Confronting Inequalities in Asia and the Pacific: The Role of Social Protection
As the development agenda beyond 2015 takes shape, it is increasingly being recognized that
inequality is an impediment to the integration of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental
sustainability. Despite high and enduring economic growth and significant progress in terms of poverty eradication, inequalities persist in Asia and the Pacific, and in some instances they have intensified, between women and men, girls and boys, urban and rural areas, and different age and ethnic groups. Over time, the rich and poor may both be better off; yet, the gap between them is increasing in many countries in the region. Multiple forms of inequality reinforce each other, creating “an inequality trap” that disproportionately affects women and the most vulnerable members of society, including the poor, youth, persons with disabilities, migrants and older persons.
An analysis of the different forms and pathways of inequalities in Asia and the Pacific is contained in
the present document. It is suggested that market-led growth alone has not been enough to achieve
inclusive and sustainable development. It is further suggested that enhancing social protection can be
an effective measure for reducing inequality.