Asia Can Eradicate Poverty in a Generation

News Release | 17 January 2006

Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty Conference announced
Lancaster House, London, 6-7 March 2006

The Department for International Development (DFID), in collaboration with the World Bank and ADB, today announces details of a conference to be held on 6-7 March 2006 in London to focus attention on building new forms of partnership to eradicate poverty in Asia.

Asia has raised more people out of poverty than any other region at any time in history. Growth has been strong, and though currently two out of three of the world's poorest people live in Asia, by 2015 this could fall to one in three if current trends continue. With continued efforts, it is possible to eradicate poverty in Asia in the next generation. Yet Asia still faces huge challenges in nutrition, health, education, social exclusion, water and sanitation and around 650 million people in Asia still live on less than $1 a day.

Asia 2015: Promoting Growth, Ending Poverty will bring together high-level international figures, including ministers of finance and planning and senior officials from across Asia, as well as influential figures from civil society and the private sector, to discuss the changing face of development in Asia over the next decade. The aim of the two-day event is to agree how Asian countries, together with development agencies and the international community, will meet the remaining Millennium Development Goals.

Rapid growth in Asia has and will continue to have an enormous impact on the global economy. Markets such as China and India are undergoing tremendous economic and social development. Trade within the continent is growing at nearly three times the global rate and Asia's share of world exports rose from 23% in 1985 to 38% in 2002.

Despite this recent economic growth in some countries, Asia still faces huge challenges and risks. This conference will raise the profile of both development challenges and opportunities and offers a platform for Asian countries to present and talk about their own experiences and perspectives.

The Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn MP, comments: "The world has a lot to learn from Asia's development successes - not only South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, but, more recently, in China, India and Vietnam. But Asia still faces many major challenges which need the world's support. Like a silent tsunami, poverty kills through diseases, increasing the likelihood of mothers dying in pregnancy and childbirth and malnutrition, all of which we can prevent. If the global community addresses such challenges now, in a generation, poverty eradication in Asia could be one of the world's great success stories."

A dedicated conference website has been launched: www.asia2015conference.org. All conference discussion papers will be posted on the site in advance of the conference and the site will also host a discussion forum allowing the public to have their say on Asian development issues.

For further information, please contact:
Department for International Development Press Office:
+44 (0)20 7023 0600

Rakhee Vyas:
+44 (0)207 067 0279