UN report paints mixed picture

UN report paints mixed picture

The United Nations will publish the most comprehensive global assessment on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Monday, (2 July 2007), with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launching the report in Geneva.

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2007 comes at the midpoint of a 15-year effort to implement eight key development objectives which world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, including halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty. The report paints a mixed picture - there has been clear progress but overall success is still far from assured.

In Asia-Pacific, dramatic gains in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger have been accompanied by rapidly rising inequality, particularly in East Asia. At the same time, Asia's path to the MDGs may be obstructed by challenges in other areas-such as health, environment and gender equality.

These include deforestation, unplanned urbanization and the fast rate of HIV/AIDS infections in some parts of the region.

Progress in improving child nutrition is still unacceptably slow. If current trends continue, the report says, Asia will fall short of reaching the MDG target of halving the proportion of underweight children. South-East Asia is among the sub-regions with the highest percentage of children under five suffering from malnutrition --28 per cent. Asia is also lagging in meeting the goal of promoting gender equality, the report finds, noting that large numbers of women are still shut out of jobs and receive poor health care.

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2007 is the most comprehensive assessment of progress towards the MDGs, using data gathered by over 20 organizations both within and outside the UN system.

The Asia-Pacific regional launch will take place in Bangkok at 1100 at the United Nations Conference Centre. Shigeru Mochida, Deputy Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), will present the report. He will be joined by Ms. Erna Witoelar, United Nations Special Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals for Asia and the Pacific, and heads/ representatives of some UN agencies in Bangkok.

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INDIA: CENTRAL CHRONICLE: 2 July 2007: http://www.centralchronicle.com/20070702/0207307.htm

SOUTH KOREA: THE SEOUL TIMES: 3 JULY 2007: http://www.theseoultimes.com/ST/db/read.php?idx=5472