Suva, Fiji – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Fiji last week (20 October) marked a series of events to raise awareness about eliminating poverty, launching a new report on the country’s progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Launch of the 2010 MDG Report for Fiji in the country’s capital Suva on 20 October coincided with a procession of national civil servants from the city’s central Flea Market to its Civic Auditorium under the banner ‘Working Together Out of Poverty’.

“The International Day for Eradication of Poverty is an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts and struggles of people living in poverty, to recognize that poor people are at the forefront of the fight against poverty, and to hear their voices and concerns,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Knut Ostby, launching the MDGs report in Suva.

The report provides a snap-shot of Fiji’s progress towards key MDG targets and indicators as well as proposing key policies and strategies towards achieving the goals and eradicating poverty.

“The production of this national MDGs report is very timely, with only five years left to reach the MDGs, it helps us focus on the key tasks ahead,” said Ostby, thanking the Fiji National MDGs Taskforce for its role in producing the report, the second of its kind for the country.

The report makes suggestions and recommendations for meeting these challenges and accelerating progress towards the 2015 targets, including a review of public school curriculum, changes to the labour market, encouraging stronger participation of women in decision-making, partnering with non-governmental organizations on maternal and infant health, and improving environmental legislation.

“To achieve sustainable results requires the commitment and concerted efforts of government, private sector, civil society and the population at large,” said Ostby. “While many challenges remain, both globally and locally, it is still possible to reach the MDGs in the five years left before 2015.”

The Prime Minister’s Permanent Secretary, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, and the Commissioner Central, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, also addressed invited guests at the Civic Auditorium and thanked UNDP for its support towards eradicating poverty in the country.

The event to commemorate Poverty Day also included the performance of a song about poverty by students of Dudley Intermediate School. Students from other Suva-based schools held a reading contest, and government-supported local businesses set up booths showcasing their products, such as pillowcases, door-mats, and coconut carvings.

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