“Protection, Empowerment and Equality: ESCAP supports the building of a socially inclusive society for all in Asia and the Pacific, including women, youth, persons with disabilities and older persons”.
Asia and the Pacific is a region of great diversity and disparity, presenting a contrasting picture in terms of progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals —a set of eight time-bound and measurable goals for development and poverty eradication. Despite being an economic powerhouse and having helped lift millions of people out of poverty, the region still accounts for over 950 million people living with less than $1.25 a day.
In the coming decades, emerging challenges may further strain the fabric of societies and further erode social cohesion, from rising socio-economic disparities within and between countries, to rapid population ageing, youth unemployment, increasing migration, climate change, etc.
Against this backdrop, the Social Development Division of ESCAP is striving to redress the social imbalance gripping the region, assisting countries to shape a more inclusive social development that protects, empowers and ensures equality for all social groups in the region. Guided by global commitments as well as regional mandates, this subprogramme helps countries in the region better prepare to face emerging population and social challenges and tackle persistent ones.
Capitalizing on the strength and comparative advantages of ESCAP as a unique regional forum with comprehensive membership in Asia and the Pacific and convening authority, the Division aims to promote change at the policy and institutional levels, working in close collaboration with government officials and institutions, particularly those involved in the formulation, implementation and management of social development policies and programmes. It promotes regional cooperation and assist countries reach consensus to accelerate the implementation of international commitments to promote gender equality and social integration of vulnerable groups. Its strategy focuses on the conduct of applied research, analysis and dissemination of results on social policy options, strategies and programmes as a basis for decision-making by Governments.
The Social Development Division consists of:
For more details about the work of the Social Development Division is involved, visit our Issues pages.