Report of the Regional Consultation Workshop on Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation (SDPA) A Mid‐Term Review

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The global economy has seen tremendous economic growth in past five decades. Driven by the increasing population and the expanding technological opportunities, as well as social breakthroughs on living standards, millions have been lifted out of poverty and this has been evident in countries such as Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, the so‐called the recipients of the Asian Economic Miracle during the 1970‐1990 period.

Still, there are a lot to be done. Statistics show that a billion of Asia's population is still suffering from chronic poverty. Despite the relative increase in the standard of living between these countries, inequalities on income distribution and the lack of employment and job opportunities still persist. While the intent of development is to produce human development alongside economic development, this is not necessary the result. For instance, hunger is still widespread, with more than 40% of children in Bangladesh and India being underweight. Most of the contemporary economies are likely to miss the target of cutting the proportion of underweight children by half. Nevertheless, more than 20% of the population still live on less than $1.25 (PPP) a day in 15 countries, including Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Poverty means denial of opportunities and choices of the most basic elements of human development. It takes complex efforts to empower human resources to attain a certain level of human and social development. It requires multi‐layered, multi perspectives and multi sector approaches.

As a strategy to meet United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of poverty eradication, regional development partners i.e. World Bank, ADB, IDB, ILO, IBRD and many others have geared up their efforts to realize the common goal of collective prosperity through inclusive growth and development and abate the menace of poverty. According to ADB (2011), extreme poverty declined substantially in the Asia Pacific region and given the current trends, 17 out of the 24 economies for which data are available are expected to achieve the poverty target by 2015.

In order to encapsulate the gains made by these organizations in terms of poverty alleviation and as a way to join the collective efforts of the International Community for this initiative, an International Symposium on Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation was organized in January 2008 by the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) in Manila, Philippines. The symposium deliberated on the use of models, frameworks, modular designs and best practices for strengthening TVET skills as an effective tool to alleviate extreme poverty in the region.

The 2008 Manila Declaration, the result of this conference, adopted a 12‐point strategy to fast‐track initiatives in addressing poverty and contribute to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, among which are to (1) Strengthen and expand capacity building for the training of trainers in member countries for developing TVET skills needed for poverty alleviation; (2) Advocate strategic public‐private community partnership (PPCP) models at national and local level to address specific programs for poverty alleviation; (3) Increase human capital and induce self‐employment and entrepreneurship development to address the problem of poverty in all sectors; and (4) Strengthen the policy, legal and financial frameworks to provide an enabling environment to alleviate poverty.

CPSC as a lead organization for human resources development in TVET was called upon by the international community, through the 2008 Manila Declaration for Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation, to work towards the development and implementation of skills development programs for countries in Asia and the Pacific Region being aligned with the purpose to alleviate poverty in the region. Empowered and enthused by this joint commitment, CPSC and the Government of India pioneered to forge their strengths for poverty alleviation in the region through skill development with an allocation of USD 0.5 Million to a project titled "Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation".

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