Asia-Pacific needs to invest in social sector, ‘formalize’ informal employment – ADB, ILO

Food stall. “Formalizing” informal employment is one way to bridge the gap between decades of economic growth in Asia-Pacific and the poor quality of jobs available there, the Asian Development Bank and the International Labor Organization say. Photo by: Richard Messenger / CC By-NC

Despite decades of economic growth, the Asia-Pacific region has been unable to provide good quality jobs to its citizens. How can it bridge this gap?

Haruhiko Kuroda, president of the Asian Development Bank, and Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labor Organization, cited this problem in a joint statement Dec. 17. Many people in the region continue to work under “precarious” circumstances and with low or unstable income. They also have very limited social protection coverage and benefits, according to an update ofILO’s report on the region’s labor market.

Both have cited improving young people’s skills and “formalizing” informal employment as among options to reduce this gap. And in a memorandum of understanding, they have agreed  through their organizations  to promote decent work, focus their cooperation on providing technical and vocational training, support core labor standards and help boost social protection systems, among others.

Kuroda and Ryder have also called on the region to “expand human capacities” by investing in basic social protection floors and the social sector. This will help open more opportunities for people in the region, including the disadvantaged.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.