WESP Update Emphasizes Need for Commitment to Ensure No Region is Left Behind
UN Photo/Isaac Billy
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The mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects report finds that growth in many regions around the world is below the levels needed to achieve SDGs 1 and 8, among others.

The report raises concerns about projected average growth for the LDCs.

Also according to the report, global carbon emission levels have stalled for three consecutive years.

16 May 2017: The mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) reports that global economic growth has “picked up” in line with projections made in the WESP 2017, released in January. Still, the update stresses that growth in many regions around the world is below the levels needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), and advocates for increased commitment to international policy coordination and coherence to ensure that “no regions are left behind.”

Average growth for the least developed countries (LDCs) remains below SDG target 8.1 (sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth per annum in the LDCs). The WESP update projects growth rates at 4.7% in 2017 and 5.3% in 2018. According to WESP, under this current growth trajectory, nearly 35% of the population in LDCs, highly-indebted poor countries (HIPCs) and countries in fragile and conflict affected situations “may remain in extreme poverty by 2030.” The report also notes that negligible per capita growth is expected in Central, Southern and West Africa, which it says raises concerns about implementation of the 2030 Agenda in those regions.

Negligible growth is expected in Central, Southern and West Africa, which raises concerns about implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

To accelerate medium-term growth, tackle poverty, and address inequalities in income and opportunity in LDCs, the report recommends a combination of short-term policies to support consumption among the most deprived, and longer-term policies, such as investing in rural roads and electrification, and improving access to education and healthcare.

The report states that global carbon emission levels have stalled for three consecutive years as a result of improvements in energy efficiency, increased renewable power generation, transition from coal to natural gas, and slower economic growth in some major emitting countries. However, the authors cite with caution the reluctance of the Group of 20 (G20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and the Group of 7 (G7) Energy Ministers to reaffirm a commitment to timely implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Looking ahead, the WESP update recommends: aligning the multilateral trading system with the 2030 Agenda; supporting climate finance and clean energy technology transfer; expanding official development aid (ODA); and addressing challenges related to large movements of refugees and migrants. Lenni Montiel, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), urged reinvigorating global commitments to international policy coordination, in order to achieve a “balanced and sustained revival of global growth.”

The World Economic Situation and Prospects as of Mid-2017 updates the WESP 2017. The WESP report is the UN’s flagship publication on expected trends in the global economy. [WESP Press Release] [UN Press Release] [DESA Press Release] [Report Website] [WESP 2017: Update as of mid-2017] [DevEx News Story]

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