East and Southeast Asian countries have already met 11 of the 21 indicators of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals but they need to step up their efforts on child mortality, maternal health and environmental sustainable in order to achieve all MDGs by the 2015 deadline. This was the conclusion reached by participants of an MDG forum held in China July 13. Participants of the forum, which was sponsored by the Asian Development Bank Institute, the U.N. Development Program and U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, also noted that the regions’ progress to meeting all MDGs is significantly hampered by widening development and income gaps between countries, regions within a particular country and between urban and rural communities. These disparities should be address to speed up development in the two regions, according to Nicholas Rosellini, who heads the UNDP regional office in Asia and the Pacific.
The forum put forward several recommendations, including the promotion of domestic demand, prioritization of the delivery of basic services and expansion of social safety nets for vulnerable groups. Regional cooperation in the areas of food trade is also integral to the countries’ development, the forum said.