UNDP Report: 90% SEA’s Poor Live in Indonesia and Philippine

Image credit : Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – A report tracking the progress of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) found that the region is a diverse and rapidly changing area that is experiencing progress across many aspects of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development.

Somehow, while the 10 member states of the bloc have made significant progress towards eradicating extreme poverty, many working poor across the region remain vulnerable to falling back into poverty. A huge number who those living under the poverty line in Southeast Asia are Indonesians and Filipinos, a new report from United National Development (UNDP) has shown.

The Asean-China-UNDP Report on Financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Asean report stated that across the region some 36 million people live below the international poverty line of US$1.90 per day or 90 per cent of whom are in Indonesia and the Philippines.

The high numbers of impoverished people in Indonesia and the Philippines be explained by their relative population size – accounting for more than 250 million and 100 million out of ASEAN’s roughly 700 million people, respectively.

Indonesia has nevertheless made great strides in reducing poverty said the report, with the poverty rate decreasing by an average of 10 to 15 per cent every year.

Out of an estimated 132 million people lifted out of extreme poverty in the ASEAN region during the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era from 2000 to 2015, Indonesia and Vietnam’s citizens accounted for a whopping 90 per cent.

Some 40 million Indonesians were lifted out of poverty between 2006 and 2014.

Likewise, the Philippines had also made progress in poverty alleviation efforts, with the poverty rate decreasing from 17 per cent in 2005 to 12 per cent in 2013. According to the report, national measures indicate the downward trend has continued.

Rates of malnutrition remain high in the three least developed nations of ASEAN – Cambodia, Laos and Burma (Myanmar) – and in Indonesia and the Philippines. More than 30 per cent of the population of these countries has suffered from stunting, said the report.

Significant progress in terms of education has been made across ASEAN, with primary school completion rates above 95 per cent in all 10 countries. Challenges remain for the secondary school sector, however, where in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma enrollment rates are the lowest regionally. Quality of education also remains a “major concern” in some countries, it said.

As a whole, extreme poverty is falling rapidly across much of the region, from 17 per cent of the regional population in 2005 to 7 per cent in 2013. Progress is being made in key areas of health such as maternal mortality and tuberculosis prevalence, which are falling in almost all countries.

Written by Elisa Valenta, email: elisa.valenta@theinsiderstories.com