South Asia Regional Delegation: Development Operational Plan 2014

1. Executive Summary

South Asia, a region of great socio-economic as well as cultural and political diversity, is home to 1.6 billion1 people and representing 22.8 per cent of the world’s population over three per cent land mass. It remains one of the most disadvantaged region of the world, with a population highly vulnerable to disaster and health related risks due to a wide range of socio-economic factors, especially high levels of poverty, political instability and conflict. Despite economic and social gains attained in the last decade, life expectancy, children’s education, adult literacy and gross domestic product (GDP) indicators point to continued complex risks to the population of South Asia.

The percentage of people living on less than USD 1.25 a day fell in South Asia from 61 per cent to 36 per cent between 1981 and 2008. Still, the South Asia region is home to many of the developing world’s poor. According to the World Bank’s most recent poverty estimates, about 571 million people in the region survive on less than USD 1.25 a day, and they make up more than 44 per cent of the developing world’s poor.