ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN: The post-2015 global development agenda will need to deal with unfinished business, including ongoing poverty, and tackle newer concerns like rising inequality and climate change, delegates at an Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meeting seminar said today.

“We still have a herculean task ahead of us to address myriad existing and new development challenges,” ADB vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bindu Lohani said in advance of the seminar. “In Asia and the Pacific, we need to ensure that economic growth benefits everyone, that both girls and boys have equal opportunities, and that we are environmentally responsible.”

The seminar was one of a number being held at ADB’s 47th annual meeting of its Board of Governors gathering on May 2-5.

Progress has been mixed on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set in 2000 to tackle eight key development challenges by 2015. A recent regional report by ADB and its partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), showed no country will achieve all the goals by 2015.

Asia and the Pacific has slashed extreme poverty by more than half, well ahead of the 2015 target but is still home to 1.6 billion people who live on $2-a-day or less and almost three-quarters of the world’s underweight children. Meanwhile, about 600 million people in the region have no access to electricity and 1.7 billion still lack improved sanitation, leaving much work still to be done on several MDG measures.

The seminar discussed lessons from MDG achievements and setbacks in Asia and the Pacific, as well as how to shape an effective new development agenda after 2015. In particular, participants considered ways of expanding financing options to support a more ambitious future programme.

ADB, UNDP, and UNESCAP have proposed 12 new goals including eliminating income poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. Other goals relate to gender equity, decent jobs, better planned urbanisation, disaster risk reduction, governance, and environmental responsibility. It is expected that the post-2015 global development agenda that succeeds the MDGs will combine both deprivation and inequality on the one hand and environmental issues on the other, into a common set of goals for sustainable development.

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