This article considers three questions: 1) what progress has been made in achieving MDG1 targets?; 2) what challenges remain?; and 3) what more could and should be done? To examine these questions, the article assesses the progress of Southeast Asia in seeking to achieve MDG1. It argues that the region is ‘on track’ to achieve MDG 1 targets, although significant challenges such as inequality remain. Economic growth, significant structural change and incorporation into global value chains have contributed to MDG progress. However, this is a double-edged sword as exposure to global economic turbulence can increase. The longer-term reduction of poverty, inequality and social exclusion is a question of empowerment of local producers within value chains–a shift in economic power and control through pro-poor strategies strong enough to effect substantive structural change. The article outlines key concepts; identifies the main characteristics of Southeast Asian poverty; outlines what more needs to be done; and concludes by reprising the article's findings and weighing the prospects for 2010–15 and beyond.