In Central Asia and Eastern Europe, a whopping 1/3 of the workforce is involved in unstable jobs. These include vulnerable jobs, as well as informal jobs, and about $65 billion in cash also ends up leaving the area every year. This is according to the United Nations Development Program, also known as UNDP, and their recent report called the Progress at Risk report. Below is a short summary of what the report has found and what it recommends.
More about Progress at Risk
UNDP’s report has determined that catching even just small amounts of the funds that are leaving the region as a result of incorrectly invoiced foreign trade would help Central Asian countries. They would be able to expand their social safety programs, create new jobs, and even close the existing gender gap. This means that the citizens throughout Central Asia are not able to invest in themselves and get a better education by attending universities like Rutgers University for degrees, such as an online social work masters, as an example, and they also can’t attend local schools to get a masters in social work or any other field that would allow them to help others.
A Disturbing New Trend
This disturbing trend is problematic, especially since the citizens of the region had been enjoying good access to necessary social services, and they did have a fairly equal distribution of wealth in the past, at least until recently. There even used to be lower gender disparities. However, the recent signs are indicating that those aspects of life are now getting lost. The region is actually becoming a lot more like so many other countries across the globe that struggle with inequality.
As mentioned above, people are finding it more difficult to invest in their own education, and the local economy is not providing new job opportunities either, so there aren’t enough social workers or social services, including healthcare. As a result, Central Asia has also experienced an increase in the number of deaths related to AIDS. In fact, the death rate has tripled over the last 15 years, partially because treatment and prevention services aren’t able to help the people who need those services most.
What UNDP Suggests
According to UNDP, what needs to stop is the flow of illicit cash out of the region, as this money would be able to help the nations implement the worldwide development finance program that they agreed upon. Increasing domestic resources while reducing illegal flows of money are two things that are absolutely necessary if the region wishes to sustain development. However, there are major concerns that the countries will not be able to secure funds.
Ultimately, UNDP’s report comes at the appropriate time, as there are many nations across the globe that are currently working on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, that recommend that there shouldn’t be anyone left behind. The goal will be to invest in those who are the most vulnerable and excluded in the hopes that the SDGs for Central Asia can be reached by 2030.