The Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), a Hong Kong-based research and advisory organisation, has released its annual Doing Good Index. The study’s purpose is to examine the vital role of the social sector, and how Asian countries are helping or hindering it. This year’s index, DGI2020, revealed that governments must do more, and that private and corporate donations must play a part in meeting needs as well.
‘Right now, with widespread disruption stemming from the pandemic and its economic repercussions – which have hit the most vulnerable members of our communities hardest – we have to rebuild our society,’ said CAPS Chairman Ronnie Chan. ‘CAPS’ Doing Good Index provides strategies which help the social sector play a more effective role in fostering a better future for all of Asia.’
The DGI2020 research surveyed over 2,000 sustainable development organisations and interviewed 145 country experts across 18 Asian economies: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
‘Asia has amassed one-third of the world’s wealth, but still has two-thirds of the world’s poor,’ said Dr Ruth Shapiro, Founder and Chief Executive of CAPS. ‘There is now a unique opportunity to use this newly created wealth to alleviate poverty, protect the environment, and promote societal resilience.’
Some of the broad trends the report identified across the region included that government action makes a significant difference, both for public policy and signalling that SDOs matter. Right now, governments in Asia are anxious, as they face steering growing wealth and disposable income toward meeting social need, the report said. It also found that while tax and fiscal policies are a major incentive for charitable giving, a lack of clarity has dampened the effectiveness of this particular policy tool.
Encouragingly, DGI2020 found that governments are increasingly consulting SDOs on policy issues. Some three-quarters of Asian SDOs reported being involved in policy consultations, up from half in 2018. The report also found that corporate social responsibility and public-private partnerships are gaining traction in the region, perhaps in response to today’s complex issues, which require collaboration across sectors.
Amid the trends and challenges of today – including COVID-19, climate change, and vast inequity – the social sector in Asia has been in flux, the report noted, adding: ‘Fallout from the pandemic adds pressure and impetus for the sector to strengthen. The sector’s increasingly evident role as a partner in sustainable development is a clarion call for governments, companies and philanthropists to support its growth. And factors are in place for Asia to answer.’
DGI2020 can be downloaded and read here.