Review of issues pertinent to the subsidiary structure of the Commission, including the work of the regional institutions, on Macroeconomic policy, poverty reduction and inclusive development


United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand



Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), Fiji

and Women’s Major Group

(Shortened/Check on delivery)


To the Committee of the Whole 1,

Agenda item 3: Review of issues pertinent to the subsidiary structure of the Commission, including the work of the regional institutions, on

(a) Macroeconomic policy, poverty reduction and inclusive development

25 April 2013


Distinguished Chair, government representatives, UNESCAP Bureau, Civil society collegues and Friends,

As discussed by many in the Regional Implementation Meeting just this week on Rio+20 Outcomes, and during this time of critical delberations on Sustainable Development and the Post 2015 Development Agenda, DAWN wishes to recognise this Regional Commission for its important focus on macroeconomic policy, poverty reduction and inclusive development, and offers a few short inputs as follows:

Regional Commissions such as this, provide valuable fora to ensure strongest input of national and regional realities and priorities into regional and global development plans, and negotiations on SDGs and P2015 Development agenda negotiations. Therefore, we thank you and UNESCAP for the opportunity for civil society including women’s groups to contribute, and trust this will only increase in coming years.

This regional focus is absolutely critical in a historical moment where the just-released 2013 Asia Pacific Economic and Social Survey shows that despite some gains in poverty reduction, there are still over 800 million poor in the region struggling for survival on an income of less than $1.25-a-day, consituting nearly two-thirds of the world’s poor. We reiterate on precarity of much work in Asia-Pacific, with over 1 billion workers in the region currently in vulnerable employment. All this, in the midst of food and water crises across the world including in the Asia Pacific, with an estimated 563 million people in our region undernourished.

Therefore DAWN, as one of over 400 women’s groups that are part of the Women’s Major Group network including in the Asia Pacific region, raise the following as essential elements of all effective and inclusive development agendas in order to eradicate poverty including immediate strongest attention to ending extreme poverty; addressing persistent and deep social and economic inequalities; and with strongest attention to environmental degredation and climate change.

Specifically, we call for the following:

  •  Recognition that there are ecological limits to the ‘growth’ paradigm and that sustainable and equaitable economic and social development can never be primarily or only profit-driven;
  • Responsible macroeconomic policy also requires building on an overarching principle of equitable sharing of atmospheric space and respect for planetary boundaries, between and also within States and taking into account intergenerational and social justice, including gender and environmental justice;

  • Further it implies respect for the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which considers historic economic, ecological and social debt responsibility and in compliance with Agenda 21 and Rio+20 commitments on technology transfer, monitoring and assessment, skills development and research as explicit in all investment and trade regimes, and in line with precautionary principle and principle of free, prior informed consent as critical social and ecosystem protection;

  • Women from Asia Pacific also call for urgent global reform of monetary, financial and trade rules in line with human rights obligations, and with adequate policy space for all states, including LDC, LLDC and SIDS states in the economic south, so as to effectively implement effective macroeconomic policies, trade and investment agreements to achieve gender, economic and ecological justice for all;
  • This includes global and national binding safeguards for all peoples of Asia Pacific States, including through application of the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This is central for the protection of bio-cultural users of land and natural resources from negative impacts of extractive industries, and large-scale monocultures;
  • It also implies affirmation of global moratorium on geo-engineering in order to prevent the unsustainable technological and market based fixes that attempt the large-scale manipulation of the earth’s climate such as managing solar radiation, extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and modifying the weather; This can never be the underpinning of responsible macroeconomic policies, as they merely delay and often in fact worsen, longterm social and environmental situation;
  • Relatedly, we call for the phase-out, elimination of financial support and immediate moratoria on harmful economic activities which affect the health of people and the environment, particularly in the areas of extractive industries, nuclear energy, and chemicals. We cannot speak of education for poorest communities to phase out uses of such harmful chemicals for example, when chemical companies continue to have access to domestic markets to sell such goods;
  • Rather, we must promote truly safe and sustainable energy solutions that prevent negative impacts on the health of people and of the planet and that do not further deplete existing community resources;

  • This implies further and better resourced state and UNESCAP support for re-orientation of national agricultural plans away from extractive industries and export- oriented agribusiness and toward local women-led and small-holder agro-ecology practices including strong protection of local free and non-marketised seed supplies and distribution systems so as to reverse environmental and social impacts of food insecurity, soil degradation and land grabbing on all affected communities including refugees, internally displaced peoples, migrants, fisher, forest and indigenous peoples, pastoralists, people with disabilities, people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities, and many other high-need and marginalised groups;
  • To close, we call strongly for guarantees of Asian and Pacific women’s equitable access to, and control over resources for fair asset redistribution among different social groups. This includes issues related to land, ocean, credits, technology, intellectual and cultural property;

  • Member States, we sincerely remind that there can be no real development by, with and for women and girls in the Asia and Pacific if we do not guarantee the human rights of all. This includes guarantee of bodily integrity and autonomy, full sexual and reproductive rights and an end to all sexual and gender based violence;
  • It also requires far clearer political and technical recognition that care and social reproduction are intrinsically linked with the productive economy and therefore must be fully reflected in all microeconomic and macroeconomic policy- making. This is a bottom-line for all poverty eradication, gender equality, human rights and sustainable development policy in the Asia-Pacific region and globally, and must be explicitly reflected in all national and regional development plans.

Thank you Distinguished Chair, Member states and collegues.