International Conference on the Future of Social Security for New Forms of Work

Press release | 29 July 2022
International Conference on the Future of Social Security for New Forms of Work is held on 26-28 July 2022 in Beijing
Beijing (ILO News) -- From 26 to 28 July 2022 took place in Beijing the International Conference on the Future of Social Security for New forms of Work. The Conference was implemented in the context of the project “EU-China project - Improving China’s institutional capacity towards universal social protection”, a partnership between the International Labour Office in Beijing, the European Union and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China.

The international conference gathered 100 participants and was implemented partly online. Participants included officials of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and its provincial branches, members of China Employers Confederation and from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, delegates from the European Union member states and the EU Delegation represented in China, embassies, and national and international scholars. The Conference addressed the challenges of social security and its adaptations to the future of work in China and across the globe, in the context of mega trends of digitalisation of the economy and rapid demographic changes. The Conference debated more specifically the improvements in social security for platform workers, the establishment of multi-tier pension social security systems and the digital transformation of social security.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Yu Jiadong, Vice Minister, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) of China stressed the achievements of China’s social security system in reaching universal social security coverage and its resolute aim to further promote quality social security administration and services. He emphasized the importance of continued technical and policy dialogue in social security and the significant role played by the EU-CHINA cooperation over so many years. Ms. Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, ILO's Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for ILO Office for Asia and the Pacific noted that the investment in social security is central in many countries in their efforts towards a human centred and sustainable economic recovery in the context of COVID 19 crisis and beyond. Mr. Tim Harrington, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to China indicated that social protection plays a key role in achieving sustainable development across the world, promoting social justice and ensuring that the fundamental human right to social security is respected for all. At the same time, he highlighted the persistent coverage gaps in social protection, particularly among employed and self-employed workers in the informal economy, as well as among migrant workers.

In her key note speech, Ms. Anna Diamantopoulou, Chair, High-level group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU indicated that the European Union is studying the impacts of megatrends of digitalisation of the economy, ageing, and climate change in the future of social protection in the continent. She mentioned that digitalisation has brought many benefits for job creation in the EU, particularly amongst the youth but it can also heighten divisions in society that can lead to social tensions. She emphasized the rising concerns with the health and material damages of climate transitions which need to become a new concern also for social security systems. Dr. Zheng Gongcheng, Member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the PRC, President of the China Association of Social Security, applauded the policy experimentations and innovations particularly in terms of coverage of uncovered groups such as platform workers, and stressed the importance to convert policy into legally established entitlements. He underlined the need to further promote unity and equity of social security and to further invest in social security to facilitate labour market mobility. Dr. Shahra Razavi, Director, Social Protection Department, ILO Headquarters Geneva described the constitutive elements of high-road strategies for universal social protection in the world, which include the extension of coverage, adequate benefits, non-discrimination and the coverage of workers in diverse forms of employment and sustainable financing.

Mr. Zhai Yanli, Director-General, Social Insurance Administration of MOHRSS moderated a panel on governance of social security in the context of digitalization of administration and services. The participants to the panel emphasized the importance of planning, and continuous foresight and innovation in a context of fast changes affecting the administration of social security. Dr. Changhee Lee, Director, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia and Mrs Qian Xiaoyan, DDG International Department MOHRSS closed the three-day Conference concurring on the importance of pursuing the collaboration between ILO, EU and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, as social security systems in all countries are undergoing profound transformations and traditional income support instruments may be insufficient to face new challenges.