Social development: Equitable growth for all

Social development is about achieving equitable and sustainable improvements in the physical, social, and economic well-being of individuals and groups, especially the socially or economically disadvantaged.

ADB and social development

Inclusiveness lies at the heart of all successful poverty relief and development outcomes. ADB's social development agenda involves people and their communities, organizations, institutions, societies, and governments in all poverty relief activities.

The aim is to reduce poverty, inequality, and vulnerability among poor and marginalized persons by enabling institutions to:

  • foster inclusiveness and equitable access to services, resources and opportunities
  • empower people’s participation in social, economic and political life
  • help individuals cope with both chronic or unforeseen and sudden risks

Integrating social dimensions in ADB operations

Social dimensions such as participation, gender and development, social safeguards, and management of social risks are incorporated into the three major processes of ADB operations: country programming, project design, and project implementation.

During the preparation of ADB country partnership strategies, ADB staff work with key government officials to facilitate the participation of NGOs, local communities, business associations, workers' and women’s organizations, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders.

An initial poverty and social analysis is a prerequisite for all loan and grant-based investment projects and programs. This means potential social issues are addressed during project preparation to ensure that project design maximizes social benefits and avoids or minimizes social risks, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized groups.

ADB staff, government officers, and consultants are guided by the following documents in order to effectively integrate social dimensions into ADB-financed operations:

After project completion, the project performance evaluation assesses the impact of the project on targeted beneficiaries, affected people, and other stakeholders.