Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the ESCWA Region 2005-2006

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This annual Survey reviews economic and social trends in the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) region. It evaluates the region’s performance in areas such as economic development, population growth, health conditions, education and gender affairs. This year’s Survey warns that the impact from the current oil-boom on region-wide development remains below potential because of comparatively low levels of economic integration and sub-optimal macroeconomic structures in most UN-ESCWA member countries. The Survey emphasizes that in an area so rich in resources, a change could be readily achieved in a more regionally-integrative and tension-defused environment, with an economic policy centred on regional cooperation, investment facilitation and job creation.

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Rights-based and pro-poor economic policies

The human right to development was recognized by the Declaration on the Right to Development (UNDRD) in 1986. drawing upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).11 The connection between these two declarations is more than merely superficial, and it could be argued that the UNDRD elaborates the implications of the UDHR for economic and social development. The UDHR sets out not only general principles concerning civil and political rights, it also describes social and economic rights, including, among others, the rights to social security, work, rest and leisure, education, and participation in the cultural life of the nation.12

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