Social Security in Asia and the Pacific

The COVID-19 crisis has made clear that, for most countries in the region, an urgent paradigm shift is required. It is time for countries in this region to make their choice between different development paths. One is the “high-road’’ approach, with a significant new role for social protection, setting out to be more inclusive and leaving no one behind, while supporting greater growth, driven by domestic demand, and contributing to further development of human capabilities. The other option is to focus on fiscal consolidation and pursue a “low-road” approach that keeps countries trapped in a “low cost – low human development” growth path.

Realizing the important role of social protection as a social and economic stabilizer, countries should seize this opportunity to make the human right to social security a reality for all. Recovery will only be sustained, and future crises mitigated if countries move towards comprehensive, sustainable and shock-responsive social protection systems. Social protection policies that enable people to better navigate life and work transitions, structural changes in the labour market and systemic shocks respond to the ILO’s Centenary Declaration’s call for a human-centred future of work and contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.