East and South-East Asia have seen the sharpest reductions in poverty worldwide since 1990, according to a United Nations report released in Bangkok Friday.
The percentage of people living on less than 1.25 dollars a day in East Asia dropped from 60 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2005 and from 39 to 19 percent in South-East Asia, the UN said.
Looking ahead, the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010 predicted 5 percent of Chinese would be living under the 1.25-dollar threshold by 2015.
The UN Millennium Development Goals set a target of halving extreme poverty in the world by 2015.
But South Asia is faring less well, the report found.
Although India is on track to reduce its poverty rate from 51 percent in 1990 to 24 percent in 2015, progress in the rest of the region was “slow and not sufficient” to meet the target, the report said.
South Asia also continued to have the highest rate of child malnutrition in the world with 46 percent of children under 5 underweight in 2008, down 5 percentage points from 1990.
“In Southern Asia, feeding practices are poor, and nearly two-thirds of the population lack access to improved sanitation,” the report said.
Almost half practise “open defecation – the highest rate among all regions,” the UN report said.
Problems meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals are to be discussed in September at a UN summit in New York, which was expected to attract more than 100 heads of state.