Law and Policy Reform at the Asian Development Bank

Publication | December 2001
Law and Policy Reform at the Asian Development Bank

This report examines how legal empowerment - or the use of law to increase the control that disadvantaged populations exercise over their lives - contributes to good governance, poverty reduction, and other development goals, and how it can enhance projects funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other development agencies.

The disadvantaged include the poor, as well as those who face discrimination or abuse as a result of their gender, race, ethnic identity, or other personal attributes. In many Asian countries, the disadvantaged constitute the majority of the population. Poverty and discrimination of this kind undercut disadvantaged populations' access to rights and entitlements, as well as social, economic, and political opportunities.

This report draws primarily on studies conducted in seven ADB developing member countries (DMCs): Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It also draws on other Asian and international research, including supplementary survey research undertaken in the Philippines and Bangladesh. Together with the country and supplementary survey reports, this report constitutes the complete study on Legal Empowerment: Advancing Good Governance and Poverty Reduction, or the Legal Empowerment Study (LES). The LES was commissioned by ADB under its regional technical assistance (RETA 5856: Legal Literacy for Supporting Governance).


  • Foreword
  • An Overview of ADB's Law and Policy Reform Activities in 2000
  • Executive Summary
  • A Description of Legal Empowerment
  • Lessons Learned from Successful Legal Empowerment Strategies
  • Recommendations
  • Appendixes