Monday, May 07, 2007

With One Half Of World's Citizens' Lives At Stake, Experts Try To Begin To Reconcile Economic Growth, Poverty, Traditional Culture And The Environment

"The dual realities speak for themselves. Asia's poverty rate has plummeted from about 50 percent to less than 19 percent in the past four decades and average income has grown nearly sixfold, but nearly 2 billion people still live on less than $2 a day.

Asia stands at the crossroads of poverty and prosperity -- and its arrival is widening divisions over how to manage the economic boom and ensure that no one is excluded.

The debate climaxed Monday as the Asian Development Bank wrapped up its annual meeting with no clear consensus. The bank, founded in 1966 to end poverty, now says prosperity poses the newest threat to the continent.

On one side are those saying development must now meet the needs of an increasingly wealthy region; on the other are voices warning that the fight against poverty is far from won. Activists, meanwhile, accuse institutions like the ADB of pushing ''slash-and-burn'' policies that prioritize growth over the environment or traditional culture.

According to the ADB's own figures, extreme poverty is projected to be all but wiped out in Asia within 15 years. Whereas famine and disease used to be top worries in developing Asia, industrial pollution, overstrapped infrastructures, weak financial systems, and a growing urban-rural divide are now key concerns....

Which way development heads next is important because it will shape the future of a region that accounts for about a quarter of international trade, a third of the global economy and more than half the world's people."

Associated Press "Asian Development Bank Seeks New Mission" New York Times May 7, 2007

Photo credit: With thanks.


Poverty in Asia

Poverty in Africa

Poverty in Europe

Poverty in America

Poverty in Australia


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