European Union and ILO

Improving China’s Institutional Capacity towards Universal Social Protection (Phase 1)

The project is funded by the European Union under the EU’s Partnership Instrument “EU-China Cooperation on Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.”


Eradicating extreme poverty and ensuring universal social protection coverage are among China’s top socio-economic development goals. The 13th Five-Year Social and Economic Development Plan (2016-2020) and China’s National Plan to Implement the Sustainable Development Goals make a direct reference to achieving these objectives.

For many years, the ILO and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China have been cooperating to realize universal and adequate social protection for all. The efforts in recent years focused on promoting the adequacy and financial feasibility of social security benefits.

The EU and China have cooperated in the area of social protection since 2006. The EU-China Social Security Project (EUCSS) and the EU-China Social Protection Reform Project (SPRP) were implemented during 2006-2011 and 2014-2018, respectively. They focused on building actuarial capacity and developing policy recommendations for reforms of the pension schemes, financial sustainability of the social security system and extension of social protection to workers in informal employment.

The Government of China, the EU and the ILO share the commitments to promote the decent work agenda globally. The present project provides a platform for further cooperation towards an open, sustainable and inclusive growth model.


Overall objective
  • Strengthen China’s institutional capacity to improve its social protection system, in support of the realisation of international standards and the EU 2020 Strategy.
Specific objectives
  • To contribute to the improvement of the adequacy and sustainability of old-age benefits
  • To contribute to the extension of the coverage of social security to workers in non-standard forms of employment, with a special attention to migrant workers and women

Expected outcomes at the end of the project

  • The Government of China makes informed decisions to ratify the ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102) and pursues reforms to promote more equitable and adequate old-age benefits for rural population in line with international labour standards.
  • The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, in consultation with the social partners, considers measures to expand social security coverage, especially for migrant and/or women in traditional and new non-standard forms of employment.

Selected project outputs

  • Policy recommendations on ratification and application of C102 and on improving adequacy & financial sustainability of the Chinese pension schemes formulated in consultation with the government and social partners
  • Capacity building training programmes for actuarial experts of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and its provincial branches
  • Policy Research on long-term planning of pension schemes and multi-pillar options and extension of social security coverage to workers in the non-standard forms of employment
  • Policy recommendations on extending social protection to people in non-standard forms of employment formulated

Project partners

Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; Social Insurance Administration Center; Chinese Academy of Labour and Social Security; All-China Federation of Trade Unions (AFCTU); and, China Enterprise Confederation (CEC)


Luis Frota
Project Manager