The Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: 12 Things to Know

Feature | 20 September 2013

Two years before the 2015 deadline, developing Asia shows mixed progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Income poverty has been slashed by half, but the region still faces challenges such as rising inequality and environmental sustainability. Here are 12 things to know about the status of MDGs in the region.

  1. Since world leaders adopted the MDGs in 2000, the number of people in extreme poverty, or those living on less than $1.25, has been reduced by about half a billion, the fastest decline in poverty in human history.
    Source: The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
  2. The Asia and Pacific region has achieved the MDG target of reducing extreme poverty by half even before the 2015 deadline. The proportion of people living below $1.25 a day in the region fell to 24% in 2008 from 55% in 1990.
    Source: ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific
  3. The People's Republic of China had the largest decline in the total number of extremely poor people, with annual reductions of 28.3 million during 1990-2008; next was India, with annual decreases of 4.2 million in 1994-2010.
    Source: Independent Evaluation study Thematic Evaluation Study on ADB's Support for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals; ADB publication Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012
  4. The region has been successful in reducing by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and reversing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and slowing the spread of tuberculosis in some countries.
    Source: ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific
  5. Gender parity in primary and secondary education has also been achieved.
    Source: ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific
  6. Nearly all countries in the region show on-track or early achievement in preserving protected areas and reducing consumption of ozone-depleting substances.
    Source: Independent Evaluation study Thematic Evaluation Study on ADB's Support for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals
  7. Yet, Asia and the Pacific, the world's most populous region, still accounts for almost two-thirds of the world's poorest people, many of whom live in South Asia. There is rising inequality within subregions and countries.
    Source: ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific
  8. Progress toward health targets related to under-5, infant and maternal mortality is slow in all subregions. Nearly three out of four of the world's underweight children live in developing Asia.
    Source: Independent Evaluation study Thematic Evaluation Study on ADB's Support for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals; ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific
  9. Though the region is performing comparably better in education than in health, there is slow progress toward primary school completion in South Asia and Southeast Asia and in reducing gender disparity in tertiary education.
    Source: Independent Evaluation study Thematic Evaluation Study on ADB's Support for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals
  10. Asia's per capita emissions remain much lower than those of developed countries. However, the region incurred the world's largest carbon dioxide emissions increase between 1990 and 2009, rising more than 200% in absolute terms and more than 130% in per capita terms.
    Source: ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific
  11. ADB endorsed the MDGs in 2002. Between 2002 and 2011, some $32 billion of ADB's total sovereign financing was for direct MDG support, with projects and programs targeted at reducing income poverty and promoting environmental sustainability.
    Source: Independent Evaluation study Thematic Evaluation Study on ADB's Support for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals
  12. Beyond 2015, the Asia and Pacific region will continue to face huge development challenges, foremost of which is the eradication of extreme poverty. It also needs to address rising inequality, balance economic and environmental interests, and mitigate the impact of climate change.
    Source: ADB Working Paper A ZEN Approach to Post-2015: Addressing the Range of Perspectives Across Asia and the Pacific