Economic Crisis and Children: An Overview for East Asia and the Pacific
The global economic downturn threatens to reverse progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, especially with regards to children’s health, education, and overall development. Of concern are adverse effects on children vis-a-vis poor health indicators, lower educational attainment, increased child labor, and reduced family incomes. How governments respond to the crisis is vital to ensuring that the crisis does not lead to long-term consequences for children and vulnerable populations. Badly designed policies or those that are slow to materialize can be destabilizing and detrimental to the populations they aim to protect. Social safety nets and increased expenditures for social services, particularly in health and education, are important mechanisms that ensure protection for the poor.
In view of the global crisis, and amid signals of a dire short-to medium-term outlook for East Asia and Pacific Region, in January 2009 UNICEF convened a high-level conference in Singapore, bringing together government leaders, United Nations agencies, civil society, and academia. Experts from the East Asia and Pacific region presented original research on the varied dynamics of the economic crisis an its effects on children. As a follow-up to the conference, UNICEF worked with governments to monitor the impact of the crisis on health and eduction so as to better formulate policy responses to protect children.
This paper provides an overview of the key issues discussed during the conference. It explores the characteristics of the global crisis, provides an analysis of potential impacts, and lays out the case for developing and implementing targeted social policy interventions.
1. Patel. M (2009) "Economic Crisis and Children: An Overview for East Asia and the Pacific", Global Social Policy, vol. 9, no.33, pp.33-54