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Millennium Development Pledges Highlighted
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A poverty alleviation official told a regional ministerial meeting on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday that their attainment will require all countries to work together to honor their commitments.

Liu Jian, head of the State Council's Leading Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said, "Countries around the world shoulder major responsibility for development," adding that developing countries should take the initiative to step up reforms and adopt effective social and economic policies to enhance their capacity for development.

Liu said the international community, developed countries in particular, should provide more support to developing countries in areas such as market access, official development assistance, technology transfer and debt relief.

In dealing with poverty in the Asia-Pacific region, Liu said full play should be given to competitive strengths and deepened regional economic cooperation.

"We shall enhance cooperation in trade and investment within the region, open up markets to each other, promote trade and investment facilitation and liberalization, and strengthen regional economic integration," he told delegates from 40 countries.

"From 1978 to 2004, China's population living in poverty was reduced from 250 million to 26.1 million and the rate of poverty dropped from 30 to less than 3 percent," said Liu.

He said the government will press ahead with reform, accelerate institutional innovation and draw on the successful experience of other countries to help realize the MDGs at an early date.

Agreed at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, the MDGs are: reducing the proportion of people in poverty and hunger by half, achieving universal primary education, eliminating gender disparity, reducing child mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by three quarters, halting and reversing the incidence of major diseases, and reducing the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by half. 

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2005)

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