Asia Holds Key to Solving Global Poverty Challenge, ADB President Tells UN

NEW YORK - ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said today that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of global developments targets, could not be achieved unless they are met in the Asia and Pacific region.

"With two-thirds of the world's poor residing in Asia and the Pacific, it is abundantly clear that the region holds the key to solving the global poverty challenge," the ADB President said in his address to the High Level Plenary Session of the UN General Assembly.

The President of the Manila-based multilateral development institution, which is committed to fighting poverty in Asia, is among the world leaders who have convened in New York this week to assess progress toward the MDGs.

Mr. Kuroda noted that no other developing region of the world has been more successful in creating economic growth and alleviating poverty. But he added, "Achieving all the MDGs by 2015 still requires massive investments given the scale of deprivation in Asia and the Pacific.

"The region has more people with inadequate nutrition, more living in slum conditions, and more without access to water and sanitation than any other developing region in the world."

He called for intensified efforts to alleviate poverty, stressing that sustained, rapid, and broad-based growth needs to be attained, with more resources used for basic services, and ensuring that women, indigenous people, and the poor are not left out.

Mr. Kuroda also urged further promotion of the economic integration of Asia and the Pacific to increase the region's resilience and growth potential. Regional initiatives have enhanced connectivity and reduced barriers to trade and investment, he pointed out. Intraregional trade has increased, and financial and monetary cooperation has intensified.

"Regional cooperation must also be expanded to directly impact on the MDGs in areas such as environmental degradation, communicable diseases, and migration of workers," he said.

Read the President's full speech.