Wed, 24 Jul 1996

Growth should aim for quality: Experts

JAKARTA (JP): National development programs should aim to achieve growth in terms of quality as well as quantity, experts from Asia-Pacific countries said yesterday.

"Economic growth is not an end, but a means to achieving human development," the experts, taking part in a workshop to review the 1996 Human Development Report (HDR), said.

The experts defined human development as including the reduction of poverty and social deprivation, promotion of equal access to opportunities and the achievement of full employment and sustainability, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) office in Jakarta, which co-hosted the workshop, said.

The participants agreed that there was no automatic link between economic growth and human development. "The link had to be fostered by policy measures and a strong emphasis on equity," the UNDP statement said.

The Center for Information and Development Studies was the workshop's other host. The two-day meeting was held to review the report, commissioned by the UNDP and launched last week, which found that the disparity between the world's rich and poor was widening.

Rahadi Ramelan, the vice chairman of the National Development Planning Board, gave the workshop's keynote address. Other speakers included Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Director of the HDR Office at the United Nations Development Program in New York, and Nay Htun, Director of the UN Development Program Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. (14)