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Urging support for lagging Asia-Pacific States, Ban highlights region’s anti-poverty gains


3 August - The Asia-Pacific region has made significant gains towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but some countries have fallen behind, especially the region's small island nations and other least developed countries, which need much more support, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

The MDGs are a series of poverty alleviation and social development goals, which UN Member States and international organizations have agreed to achieve by 2015. They include slashing extreme poverty, reducing maternal and child mortality rates and fighting diseases.

“The Asia and Pacific region, for its part, has made significant gains, thereby contributing to global successes,” Mr. Ban said in a speech to a special ministerial meeting for the MDGs review in Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta, Indonesia, delivered on his behalf by Sha Zukang, the Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Commenting on the status of the MDGs globally, Mr. Ban said much more remained to be done despite many important gains.

“Despite the recent food, energy and economic and financial crises, the developing world remains on track to halve extreme poverty from its 1990 level. A number of countries have registered major successes in combating hunger, improving school enrolment and child health, expanding access to clean water and HIV treatment, and controlling tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases,” the Secretary-General said.

“Nevertheless, the gains have been uneven across the goals and from country to country. And the recent crises have made this work harder still.

“Progress has been slow in improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality. There has been insufficient progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Almost half of the people in the developing world continue to live without access to basic sanitation. Too many people remain jobless or under-employed. And more attention needs to be given to sustainability and green growth,” he added.