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ECOWAS to launch poverty reduction strategy paper in Accra

 The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) w ill Monday unveil its Regional Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in Accra, Ghana,

in a major step towards addressing the pervasive poverty in the region, PANA rep o rted Friday.

The 204-page document will serve as a critical complement to national poverty re duction strategies in accelerating economic growth and reducing poverty in a reg i on ranked among the poorest in the world and where more than 60 per cent of its 2 30 million citizens live on less than a dollar a day, ECOWAS stated in a release , made available to PANA here.

Implementation of the strategies enunciated in the paper will assist the region, which lags behind in critical barometers of development, address existing gaps i n the areas of education, health, access to drinking water and infrastructure.

The launch, a joint programme of the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions, will be atten ded by 60 representatives of the 15-member states, mostly officials from institu t ions responsible for poverty reduction programmes.

Development partners active in this sector such as the African Development Bank, the World Bank, UNDP, UN, the European Union and the Department for Internation a l Development (DFID) of the UK, will also be represented.

The regional strategy paper was developed in response to a directive of Heads of State and Government for a regional instrument that would provide a coordinated

mechanism for overcoming the limitations of existing national strategies by memb e r states to enable them meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because of t he transnational nature of some of the challenges.

The paper was subsequently adopted by the leaders during their 2007 summit in Ou agadougou, Burkina Faso.

The MDGs are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 in response to the main global d evelopment challenges and reflect the actions and targets contained in the Mille n nium Declaration adopted by 189 countries in September 2000.

Under it, the countries, including ECOWAS member states, committed themselves to the eradication of poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, p r omoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improvin g maternal health, ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources, comb a ting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other contagious diseases and developing global partn e rship for development.

Like the national poverty reduction strategies, the regional strategy paper is s tructured to sharpen the focus on the two critical elements of economic growth a n d poverty reduction.

The launch will be complemented by a regional workshop on the calculation of pov erty indicators to be held between the 7 and 16 of January, also in Accra.

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