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Approach:

  1. Introduction
  2. Define social mobility concept.
  3. Discuss its relation with sustainable development.
  4. Conclusion

The current “Decade of Action” has gained massive relevance in the journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2022 edition of Asian Development Bank’s annual report highlights the role of social mobility in countries, as crucial to achieving the SDGs by the end of this decade.

Social Mobility: Social mobility refers to the transition of people, including families and other social units, between the socio-economic strata within their lifetime. The movement of some people in & out of poverty varies across developing nations in Asia. For impactful transitions to occur, several key drivers need to be improved which can positively impact an individual’s health, education, income, employment, and location.

Upward social mobility holds the essence of sustainable development because it encourages comprehensive growth & promotes social convergence in terms of access to resources.

Social mobility vs Sustainable development:

There exists a direct linear relationship between a country’s income inequality and its social mobility. Nations with greater social mobility enhance access to equally shared opportunities, whereas, higher income inequalities impede social mobility.

Nations that have a higher degree of social mobility can have better success at reducing extreme poverty. The identification of sectors with high levels of poverty prevalence but low social mobility would require strong policy intervention due to the inability of persons to elevate their socio-economic status with the resources available to them. Upward social mobility of the lowest section does wonders for society as a whole in terms of improving resilience to exogenous shocks such as the pandemic.

Projections certainly indicate that the nations where such mobility was low before the pandemic will end up experiencing longer periods of socio-economic setbacks. Despite this, developing nations in Asia are expected to bring down the occurrence of extreme and moderate poverty to 1 and 7 percent respectively by 2030. Policy responses must be targeted to uplift those who were at the lowest socio-economic rungs.

This will be extremely crucial for the Asia-Pacific, given the highest concentration of the world’s population and a large number of emerging markets in the region. Action on the developmental parameters will not only have a strong bearing on making the domestic economies and communities more resilient but also decide the dynamics of foreign investments in the region.

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