What's emerging and missing in the social protection debate

Experts at the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Social Protection Week organized by the Asian Development Bank in Manila weigh in on social protection programs.

Social protection issues are getting more attention than ever as the international community attempts to pull people out of poverty, provide decent employment for the jobless, and protect the vulnerable from disaster and health risks through the Sustainable Development Goals. Appropriate social protection systems and policies figure strongly across five of the 17 SDGs.

“Social protection is a human right,” Tomoko Nishimoto, Asia-Pacific regional director for the International Labor Organization, told Devex during the Asia-Pacific Social Protection Week at the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila, Philippines, last week.

“It’s very important that we see this as a right which is applicable to everyone. The universality is a very important point,” she said.

Duncan Campbell, a visiting professor at Cornell University, also emphasized that social protection is a form of investment in people — something governments around the world should understand. “There is significant evidence that the earlier you invest in people, the better the return on that investment,” he said.

The weeklong event gathered hundreds of development professionals, government officials, civil society representatives, private sector players and members of the academy. Participants shared insights and experiences on social protection programs and how they can be replicated, expanded and scaled up effectively.

Watch the video above to hear from experts about what makes a good social protection program, emerging trends on the topic, and what social protection issues governments should be monitoring.

Devex is the exclusive media partner of the Asian Development Bank’s Asia-Pacific Social Protection Week.

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About the authors

  • Lean 2

    Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.
  • 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.