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Trade on Human Terms: Transforming Trade for Human Development in Asia and the Pacific

  • Hafiz A. Pasha

Against the backdrop of export-led growth of some economies -- most notably China and India -- human development issues in Asia tend to be overlooked. The 2006 report Trade on Human Terms, produced by the United Nations Development Programme, finds that trade has contributed to further increasing the inequality both between and within countries. In addition, it warns that many of the region's open economies, particularly the East Asian success stories, are creating far fewer jobs, especially for youth and women, and experiencing "jobless growth." Many of the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific are now net importers of agricultural products; food security has thus become an emerging issue.

While Asia and the Pacific have embraced globalization, the regions poor are being left behind and will be so without determined action by governments. The report recommends that those countries adopt bold new policies that harness trade and economic growth, suggesting an "eight-point agenda" that includes investing for competitiveness; adopting strategic trade policies; restoring a focus on agriculture; combating jobless growth; and others.

Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha will discuss the findings and recommendations of this ground-breaking and thoughtful report which can be viewed at:

Asia - Pacific Human Development Report 2006

Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha is UN assistant secretary-general and UNDP assistant administrator and director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. He has served as the commerce and trade minister, minister for finance and economic affairs, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, and education minister in three government administrations in Pakistan.

Prior to his government work, Dr. Pasha was the vice chancellor/president of the University of Karachi and dean and director of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, Pakistan.

Dr. Pasha has published extensively in the fields of trade, public finance, social development, and poverty reduction. He has an M.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Pasha was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Achievement by the Philippines Congress in recognition of his work on poverty reduction, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the Asia-Pacific countries and his role in leading UNDP's response to the 2004 tsunami tragedy.