Putting People First
Social Development focuses on the need to 'put people first' in development processes. Poor people's voices tell us that poverty is more than low income - it is also about vulnerability, exclusion and isolation, unaccountable institutions, powerlessness, and aggravated exposure to violence.
Mainstreaming social sustainability involves addressing a comprehensive range of social opportunities, risks, and impacts that will ensure the social sustainability of the World Bank's development assistance.
Sustainable development requires balancing the needs of present and future generations and has become a rapidly growing global concern. Three critical factors - economic, ecological, and social - take a central place in discussions of growth and poverty-reduction. Social sustainability is a critical aspect of achieving long-term development that significantly improves the lives of the world’s poorest people.
Development experiences from client countries of both the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) have shown that overcoming poverty requires more than getting economic policies right. Many of these societies are torn by conflict, fragility and violence, or beset by inequality of opportunity based on gender, race, ethnicity or other factors. Governance problems such as corruption and lack of citizen voice and engagement afflict many societies and nations, undermining public participation in decisionmaking that affects communities’ futures.
There are several challenges affecting the World Bank’s client countries, such as: the issue of social inclusion, enabling the vulnerable and marginalized segments of society to have a say in defining their development paths; the increasing global consciousness of the challenge of climate action and its social dimensions; an increasing focus on the problems of "fragility" - of countries, states and societies - and the implications for poor people; increasing urbanization and its impact on developing societies; and revolutionary changes in information and communication technologies.
Social Development staff work with governments, communities, civil society and the private sector to help promote a state that is accessible, responsive and accountable to citizens.