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Development Outreach Centres For SE Asia Praised

Ban Ki-moon praises development outreach centres for South-East Asia

24 March 2008 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed a proposal for outreach centres throughout South-East Asia to promote international targets to slash a raft of global ills by the year 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"The new centre, and its local and regional affiliates, will provide continuity for your initiatives," he said in a video address to a meeting on achieving the MDGs held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Praising the proposed centres, based at the Regional Center of Excellence at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, he added: "I hope that they will help step up the pace, and ensure that all South East Asia reaches the Goals in full, and on time."

In reaching the MDGs, he said South-East Asia has made progress in reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty and the number of children who die of preventable causes. It had also raised primary school enrolment.

However, he continued, progress is uneven, both between countries and across indicators. Income disparities have grown, too many young children are underweight and the environment is threatened.

Such initiatives as the current meeting and the Center for Excellence could help close the gaps, he said, by bringing together policymakers, experts and representatives of civil society to formulate fresh approaches to existing challenges and to broaden MDG awareness and outreach.

"The Millennium Development Goals are no mere aspirations," he said. "They are commitments - sacred vows to the poorest, most vulnerable sections of humanity. Let us keep our promises. Let us build a world we can all be proud of," he concluded.

ENDS

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