The COVID-19 pandemic has created the worst crisis in Asia and the Pacific since World War II. Across the Asia-Pacific region, as across the world, countries have suffered sudden economic contractions, along with interruptions to trade, broken supply chains, and the collapse of international tourism – leading to widespread job losses and increases in poverty. In all countries, the economic shock caused by the pandemic has exposed many structural weaknesses and fault-lines – notably in health and social protection systems, in digital connectivity and skills, as well as the extent to which our production and consumption patterns have been destroying the environment. As countries now work to stem the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, they also need to address these weaknesses – to build back better.
Beyond the pandemic: Building back better from crises in Asia and the Pacific. The theme study for the 77th Commission session analyses the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in countries of Asia and the Pacific, takes stock of action so far, and sets out a policy agenda for building back better grounded in regional cooperation and centered around four critical interconnected areas: broadening social protection, investing in a sustained recovery, strengthening connectivity and supply chains; and mending a broken relationship with nature.