecasts of the current weak upturn merging into another recession could well be proved right.

    • Macroeconomic performance of the developing ESCAP economics

      The impact of the recession in the developed countries on the performance of the developing economies of the ESCAP region made itself felt most comprehensively during 1982. Since firm data on most economic variables become available only after about a year’s lag, the full significance of the slow-down in the growth momentum of Asian developing countries in 1982 has become clear only recently. With very few exceptions, the most important of which being China, developing ESCAP countries experienced a definite and significant slow-down in their growth rates in 1982. The incipient recovery in the United States and other developed countries since early 1983 has begun to have sufficient effect on some developing ESCAP countries to arrest and reverse the unfavourable trend of 1982. However, as yet, the effect of such a recovery has not been strong and evenly spread over the economies of the region.

    • Growth in major sectors

      Agricultural production is a major determinant of economic well-being in most developing ESCAP countries, and changes in it reflect closely the extent of improvement or otherwise in the welfare of a majority of the population. This situation is changing in many countries as the proportion of income derived from agriculture falls and as the proportion of households that depends on agricultural production alone declines. Thus year-to-year changes in agricultural output have a less unambiguous impact than in the past. However, changes in agricultural production, at least for the major agricultural economies of the ESCAP region, continue to provide fairly reliable indications of changes in welfare in these economies.

    • International trade and public finance
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Implementing the international development strategy: Major issues facing the developing ESCAP region

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    • Food and agriculture

      Agricultural and rural development and the eradicatior of hunger and malnutrition are among the chief aims of the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade. The achievement of national and collective self-sufficiency in food as early as possible by developing countries is another major goal. Agricultural output was targeted to grow on average at 4 per cent per annum. Instruments of policy aimed at achieving these objectives include price incentives, credit distribution, improvement of storage and transport facilities, reduction of post-harvest losses, agrarian reforms, wider access to water resources and other ingredients of improved technology, development of forests, fisheries and agroindustries, better integration of women in all stages of production processes and the establishment of agricultural co-operatives.

    • Industrialization

      The targets of the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade pertaining to industry are expressed mainly in terms of manufacturing. The Strategy, in line with the Lima Declaration, calls for an expansion of manufacturing output at an average annual rate of 9 per cent so as to lay the basis for developing countries to produce 25 per cent of world output of manufactures by the year 2000. Other objectives include satisfaction of domestic demand, provision of employment, diversification of output and an increase in the share of developing countries in world exports of manufactured goods. In spite of differences in emphasis between countries, these largely reflect the aspirations of many developing ESCAP countries as revealed in their development plans. In this chapter, the focus is on certain aspects of policy measures adopted in developing ESCAP countries to achieve these objectives. A brief review of global measures has also been undertaken.

    • Energy

      A long-term solution to the energy problem is among the objectives and goals of the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade. To that end, it is recommended, inter alia, that efforts for the development and expansion of all energy resources be intensified; that the economies now primarily based on hydrocarbons for energy rely increasingly on new and renewable sources of energy; and that measures for the conservation of hydrocarbons be urgently adopted. The Strategy recognizes the increasing requirements of energy in developing countries and calls for promoting the exploration, development and expansion of all energy resources of developing countries. It urges the international community to devote financial and technical resources adequate for these purposes.

    • Transport

      The International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade envisages development of roads and railways as part of the expansion of physical infrastructure to support fully the expansion of the economy as a whole. In addition, the Strategy calls upon the international community to take the steps necessary to enable developing countries to reach as close as possible to 20 per cent of the deadweight tonnage of the world merchant fleet by 1990 as well as to make major advances in air transport, particularly in air cargo transport.

    • Social conditions

      The International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade pro vides a set of recommendations addressed to various aspects of social development. It is recognized in the Strategy that close to 85 million people in the developing world live at the margin of existence enduring hunger, sic ness, homelessness and absence of meaningful employment , that great numbers remain underemployed or unemployed that many millions are illiterate and that high infant mortality rates, poor housing and environmental degradation in urban slums and depressed rural areas continue to afflict the people of the developing countries. The reduction and elimination of poverty and a fair distribution of the benefits of development, therefore, are regarded as primary obectives of the international community during the Decade. These are further specified in time-bound targets to be reached as closely as possible by the year 2000. Universal primary enrolment, health for all, attainment of life expectancy of 6 years in the minimum and reduction of infant mortality rates to 5 per 1, live births are among these targets. The Strategy also highlights the need for ameliorating the conditions of the disadvantaged groups e.g. the disabled, children, youth and women.

    • International trade

      The International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade calls for a rapid expansion and diversification of the international trade of developing countries and an improvement in their terms of trade. The target annual growth rates of their exports and imports are 7.5 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively. To attain these objectives, the Strategy envisages a variety of measures which include, inter alia, improved access to markets in developed countries by extending to them, where necessary and appropriate, preferential and nonreciprocal treatment, agreement on a multilateral safeguard system, full and effective operation of the Common Fund and the Integrated Programme for Commodities, adoption of special measures by developed countries to reduce trade barriers facing developing countries and expanded trade among developing countries. Only selected aspects of the various trade policy issues raised in the Strategy will be dealt with in this chapter.

    • International financial resource transfer

      As part of continuing efforts by the international community to increase the flow of financial resources to developing countries, the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade envisaged that “a rapid and substantial increase will be made in official development assistance by all developed countries, with a view to reaching and, where possible, surpassing the agreed international target of 0.7 per cent of the gross national product (GNP) of developed countries. To this end, developed countries which have not yet reached the target should exert their best efforts to reach it by 1985, and in any case not later than in the second half of the decade. The target of 1 per cent should be reached as soon as possible thereafter”. The Strategy recommended that “international financial flows, particularly public flows, should be improved and adapted, consistent with the needs of developing countries as regards volume, composition, quality, forms and distribution of flows”. The Strategy also assigned an important role to non-concessionary flows as a source of development finance for many developing countries. Further, it showed a great deal of concern with reforms in the international monetary and financial system with a view to making it more responsive to the needs of developing countries.

    • Regional and subregional co-operation

      The Declaration and the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order of May 19741 viewed co-operation among developing countries at the regional, sub-regional and interregional levels as a means of strengthening their role in a new international economic order. Attention since the mid-1970s has been largely focused on the potential for a realignment of economic relationships between North and South. These sentiments were carried forward into the International Development Strategy for the 1980s, which calls upon member countries of the United Nations “to fulfil their commitment to establish a new international economic order based on justice and equity”. However, the Strategy also views economic and technical co-operation among developing countries (ECDC and TCDC) based on collective self-reliance as “a dynamic and vital component of an effective restructuring of international economic relations”. In conformity with the Strategy, this chapter concentrates on ECDC and TCDC aspects in the developing ESCAP region rather than on regional co-operation in its wider sense.

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