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more support needed to reach millennium goals

November 2007

Many of the less developed economies in the Asia Pacific region need global support to plug the biggest gaps, even though governments and business there have generally made progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, says a new report.

The report emphasizes that the region is ahead of others, including Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, in efforts to reduce extreme poverty by half, attain universal education and achieve gender parity in education by 2015, but it highlights some disappointing black spots.

It says that if the problem areas could meet the millennium goals by 2015, then 196 million people in the Asia Pacific region would be lifted out of poverty, 23 million more children would have enough to eat and nearly a million more children would survive beyond their fifth birthday. The Goals, set by the United Nations, are expected to be delivered by governments in partnership with business and civil society.

The report, The Millennium Development Goals: progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007, was produced by a regional partnership of the Asian Development Bank, the UN Development Programme and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

The region’s greatest failures are in child mortality, nutrition, maternal health, safe drinking water and sanitation.

For example, the region still has 60 deaths per 1000 live births, nearly double the number in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 560 million people lack access to good water sources and more than 1.5 billion are without basic sanitation.

The report warns that more people could be pushed into poverty by environmental problems from land degradation, poor water management and flooding, rising pollution in urban areas, carbon dioxide emissions contributing to climate change, and other factors.

Omar Noman, deputy director of the UN Development Programme Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, said: ‘We need to build a global partnership for development to meet the investment gaps through channelling more funds better targeted to those areas, sub-sectors and people actually in need.’

Another way suggested by the report to attract investment into the poor economies is to give them the means of trading with developed markets, possibly with preferential access.




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