Development Issues in Asia and the Pacific

The global development challenges facing our world, such as climate change, water security, inequality and poverty, can only be resolved at an international level. ADB provides its member countries in Asia and the Pacific with the knowledge and expertise to tackle these problems promoting sustainable development, a commitment to social progress, environmental balance and economic growth.

Browse by development issue

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Agriculture and Food Security

Despite growing prosperity, hunger and malnutrition persist in Asia and the Pacific. Half of the world's 600 million hungry people live in the region.

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management

Disasters triggered by natural hazards and escalating climate change impacts seriously threaten economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific.

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Digital Technology

Digital technology boosts growth, expands opportunities, and improves government services, but also brings new challenges, including effective regulation.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Promoting equity and inclusivity in education, particularly for women and the marginalized, is critical to education for sustainable development.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Around 150 million people in the region lack access to electricity, while many more cook using unhealthy, polluting fuels, stunting economic growth and social development.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Nature-positive investments are cost-effective and sustainable ways to address the urgent problems of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Financing developing Asia’s infrastructure needs as economies expand and climate change impacts, remains a huge challenge and must include the private and public sectors.

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Fragility and Vulnerability

As of the end of 2020 in Asia and the Pacific, 6.4 million people were internally displaced because of conflict and violence.

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Gender and Development

COVID-19 and the climate change crisis are disproportionately affecting women and deepening inequality, highlighting the need to reduce gender gaps.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Quality governance is closely linked to economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific.

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Affordable, high-quality health services need to be widely available to ensure no one is impoverished by paying for medical care.

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Public-Private Partnerships

Asia’s huge infrastructure needs, about $1.7 trillion a year, cannot be financed by the public sector alone.

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Regional Cooperation and Integration

Closer regional trade and financial integration in Asia and the Pacific has huge benefits that drive economic growth and development.

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Social Development and Poverty

In 2017, more than 200 million people in the region lived on less than $1.90 a day and around one billion on less than $3.20 a day. Inequality continues to grow.

Image: Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious and wide reaching, achieving them requires massive financing from both public and private sources.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Developing Asia needs $1.7 billion a year for infrastructure if the region is to maintain growth and tackle climate change. More than 30% of that needs to be in transport.

Photo: Asian Development Bank

Urban Development

More than half of Asia's four billion people live in urban areas and a billion more will join them in the next 30 years.

Photo: Asian Development Bank


Two billion people in Asia and the Pacific lack adequate water and sanitation. Equitable water access is critical to ADB's support for economic growth and social well-being.