16 May 2011Kyrgyzstan is making significant progress towards key economic and social development targets but needs to do much more to tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today as she wrapped up a two-day visit to the Central Asian country. UNDP Administrator visited the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek today for a meeting with the country’s President Rosa Otunbayeva at the launch of the national Millennium Development Goal (MDG) report. “I have been impressed by the commitment of the Kyrgyz authorities to achieving the MDGs, and the enthusiasm with which they seek to engage with the international community to advance global and regional goals,” said Miss Clark. Kyrgyzstan has made substantial gains towards achieving the MDGs, reducing extreme poverty rates from 32.9 per cent in 2000 to 3.1 per cent in 2009 and attaining near universal access to safe drinking water. But despite this progress, a variety of challenges still face the country, especially in reducing child and maternal mortality and the spread of HIV/AIDS.While the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Central Asia is under one per cent, Miss Clark warned that the region is experiencing the fastest growth rate of new cases in the world. “National progress reports like the one we are launching today help keep the MDGs high on the agenda and focus us all on what needs to be done,” she said. While in Kyrgyzstan, Miss Clark also travelled to Osh, where she visited a vocational school created as part of a UNDP-supported job scheme after a wave of ethnic violence that engulfed the city last year. Kyrgyzstan is the first stop for the UNDP chief on a four-country visit to Central Asia.