At the heart of Asia's growth is a hidden energy driving the continent - from the Himalayas to the world's fastest cities. It's a story shaped by dynamism, innovation, and resilience: Asia is changing beyond recognition. At the Asian Development Bank, we believe in finding a common purpose across the great continent we've helped grow over the past 50 years, so that everyone benefits from economic growth.
While economies in Asia and the Pacific continue to grow, the natural environment is under increasing pressure. Major ecosystems are under threat. Loss of biodiversity is massive as life support systems on land and in the oceans are being degraded. The region is the fastest growing source of new greenhouse gas emissions in the world; several countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Cities in Asia are growing at an unprecedented pace, with 44 million added to city populations every year. The resulting congestion, waste, pollution, and associated health impacts remain key challenges in sustaining urban development. Given these concerns, the concept of green growth or environmentally sustainable growth has gained increasing attention. Watch videos that address the problems and explore the solutions related to the environment and green growth in Asia and the Pacific.
Asia is a global success story when it comes to educating children. Overall, 9 out of 10 children in the region today are enrolled in primary school. For a continent that contained two-thirds of world’s out-of-school children in the 1970s, the progress has been nothing short of remarkable. However, while much progress has been made over the past 10 years, indicators still point to serious education and human-resource shortfalls at all levels throughout the region, a reality that could dampen Asia’s lofty economic aspirations. Watch videos that highlight major education challenges and trends in Asia and the Pacific.
The Asia and Pacific region has made impressive strides over the last decade on narrowing gender gaps in education, health, employment and political participation. Today there are more girls in primary and secondary schools, more girls participating in tertiary education, fewer women dying in childbirth, more women in wage employment outside agriculture and more women in national parliaments and decision making bodies. But, the progress and achievements are not spread widely and evenly across the entire region. Watch videos that explore issues related to gender and how to empower women and girls in Asia and the Pacific.
Good health is essential for individual well-being. It helps ensure learning, productivity, income, and happiness. It is at the core of sustainable development, and national and regional prosperity. All countries face challenges providing and financing health care. And while the countries of Asia and the Pacific are making efforts toward achieving universal health care—quality health services for all without undue financial hardship—critical issues remain. Escalating health care costs, pandemics, and a rising incidence of non-communicable disease create a host of problems. Aging societies, changing lifestyles, population mobility, urbanization and widening economic inequities together with vulnerabilities caused by natural disasters and climate change also contribute to making the region’s public health challenges ever more complex. Further complicating things is a more prosperous citizenry demanding better health care solutions. Watch videos that address the problems and explore the solutions related to health care in Asia and the Pacific.
About 44 million people are being added to Asia's urban population every year, equivalent to 120,000 people a day. By some estimates, 80% of Asia’s new economic growth will be generated in its urban economies since this is where most jobs and employment opportunities are located. These trends are placing an enormous strain on transport and mobility in urban areas. Motor vehicle fleets are already doubling every 5 to 7 years. To provide sustainable urban transport solutions, the region needs to address rapid motorization which is a major cause of congestion and pollution. Road congestion already costs Asian economies an estimated 2–5% of GDP every year due to lost time and higher transport costs. The region's cities suffer from the highest air pollution levels in the world, with as much as 80% attributable to transport. Out of an estimated 1.18 million deaths and millions of injuries globally each year due to road accidents, 60% occur in Asia. Watch videos that address the problems and explore the solutions related to transportation in Asia and the Pacific.
Growing populations, rapid urbanization, increasing water pollution, and competing demands for water have left water resources in many Asian countries in a critical state. The gap between demand and supply is widening, increasing competition between water users—farmers, energy producers, households, and businesses. Around 70% of Asia’s water is used to irrigate crops, but much of it is used inefficiently, while many water-stressed countries lose large volumes of treated water through leakage in urban water supply systems. Asia is running out of water for the future. By some estimates, about 260 million people in Asia are still without access to safe drinking water and 1.5 billion people are still without sanitation access. Find out what is being done to address these issues.
Since its founding in 1966, ADB has been driven by an inspiration and dedication to improving people’s lives in Asia and the Pacific. By targeting our investments wisely, in partnership with our developing member countries and other stakeholders, we can alleviate poverty and help create a world in which everyone can share in the benefits of sustained and inclusive growth. Whether it be through investment in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, or helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, ADB is committed to helping developing member countries evolve into thriving, modern economies that are well integrated with each other and the world. Watch videos to find out more about how the Asian Development Bank operates.