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South Asia

South Asia is home to almost half of the world's poor and is a focal area for Bank support to reduce poverty.  Poverty in South Asia is inextricably linked to the management of environmental and social development issues.  Sustainable natural resources management (including water resources management) and pollution management, especially related to outcomes of improved livelihoods, reduced environmental health risks, and reducing vulnerability, particularly of the Region's poor, is central to the Bank's assistance in its client countries in South Asia and is consistent with the Bank and Region's Environmental Strategy.

To improve the livelihoods of the rural and urban poor, the Bank is assisting reforming sub-regions and sectors in the Region with watershed and forest management, land and water management, fundamental reforms required for long-term environmentally and socially sustainable irrigation and drainage, tariff reforms, institutional reform, and a recent focus on river basin planning and management in an integrated water resources management framework.  The integration of social and environmental issues and safeguards, their mainstreaming into various sectoral strategies, analytical and advisory services, and projects, and building local capacity to address these issues effectively as part of sustainable development is a key area of focus in working with our client countries and states.

With relation to public health outcomes, the Bank is assisting with:

  • improving the quality and access to the intersectoral environmental and social development knowledge base
  • modernizing state and national regulatory agencies
  • monitoring pollution
  • improving public health through indoor and urban air pollution management
  • using spatial information and other analytical technologies for industrial zoning and pollution management
  • mainstreaming environmental and social issues into key sectoral management agencies (water resources, irrigation, forestry, watershed, coastal zone management) in a participatory and community-led manner

The Region is also actively involved in leading the efforts on post-disaster reconstruction (in Afghanistan, Gujarat earthquake) and reducing vulnerability to natural disasters.

Protection of the Global Commons (climate change, implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances) is also being pursued, especially where there is a link with local benefits.

South Asia Regional Website and Strategy