The global economic downturn could push 21 million people in the Asia-Pacific region into extreme poverty, a U.N.-led study showed on Feb. 17, urging governments to add social protection measures in their stimulus programs. The study by the UNDP and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty, found that the global economic and financial crisis could trap an additional 17 million people on incomes of less than USD1.25 a day in 2009 and another 4 million in 2010. AFP reports that this is on top of the 900 million people in Asia who are already living in extreme poverty. U.N. Under-Secretary General Noeleen Heyzer said that people in the export and tourism sectors in Asia had lost and were still losing their jobs due to the crisis, which swept across the globe in late 2008. Less foreign investment, aid and remittances from overseas workers were further hurting Asia’s poor, Heyzer said. The report said more women than men had been forced back into extreme poverty due to the crisis.