Asia richer, but still leads world in poverty

"One of the region's greatest MDG successes has been a reduction in the number of people living on less than 1.25 dollars a day from 1.5 billion to 947 million between 1990 and 2005," the UN report on Asia's progress in the Millennium Development Goals said.

"However, the region remains home to two-thirds of the world's poor and hungry, with one in six malnourished, and it has been slow to reduce child mortality and to improve maternal health."

The report was issued at a summit at UN headquarters in New York held five years before the MDG deadline of 2015.

Noeleen Heyzer, executive secretary of the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said the region "had indeed made impressive progress."

"The region is on track to meeting the target of halving the number of people living in poverty," she said.

But the failure to reduce hunger, child mortality and poverty among women created "a mixed and worrying picture."

Asia-Pacific faces a "race against time," she said.
Eight Millennium Development Goals were launched at a UN summit in 2000, including halving the number of people in extreme poverty, cutting by two thirds the number of children dying before five years of age, and spreading the availability of Internet facilities.
More than 140 heads of state or government were attending the three-day summit.

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