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90% of Southeast Asia's poorest in Indonesia, Philippines

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Filed on November 20, 2017 | Last updated on November 20, 2017 at 04.10 pm
90% of Southeast Asias poorest in Indonesia, Philippines

(Alamy)

According to a recent report released by ASEAN

Almost 90 per cent of people living below the international poverty line are in Indonesia and the Philippines, states a recent report released by Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The report was launched on November 17 in Jakarta, Indonesia by ASEAN in cooperation with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and China, and is titled "ASEAN-China-UNDP Report on Financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in ASEAN: Strengthening Integrated National Financing Frameworks to Deliver the 2030 Agenda."

According to the ASEAN report quoted in The Philippine Star, extreme poverty has fallen across the region from 17% in 2005 to 7% in 2013, many of the working poor remain vulnerable to falling back in to poverty. It is important for ASEAN as a region, and Member States to identify how to finance poverty eradication programs in order to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ASEAN Vision 2025.

In his remarks during the report launch, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, deputy secretary-general for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, said "ASEAN's greatest asset is its people and proper financing will enable (them) to reach their potential."

While ASEAN has made progress in addressing infectious diseases, challenges still prevail and ASEAN is now facing rising rates of non-communicable diseases. Providing universal health coverage (UHC) is important to improve the lives of the people in ASEAN.

The report states Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Thailand provide UHC through a tax-funded system while Singapore provides UHC through a contribution-based system that includes a social assistance component.

Indonesia is committed to providing UHC and has set a target for achieving UHC by 2019. "The design and configuration of the financing model used affects how successfully the policy reaches the poorest people, expands the range of services on offer and reduces the costs they face," the report is quoted stating.

"Financing SDGs is everyone's business. All actors - public, private, domestic and international - have a role to play," said assistant secretary-general Haoliang Xu of the UNDP.

Indonesia is the most populous country in ASEAN with over 257 million people, followed by the Philippines with 100 million, comprising more than half of the 639 million population of the region.


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