The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) officially launched its flagship publication, the ‘Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific 2017’, simultaneously in 24 locations around the world, this week.
In Colombo, the event was graced by the chief guest, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Una McCauley, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Jose Antonio Pedrosa Garcia, Economic Affairs Officer of ESCAP and Subhashini Abeysinghe, Research Director of Verite Research.
Speaking at the event, McCauley, said, “ESCAP is the United Nation’s regional development arm for the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to 4.1 billion people; two thirds of the world’s population.
As such, ESCAP is the most comprehensive of the UN’s five regional commissions, and the largest UN body serving the Asia-Pacific region with over 600 staff. Since its establishment in 1947, ESCAP has issued its flagship publication, the survey, every year, making it one of the longest, continuously running reports in the United Nations system.”
The theme for this year’s report is ‘Governance and Fiscal Management’. The UNESCAP Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017 assesses the region’s economic outlook noting that the pace of economic expansion in the region is modest compared to its recent historical trend, and highlights the importance of better governance and effective fiscal management.
The survey finds that the quality of governance affects development outcomes through its impact on the composition and efficiency of public expenditure. The report further argues that better governance and effective fiscal management in the region not only can improve long-term economic prospects, but also facilitate in grappling with social and environmental concerns.
In Sri Lanka, the survey reports that economic growth moderated to 4.4 per cent in 2016, from 4.8 per cent in 2015 and an average of 7.4 percent during the period 2010-2014. The report also shows that economic growth in the country is expected to rebound modestly to 4.8-4.9 percent in 2017 and 2018.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Coomaraswamy stated, “The main focus on this year’s ESCAP Report is on governance and fiscal management. For Sri Lanka, it is of utmost importance that effective fiscal management drives our work. Sri Lanka’s location and external relations stands well in supporting an export driven economy.
It is important that we find financial options that can support the achievement of these goals. This is the main highlight of this year’s ESCAP Report, which makes it a useful tool for policy decision makers within Sri Lanka and the region.”
At the event, a video message was shared by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary. In addition, Garcia delivered a presentation on the Survey 2016 findings, and Abeysinghe spoke on Sri Lanka’s context.
The event was attended by government officials, the international community, academia, and the private sector.