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Gathering to focus on fight against poverty
By Wu Gang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-22 00:21

Representatives from developing countries will gather next week in Shanghai to share ideas on upping the ante in the fight against poverty.

With countries most affected by the problem driving the agenda, the conference aims to develop practical strategies to re-energize global efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, said the World Bank, which is sponsoring the event.

"We need ideas that can travel from province to province, country to country, and around the globe," says World Bank President James Wolfensohn.

"These ideas exist, and in many cases have been turned into reality by the poor themselves."

Small successes in one country can be scaled up to make a difference in reducing poverty, he said.

More than 80 government ministers, along with more than 1,000 development practitioners, public and private sector executives, academics, and non-governmental representatives are taking part in the conference scheduled from May 25-27.

Leaders from key developing countries, including the presidents of Brazil, Tanzania, Uganda and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, will make opening statements.

Representatives will pore over research conducted over nine months including more than 100 case studies, 20 video conferences and a series of field visits to try and identify the key factors that can lead to poverty reduction.

The first of the Millennium Development Goals, agreed to at the United Nations in September 2000, is to cut the proportion of the world's population living in extreme poverty in half by 2015. People in extreme poverty are defined as people living on less than US$1 per day.

By the same deadline, it is hoped that dramatic progress can be made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and universal primary education.

Although more than 50 years of investment in development has helped lift millions of people from poverty, disease and fear, 2.8 billion people still subsist on less than US$2 a day, according to the World Bank.

China has made remarkable achievement in poverty relief in the past 20 years, with the number of people in abject poverty falling from 250 million in 1978 to 29 million by the end of last year.

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