Social security in Asia and the Pacific

Social protection service in Mongolia.

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Social protection plays a key role in achieving sustainable development, promoting social justice and realizing the human right to social security for all. Thus, social protection policies are vital elements of national development strategies to reduce poverty and vulnerability across the life cycle and support inclusive and sustainable growth by raising household incomes, fostering productivity and human development, boosting domestic demand, facilitating structural transformation of the economy and promoting decent work.

Following two decades of strong economic growth in Asia and the Pacific, which resulted in a two thirds reduction in the percentage of working poor, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, paralysing further progress and sending a powerful reminder of the persistent and structural challenges faced by the region.

Despite progress in recent years and the increased attention devoted to social protection in the region, the stark reality is that 55.9 per cent of the population still do not have access to any form of social protection.

As in past crises, the key lesson for the region as it emerges from the pandemic is that economic growth without adequate investment in social protection generates unsustainable gains, mostly concentrated in a limited proportion of the population, leaving others extremely vulnerable to shocks.

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