More than 1.5 billion people still live in conflict-affected countries: ESCAP

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From left: President Tong (Kiribati), Minister Pires (Chairperson of the g7+ and Finance Minister of Timor-Leste), and Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of ESCAP

As the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs approaches, more than 1.5 billion people still live in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

That's what Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, the head of the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) told the International Development for All Conference taking place in Dili, Timor Leste on Wednesday.

Dr. Heyzer told the more than 400 participants that there is still an opportunity to go for what she called "the last push" to achieve the MDGs.

At the same time, she added, it is critical that the issues of concern to the people in conflict-affected and Small Island states are reflected in shaping the post-2015 agenda.

Dr. Heyzer says many of these issues such as justice and legitimacy were not reflected in the MDGs.

"So 1.5 billion people currently living in these conflict-affected fragile states and vulnerable situations have been left behind because their situation has not been truly reflected and it is a tremendous opportunity for us this time to get it right, to keep our promise to achieve the MDGs but also for them to put their issues, the issues that really affect their lives into the framework for 2015." (30")

Dr. Heyzer said the conference in Dili, which is hosted by the Government of Timor-Leste, with the support of ESCAP, is the platform for that.

She said participants should also look at sustainable development because job creation, especially for the youth is critical.  She stressed that there can be no peace and stability without development.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1'58"

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