Expert Group Meeting on Inclusive Social Protection Systems in Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, 11-12 April 2019

11 Apr 2019 to 12 Apr 2019
Bangkok, Thailand
By invitation only

Over the past 20 years, the region’s combined income inequality – as measured by the Gini coefficient - has increased by over 5 percentage points. Inequality of opportunity also persists throughout the region, despite an average increase in access to key services, such as health care and education. Social protection can be particularly effective in achieving further progress in reducing inequality, as well as extreme and moderate poverty. However, in the Asia-Pacific region, about 60% of people are still excluded from adequate social protection coverage and remain greatly exposed to the economic and social risks related to old-age, illness as well as recurrent natural disasters. While public expenditure on social protection has been increasing in the past two decades, it remains about a third of the global average of 11.2 per cent.

The Expert Group Meeting on Inclusive Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific, co-hosted by UNESCAP, OECD with SOCIEUX+ and ILO on 11-12 April 2019 in Bangkok, provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange and the dissemination of national good practices amongst some 70 policy-makers, academics, members of civil society and development partners. The meeting discussed themes of regional relevance, such as the extension of social protection to informal workers and national old-age pension reforms, and highlighted common challenges to the establishment of inclusive systems, including a lack of disaggregated data on the most disadvantaged groups as well as programme fragmentation and the need for adequate and sustainable financing. Diagnostic and capacity strengthening tools designed to support national governments in the review and costing of existing and future social protection programmes – such as the ESCAP Social Protection Toolbox –were also presented. In addition, participants shared views on ways in which regional cooperation on social protection could be strengthened through the forthcoming modality, whose development will be led by a Group of Experts officially nominated by ESCAP member States in the next months.