Large gaps in Asia-Pacific development goals: UN

JAKARTA, August 3, 2010 (AFP) – South Asia is lagging behind the Asia-Pacific region in poverty and hunger reduction, and is in danger of missing these key targets in the UN’s millennium development goals, a UN official said Tuesday. Ministers from around the region gathered at a review of the millennium goals (MDGs) heard that despite significant progress, large gaps remain in the crucial measure of poverty reduction.

Senior officials told delegates from dozens of countries that global food, energy and financial crises in recent years had jeopardised progress toward achieving the goals set for 2015.

“The sharpest reductions in poverty worldwide continue to be recorded in eastern and southeastern Asia, where the target of halving extreme poverty has already been met,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang told the meeting in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

“Most of southern Asia, however, is in danger of not halving extreme poverty rates by 2015, and the prevalence of hunger there has actually increased slightly between 2002 and 2007.”

He called on governments around the world to do more to meet the development targets.

“With just five years to go until 2015 it is cruc