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/political - 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
Social development adopts an approach that focuses on the need to "put people first" in development processes. Poor people's own voices tell us that poverty means more than simply low incomes - it is also about vulnerability, exclusion and isolation, unaccountable institutions, and powerlessness. As such, overcoming poverty is not just a matter of getting economic policies right, it is also about promoting social development, which empowers people by creating more inclusive, cohesive, and accountable institutions and societies.
Social sustainability takes that larger worldview into consideration in relation to communities, culture, and globalization. When working on development projects, this means undertaking adequate social analysis and assessment, which in turn allows for adequate identification of social opportunities, as well as adequate mitigation of social impacts and risks, including through the proper application of the Bank's social safeguard policies.