MDG Progress Reports - Asia and the Pacific

Published on 17 Feb 2012

Accelerating Equitable Achievement of the MDGs: Closing the Gaps in Health and Nutrition in Asia and the Pacific

This report is the sixth in the series of Asia-Pacific MDG reports produced since 2004 by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific/Asian Development Bank/United Nations Development Programme (ESCAP/ADB/UNDP) regional partnership to support the achievement of the MDGs.


The Asia-Pacific region has made big gains in reducing poverty and is moving fast towards other development goals, but still has high levels of hunger as well as child and maternal mortality, says the report.


The region has also achieved some other MDG indicators ahead of the target year of 2015. These include promoting gender equality in education, reducing HIV prevalence, stopping the spread of tuberculosis, increasing forest cover, reducing consumption of ozone-depleting substances and halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water.


However, while strong economic dynamism has driven regional success in poverty reduction, even fast growing countries continue to lose shocking numbers of children before their fifth birthday and thousands of mothers die unnecessarily while giving birth, reveals the report. Over 3 million children died before their fifth birthday in 2010 alone.


The report reveals striking disparities between and within subregions, countries and even social groups in their progress towards MDGs. While South Asia as a whole is on track for just nine MDG indicators, Sri Lanka is on track for 15 indicators and outperforms the sub-region.


Within countries disparities between men and women, between social and ethnic groups and between regions hold large sections of the population back from achieving the MDGs.


The report notes that many countries can speed up progress with just a little effort. Fourteen off-track Asia-Pacific countries need to accelerate progress by less than 2 percentage points annually to reach the target of halving the proportion of underweight children by 2015.


The ESCAP/ADB/UNDP report outlines an 8-point agenda to fast-track progress towards the health MDGs. This requires addressing the social determinants of health inequities and vulnerabilities, establishing an equitable, accessible, responsive and integrated primary health care system as well as ensuring preventive, promotive and curative mother and child health services.


  • Between 1990 and 2009 the Asia-Pacific region reduced the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 per day from 50 to 22 per cent.
  • Despite the reduction, the proportion of the population living below the $1.25-per-day poverty level rate ranges from country to country, as low as 0 per cent in Malaysia to as high as 55 per cent in Nepal.
  • At the present rate of progress, the region as a whole is unlikely to meet MDGs related to eradicating hunger, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
  • The number of people without access to safe drinking water in the region fell from 856 million to 466 million between 1990 and 2008.
Regional progress reports
Subregional progress reports
  • Pacific Regional MDG Tracking Report 2012 | 2010
Country progress reports