ADB’s central mission is working to reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific and to ensure the benefits of economic growth and social development are equitably spread.
Social protection is central to ADB's inclusive growth agenda. ADB defines social protection as a "set of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labor markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and interruption/loss of income."
Social assistance programs help ensure income security and access to basic services for poor and vulnerable populations. Key sectors that may serve as entry points for social assistance programs include education, finance, health and public sector management.
Social assistance interventions may include:
Social insurance programs mitigate risks by providing income support in the event of illness, disability, work injury, maternity, unemployment, old age, and death. Key sectors that may serve as entry points for strengthening sustainable social insurance schemes include financial sector development, health, and public sector management.
Social insurance programs may include:
Labor market programs support the development of job-relevant skills and workers' retraining, particularly the low-skilled and marginalized. They also facilitate employment. Key sectors that may serve as entry points for promoting and expanding labor market programs include education and infrastructure (energy, information and communication technology, water, and transport).
Labor market programs may include:
In the past decade, social protection has become a key instrument of public policy in many developing countries in Asia and the Pacific region.
Reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific, even in countries with relatively high per capita income, remains an unfinished agenda. Despite major progress, the region was home to 326 million people living in extreme poverty (or below the $1.90/day poverty line) in 2013.