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Closing the Gap

Empowerment and Inclusion in Asia and the Pacific

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The average achievements the Asia-Pacific region has seen in education, employment and income reflect the role economic growth can play in helping people realize their potential. However, these achievements represent only that: an average. With an increasing gap between rich and poor and between those who have and those who do not have access to opportunities, Asia and the Pacific is also a region that is growing apart. This report adopts a rigorous approach to measuring and quantifying progress in the level of inclusion and empowerment of marginalised groups across countries in the region. It focuses on three main areas of direct link to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, namely education, employment and income (SDG 4, SDG 8 and SDG 10). The purpose of the analysis is to assess to what extent disadvantaged groups have been included and empowered in these three areas. While there are various disadvantaged groups, the report focuses on women, rural residents, persons with disabilities, youth, older persons and migrants, as well as the furthest behind groups, which are shaped by various layers of circumstances. The aim of this report is to use analytical evidence to encourage policymakers to adopt policies that underpin inclusion and empowerment in their countries.

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Are incomes among the poorest 40 per cent and rural residents increasing enough?

Rapid economic growth and the corresponding increase in incomes, in Asia and the Pacific, has brought an improvement in average living standards. At the same time, the region’s populationweighted income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient, has increased by over 5 percentage points in the past 20 years.47 While average living standards have increased in the region, many have not benefited from this overall development and income levels have remained low.

English

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