Nations in the Asia-Pacific region should take a step-by-step approach to building universal social protection schemes to avoid excluding over 40% of people living in poverty who should have received support. A new UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific policy guide developed in collaboration with Development Pathways highlights that universal programmes reach everyone in need.
They avoid the high exclusion errors of a number of current schemes, including 42% for the Philippines’ Pantawid and 44% for Georgia’s Targeted Social Assistance programmes.
The policy guide, How to Design Inclusive Social Protection Systems, sets out a step-by-step process of extending coverage in order to realise the right to social security for all, citing a number of examples including Nepal, a low-income nation that introduced an old age pension for everyone aged 75 years and over and a scheme for widows aged 60 years. “Over time coverage has been expanded. The age of eligibility of the old age pension has been reduced to 70 years [and a] disability benefit is now universal.”
The guide is released alongside an introductory module, Why We Need Social Protection, which raises awareness of the role social protection systems can play in tackling poverty. The new e-learning guides are featured in a UNESCP online Social Protection ‘Toolbox’ to support countries to understand the role of social protection in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and to assist them to build knowledge and capacity.
A series of additional tools are planned throughout the year including two further e-learning tools, also prepared with Development Pathways, on how to administer and finance social protection and how to advance social protection for persons with disabilities.
You can view the module How to Design Inclusive Social Protection Systems by clicking here.