Asia must promote employment, support those without decent jobs, ADB says

Creating the conditions for good jobs and, more importantly, social protection programs for those unable to find decent work is an urgent priority for governments in Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss told a conference in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. Speaking at the conclusion of a three-day conference titled ”The Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific,” Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said that the recent global economic downturn has cut demand for the exports on which the region’s economies depend, forcing job cuts in many of the industries that send their goods overseas and slashing the incomes of thousands of people in the region. Many may struggle to find alternative employment. ”Before the crisis – in the context of high growth rates – only about half of the region’s young labor entrants could find decent jobs, while the rest had to sustain themselves and their families through the informal sector,” said Ms. Schaefer-Preuss. ”The need for social protection strategies to address the post-crisis labor market becomes more urgent with the prospect that growth rates may not reach the levels of just a few years ago.” The conference, organized by the ADB, together with the governments of Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China, the ASEAN Secretariat and nine development partners, saw over 350 representatives from ADB, regional governments, civil society, intergovernment organizations and academe discuss the social impact of the global crisis and the need for social policy reforms.