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Asia and the Pacific

Overview

The Asia and the Pacific region is a rural development paradox: it is has seen some of the most dramatic economic transformations, but bears some of the most enduring challenges.

Vast and densely populated, the region remains home to two thirds of the world’s poorest people. As income inequality widens, poverty is becoming a more rural and acute phenomenon.

Social deprivation and high rates of malnutrition and stunting are reducing the physical and mental capacity of vulnerable groups across the region, at a significant human and economic cost. Across the region, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted.

Vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters and a gradual degradation of the productive resource base are growing problems. In some cases, climate change is already posing an existential threat, with a number of Pacific islands severely threatened by rising sea levels.

Inequality between urban and rural areas

Small farm businesses across the region are struggling in the face of rural-urban migration, land and water degradation, and economic, institutional and political constraints.

Much of the region lacks the basic infrastructure to ensuring integration with the global economy through efficient market linkages. Such integration is vital for strengthening intra- and interregional trade through emerging common markets such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

These are all formidable challenges which the region must overcome to continue to be a powerful engine for global prosperity and growth.

Partnering against poverty

IFAD is empowering smallholders through its loan and grant programmes, policy engagement, and pro-poor partnerships across the policy spectrum, working with local people, governments, donors and the private sector.

By the end of 2019, IFAD had invested US$2.6 billion in the region’s ongoing portfolio for 59 projects in 20 countries.

IFAD is especially active where problems are most acute. We work in Pacific island nations, such as Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, where ongoing projects are combating the impact of climate change, and supporting community-led development processes.

In the fight against climate change and the struggle for the enhancement of rural productivity, prosperity and quality of life, collaboration is key.

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China and India are the world’s most populous nations, together accounting for some 37 per cent of the global population in 2019.

Across the Asia and Pacific region, 560 million people live on less than $1.25 a day, with about 260 million of those people living in India.

In spite of rapid urbanization, more than half of the population in the region still lives in rural areas, and most are engaged in agriculture.

Asset Publisher

Regional Director

Nigel Brett Director, Operational Policy and Results Division, and Director a.i. for Asia and the Pacific Division

Spotlight

Spotlight

Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

In rural communities in northern Laos, an IFAD supported programme is using a television soap opera to help tackle extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Where we work

Projects and programmes

Projects and programmes

Bangladesh

Promoting the Resilience of the Vulnerable through Access to Infrastructure, Improved Skills and Information (PROVATI³)

Nepal

Agriculture Sector Development Programme (ASDP)

India

Fostering Climate-resilient Upland Farming Systems (FOCUS)

Related news

Related news

Climate change adaptation programme can help an additional 10 million vulnerable people in Asia and Pacific says new IFAD report

November 2021 - NEWS
Climate-related hazards are intensifying in the Asia Pacific region, disproportionately affecting vulnerable rural communities. Policymakers must prioritise climate resilience and adaptation measures in order to protect rural communities from losing economic advancements according to a new report released today by IFAD.

IFAD and EIB launch $125 million project to boost rural incomes and food security in Cambodia

February 2020 - NEWS
IFAD, together with the Government of Cambodia and the European Investment Bank (EIB), are launching a US$125 million rural development project today that aims to boost incomes and food security for 200,000 families in Cambodia.

Productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers increased through IFAD and Nepal partnership – new report.

December 2019 - NEWS
Rural development projects financed and supported by IFAD have contributed to increased agricultural productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in Nepal, according to a new report presented today.

Related publications

Related publications

Following the thread of yak

November 2021
This is the first publication exclusively focusing on yak wool production and its commercialization, incorporating the socio-environmental narrative attached to High Asia region and its herders communities.

Building climate resilience in the Asia Pacific region

November 2021
This study examines six projects, in three principal ecosystems of the region: a mountainous region, wetlands and a river delta.

An outlook on Asia’s agricultural and rural transformation: Prospects and options for making it an inclusive and sustainable one

June 2019
If the success of Asian countries in transforming their rural economy is measured by the extent to which poverty has declined over the past 20 years, there is no question that their transformation can be regarded as one of the major achievements in human history. However, new problems are overtaking the older ones and Asia is now entering a critical part of its history.

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