Skip to main content

15 October 2020

Bangkok, Thailand


For more than half a century, social protection has been firmly anchored as a human right that States are obligated to guarantee. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role well-designed, coordinated and implemented social protection systems play in building resilience and mitigating risks faced by all individuals throughout life. 

Strong social protection responses are needed today to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and address ongoing challenges such as poverty and inequality, as well as emerging ones stemming from population aging, migration, urbanization and employment. Despite this knowledge, the region’s investment in social protection is among the lowest in the world and gaps in coverage are alarmingly high. 

This Regional Conversation, held in partnership with the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, aims to discuss the need for broadening social protection, drawing from the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders, such as Ministers from member States, nominated government representatives for the 6th session of the Committee on Social Development, academia and civil society. 

At this event, ESCAP and the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific will also jointly launch their first-ever regional flagship publication on social protection - Social Outlook 2020 for Asia and the Pacific. 

The conversation will focus on the following questions: 

  1. Why is social protection coverage still so low?
  2. What would be the impact on societies if countries were to expand social protection coverage? How much would this cost?
  3. What can governments do to build inclusive, effective and sustainable social protection systems to prepare their countries for many of the ongoing and emerging challenges?
  4. How can countries in the region learn from each other and what role can the UN system play in this regard?

Opening remarks:

  • Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, ESCAP
  • Mr. Guy Ryder, Director General, ILO

Launch of the Report: 

  • Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, ESCAP
  • Ms. Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, ILO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Eminent Speakers:

  • H.E. Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji
  • H.E. Ms. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety to the Prime Minister, Pakistan
  • H.E. Mr. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
  • Ms. Haiyani Rumondang, Director General for Industrial Relations and Worker’s Social Security, Minister of Manpower, Indonesia
  • Ms. Sarah Cook, Director, Institute for Global Development, University of New South Wales
  • Mr. Michael Cichon, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Governance at UNU, Maastricht, Member of the Global Coalition for SP Floors (GCSF)


  • Mr. Srinivas Tata, Director, Social Development Division, ESCAP

Registration link:

>> See other Regional Conversation Series on Building Back Better events
We would be delighted to hear your feedback. Kindly fill out the evaluation form:

for more information, please contact

Social Development Division +66 2288 1234