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Asia-Pacific countries confer on upcoming G20 summit

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More the two dozen Asia-Pacific nations have gathered for a United Nations gathering which kicked off today to discuss crucial issues related to economic growth and recovery ahead of next month’s summit of the so-called Group of 20 (G20).

The two-day consultations in Bangkok, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), seek to coordinate the region’s voice and discuss non-G20 perspectives.

Participants are slated to confer on how narrowing development gaps, financial stability and global governance reforms.

The 11-12 November G20 meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, said ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer, will be “remembered for bringing development on the G20 agenda for the first time.”

Addressing the start of the Bangkok meeting, she said that the “challenge thrown up by the financial crisis in terms of diminishing aggregate demand can be turned into an opportunity for promoting inclusive development in the region, which has 950 million poor and faces wide development gaps.”

Ms. Heyzer underlined the need for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, to play a central role in sustaining growth, something the entire world has a stake in.

Several nations taking part in today’s gathering expressed support for the assessment by Nagesh Kumar, ESCAP’s Chief Economist, that Asia has considerable headroom to generate domestic demand by promoting inclusive development policies. New business opportunities and additional domestic demand could be spurred by lifting the region’s nearly 1 billion poor people out of poverty.

Countries also emphasized the importance of closer cooperation between the G20 and the UN, especially in allowing all nations to voice their concerns and priorities.