Asian Leaders Urged to Do More to Ease Poverty

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 5:15 am (UTC-5)
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Asian countries are being urged to do more and pay more to help end extreme poverty in the world.

That was the message emerging Monday from a panel discussion at the closing session of the World Economic Forum on East Asia. More than 500 leaders of government, business and civil society attended the two-day event, held for the first time in Jakarta.

Rajat Nag, managing director general of the Asian Development Bank, noted that Asia’s dramatic economic growth has raised living standards for many millions of people. But he called on Asian governments to raise taxes and allocate public resources to help almost a billion people who still live in extreme poverty.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs agreed that Asia should carry more of the burden of relieving poverty in the world. He said slow economic recovery in the developed world has left the United States and Europe unwilling or unable to do the job.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the forum on Sunday with a warning that Asia’s rapid economic growth will mean greater competition for finite natural resources. He urged the region’s political and business leaders to address the pressures coming from food, energy and water insecurity.

This is the 20th year that the World Economic Forum has held its East Asia event. The organization is best known for its annual forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.