21 Mar 2003

Pacific plan to eradicate poverty

4:42 pm on 21 March 2003

Pacific leaders, non-government organisations and aid donors have committed to a regional plan to eliminate poverty during a conference run by the United Nations Development Project in Fiji.

The three day conference looked at how the Pacific region, can fulfill the UN's Millennium Development strategy which was established during a world summit in September 2000.

Representatives from 23 Pacific countries and 25 international world and regional agencies attended the Fiji conference.

Peter Witham, the Pacific representative for UNDP says Pacific leaders were asked to develop country plans and a regional one to combat poverty.

Mr Witham says Pacific countries had to commit to tackling poverty which is the reason behind social and political unrest in the region.

"It is going to be difficult and the difficulty is going to vary between country and country but the general sense of feeling at the meeting is that these targets are so important that they really needs now a very serious and consolidated efforts to try and achieve this."

Mr Witham says other issues discussed was eliminating gender discrimination, improving public access to resources and services and tackling HIVAids in the region.