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Survey of Economic and Social Developments in the ESCWA Region, 2007-2008

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For more than three decades, the ESCWA region has been exporting capital; experiencing volatile real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth; has the highest unemployment rate globally; suffers from rising income inequality; and has a poorly-balanced economic structure that is overwhelmingly based on the export of oil. In that region, which is characterized by a short-term developmental horizon, a commercial circuit of capital and ongoing military conflicts, a compact on the right to development and security represents the starting point for a turnaround for all countries in the region to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The 2007-2008 Survey focuses on two significant concerns that have long constrained the right to development in the ESCWA region: capital flight and unemployment. It comprises five chapters. Chapter I reviews recent socio-economic developments, and chapter II examines the state of capital flows, with emphasis on capital flight. Chapter III reviews employment issues, while chapter IV provides a synopsis of integrated social policies. Chapter V details the nature and scope for rights-based economic strategies, focusing on employment generation, in the countries of the ESCWA region.