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The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is part of the United Nations Secretariat and is responsible for the follow-up to the major United Nations Summits and Conferences, as well as services to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Second and Third Committees of the United Nations General Assembly. Further, UN DESA assists countries around the world in agenda-setting and decision-making with the goal of meeting their economic, social and environmental challenges.
The world economy has strengthened as lingering fragilities related to the global financial crisis subside. In 2017, global economic growth reached 3 per cent—the highest growth rate since 2011—and growth is expected to remain steady for the coming year. The improved global economic situation provides an opportunity for countries to focus policy towards longer-term issues such as low carbon economic growth, reducing inequalities, economic diversification and eliminating deep-rooted barriers that hinder development.
However, the recent improvements in growth remain unevenly distributed across countries and regions. Economic prospects for many commodity exporters remain particularly challenging. Negligible growth in per capita GDP is anticipated in several parts of Africa, Western Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The impacted regions combined are home to 275 million people living in extreme poverty. Without sustained, economic growth, the chances of bringing that number to zero remain slim. To achieve the goals of eradicating poverty and creating decent jobs for all, it is essential to address the longer‑term structural issues that hold back a faster progress towards sustainable development.
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