Asian Leaders Urged to Do More to Reduce Poverty

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 4:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The World Economic Forum on East Asia ended Monday with a call on Asian countries to lead the world in reducing poverty.

More than 500 leaders of government, business and civil society attended the two-day event, held for the first time in Indonesia.

Rajat Nag, managing director general of the Asian Development Bank, noted that Asia's robust economic growth has raised living standards for many millions of people. But he stressed that in order to fund programs supporting basic nutrition, health care and education, governments will have to significantly raise taxes.

Indonesian Vice President Beodiono agreed, saying the governments should play an appropriate role and even intervene proactively, especially in social programs.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs said that Asian countries experiencing robust economic growth should shoulder the responsibility for relieving poverty with a right mix of public and private initiatives. He said slow economic recovery in the developed world has left the United States and Europe unwilling or unable to do the job.

In the year 2000, 192 countries agreed to support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and significantly reduce child mortality rates by 2015.

Rajat Nag joined a panel of experts at the World Economic Forum who say governments must do more to meet the Millennium Development goals.

This is the 20th year that the World Economic Forum has held its East Asia event. The organization is best known for its annual forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.