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Social Development and Poverty

Despite the extraordinary gains made in living standards, hundreds of millions are still excluded from the benefits of rapid economic growth. ADB envisions an Asia and Pacific that is inclusive, where the region's gains and opportunities are shared by all.

Social Protection and Labor

Trainer conducts class at the UCEP school in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Trainer conducts class at the UCEP school in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

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

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:

  • Cash transfers (conditional and unconditional)
  • Social pensions
  • In-kind transfers, such as food-for-work, school feeding programs, etc.
  • Asset transfers
  • Scholarships

Social Insurance

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:

  • Pensions, social security systems, provident funds
  • Health insurance
  • Micro-insurance, small-farmer agricultural insurance, weather index-based crop insurance
  • Unemployment insurance

Labor Market Programs

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:

  • Active labor market policies and programs (pre-employment training, skills development and upgrading, public works, matching supply and demand for labor)
  • Passive labor market policies and programs (compliance with core labor standards, job security provisions, improving working conditions)

Other Social Development Topics

Adapting to Aging Asia and the Pacific

Adapting to Aging Asia and the Pacific

Rapid aging in Asia and the Pacific has put the region at the forefront of one of the most important global demographic trends.

Graduation Approach

Graduation Approach

The graduation approach is an innovative, holistic and proven approach to addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequality, Strategy 2030's first operational priority.

Human Mobility and Migration

Human Mobility and Migration

Migration can be a powerful contributor to economic and social development. At the same time, migration can add to overcrowding in cities, strain social cohesion in migrant receiving areas, and be tied up with human trafficking.

Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction

Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction

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.