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Social Development
Asia (AS)

Expanding Access to Basic Services in Asia and the Pacific Region

Despite signifi cant progress, governments in Asia and the Pacifi c region continue to face
enormous poverty reduction challenges. Using the $1-a-day standard, as of 2000, the number of
poor people in Asia was estimated at 720 million. This number makes Asia home to some 60% of
the world’s poor. The challenges look more daunting when considering the nonincome dimension
of poverty using the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The numbers suggest that only some
countries in Asia and the Pacifi c region will meet all MDGs. Some countries may not meet any of
the goals. Majority of the countries in this region will fall in between, meeting some goals but not
others. For example, performance on health, such as child immunization and maternal mortality,
suggests that this region is not on track to reduce child mortality suffi ciently to meet MDG targets.
Governments in this region need to develop strategies to assist the poor, and to ensure that they
are reached by essential infrastructure. Making progress in human development goals will require
more and better efforts to expand access to infrastructure and improve the delivery of key services
such as basic health, education, water, and sanitation to the poor.