Topic A: Addressing Barriers Faced by Minority Groups in the Workplace
Although Asia and the Pacific have experienced rapid economic growth throughout the last decade, many individuals are still facing rising inequity in the workplace. Unemployment and poverty work hand in hand, leaving the region’s poor in a perpetual cycle of destitution while depriving them of employment. As expressed by many United Nations agencies, the prospect of decent work opportunities has been coined as a vital component of inclusive and sustainable development. This would mean full, productive employment, rights at work, and social protection for all. Currently, 1 billion people—50% of the total workforce in Asia and the Pacific—have vulnerable and precarious jobs, which can feature low pay, low-productivity, or dangerous and life-threatening labor. The systemic violence and discrimination in the workforce is felt distinctly and harshly within minority groups including women, people with disabilities, youth, and those living in impoverished communities.
Topic B: Developing Mental Health Policy and Improving Outcomes
Scientific evidence has shown that mental health is equally important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as is physical health. Therefore, addressing mental health policy and its effects on society has become a growing concern for governments, especially in Asia and the Pacific. In China alone, approximately 160 million out of 173 million people who suffer from a mental disorder receive no medical assistance or care. While there will always be regional variance in the amount of attention given to mental health in each country, there is an overall regional trend of a lack of awareness and resources when focusing on mental health policy. There is also a severe stigmatization of people suffering from mental health disorders that exists across national boundaries. All these factors heavily influence the development of mental health policy and the improvement of its outcomes within Asia and the Pacific, and UNESCAP is the ideal forum to consider change regarding this problem.