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U.N. pledges $1.8 bln for Bangladesh development

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 1 Jun 2011 09:19 GMT
Author: Reuters
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DHAKA, June 1 (Reuters) - The United Nations signed on Wednesday an agreement with Bangladesh for $1.8 billion over the next five years to support the poor nation in addressing development problems.

The agreement, known as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2012-2016, aims to help Bangladesh in achieving millennium development goals by focusing on various priority areas, the United Nations said in a statement.

The areas include democratic governance and human rights, pro-poor growth, social services, food security, climate change, the environment, disaster risk reduction, urban development and gender equality.

The U.N. resident coordinator in Bangladesh, Neal Walker, said through the plan, the United Nations wanted to help achieve concrete results for the country's most vulnerable people.

Separately, the World Bank said it had approved a $359 million loan to support Bangladesh's efforts to improve health services, especially for women, children and the poor.   Since 1990, infant and child mortality rates in Bangladesh had declined by more than two-thirds, the World Bank said, adding an "impressive decline" has been achieved in the maternal mortality ratio, from 320 per 100,000 live births in 2001 to 194 in 2010.

"Significant development challenges still remain in the health sector," the bank said in a release.

"The percentage as well as the number of malnourished women and children in Bangladesh remains among the highest in the world. The fertility rate needs to be reduced further in order to avoid a doubling of the population by the next 40 to 50 years," it said.

(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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