UN agency says calamity expenses to affect MDGs | Inquirer Business

UN agency says calamity expenses to affect MDGs

/ 11:05 PM December 23, 2013

The lingering effects of devastation from Supertyphoon “Yolanda” show the need for some Asian economies to incorporate the reduction of disaster risk into their development strategies, according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap).

In its 2013 yearend update report, the Escap also reiterated that disasters in general could adversely affect the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

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In 2000, UN member-countries adopted a declaration that eventually mapped out what were now known as the eight MDGs set to be achieved by 2015.

These included eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empower women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development.

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In its 44-page report, the Escap said that when a portion of gross domestic product (GDP) is lost because of a disaster, progress toward the attainment of the MDGs is also set back mainly because resources allocated for poverty reduction might be used instead for recovery and reconstruction.

“Therefore, the scale of impact of (Yolanda, known internationally as “Haiyan”) underscores the need for further mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development strategies,” the UN agency said.

“As with other natural disasters in the region, Typhoon Haiyan served as a stark reminder that several economies in the Asia-Pacific region are the most vulnerable to climate-related disasters globally and are likely to be among the most affected by the consequences of a changing climate,” it added.

A few weeks after “Yolanda” made landfall, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the devastation pushed the Philippines further away from reducing the poverty rate to 16.6 percent by 2015.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, who is also Neda director general, said Filipinos who used to be well off could fall below the poverty line because of Yolanda’s impact on their sources of income and employment.

According to the Escap, losses due to Yolanda were expected to be severe among small-scale business owners and the informal sector, marginal farmers and poor households, as they often lacked buffers against sudden, external shocks.

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TAGS: Business, Escap, MDGs, Millennium Development Goals, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations, Yolanda
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