Challenges in Asia and the Pacific

 A family of farmers plowing a field in Bangladesh. The poor family has no bull or machines to level the field for cultivation. Photo: Kazi Arifur Rahman/UNDP Picture This

UNDP helps countries to simultaneously reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development that leads to transformational change, bringing about real improvements in people’s lives.

We promote an integrated approach to achieve sustainable development that tackles the connected issues of multidimensional poverty, inequality and exclusion, and sustainability, while enhancing knowledge, skills and production technologies to reduce risks and sustain development gains.

We help countries build their capacity to integrate environmental considerations into development plans and strategies, including through managing and sustainably using natural resources; ensuring that natural wealth is used to improve people’s lives; promoting economic recovery and livelihoods, and better targeting policies and social protection for those in need.

Income and social inequality remain major challenges throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Some previously highly unequal East and South Asian countries, such as Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines, witnessed decreasing inequality, while other previously low-inequality countries, including India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, have increasing inequality. In part, this rising inequality in many emerging economies can be explained by uneven development within and across countries in the region: across sectors and locations, with uneven demand between skilled and unskilled labour, high disparities in access to education, infrastructure and services, and insufficiently inclusive public policies.

Our Goals

Our goal is to strengthen capabilities and opportunities to reduce poverty and marginalization – focusing on the most vulnerable and excluded population groups – in ways that are sustainable from economic, social and environmental standpoints.

The first focus of UNDP’s work in the region has therefore been the quality of development, ensuring that it is inclusive, that inequalities are curbed, and that it is sustainable.

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