UN commission sets out need to address social protection gaps with support from Development Pathways

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 11.18.22An online platform supporting countries in Asia and the Pacific to build inclusive social protection systems Development Pathways contributed to is launched today.

The aim of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s Social Protection Toolbox is to support countries in the region to understand the role social protection plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It identifies national coverage gaps and assists with capacity and knowledge-building with materials including learning modules, in-depth studies and videos.

The Toolbox features two new e-learning guides, developed by UNESCAP with Development Pathways, showing how investing in inclusive social protection can accelerate progress towards the SDGs, why universal schemes are better at reaching the poor than targeted schemes, and what policy options to consider when designing inclusive schemes. The first module, Why We Need Social Protection (right) raises awareness of the role social protection systems can play in tackling poverty.

This highlights that in the 28 countries for which data is available, more than 1.2 billion people were at the last count living below the international poverty line of US$3.10 a day. And it says that it would require an investment of only 0.81% of regional Gross Domestic Product, or less than half a US$ a day for each household, to change this.

Despite the critical role social protection plays for the region, only 3 out of 10 mothers with newborns receive maternity benefits and fewer than half of all countries in the region offer benefits to children and families. With adequate social protection coverage, the region could see strong positive results in reducing stunting, malnutrition and child and maternal mortality, but also increase life expectancy, see economic growth increase, and importantly, reduce poverty.

“Investing in inclusive social protection – an integral part of sustainable and inclusive development will be critical for poverty eradication and people’s welfare. Social protection has to be affordable. It not only contributes to lifting people out of poverty but also helps build their resilience. In a time when inclusive social protection is under threat in the region, Asia and the Pacific could use the Social Protection Toolbox and learn from what other countries are doing to close these gaps,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

A series of additional tools are planned throughout the year including two further e-learning tools prepared in collaboration 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 first module by clicking here.

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