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11 to 13 June 2024 | By invitation only

United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand
  1. Background

Inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific is threatened by cascading and compounding risks emanating from global shocks, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis. An additional 147 million people are estimated to have fallen into poverty under the $3.65-a-day poverty line in the region in 2019-2022 period. The region is in the midst of a rapid demographic transition, and one out of every four persons in the region are projected to be over sixty years or older by 2050. At the same time, the impacts of climate change increasingly manifest themselves across Asia and the Pacific. It is estimated that even under the 1.5°C global warming scenario, 85 per cent of Asia-Pacific's population will be exposed to multi-hazard risks. With half of the population having no access to social protection, achieving inclusive and sustainable development remains a major challenge for Asia and the Pacific.

Stronger and more flexible social protection systems are needed to support transformative adaptation and just transition and build resilience for all. Particular efforts are required to mitigate intersecting vulnerabilities among the poor and people in vulnerable situations, requiring reconceptualization and enhancements, including to align social protection with climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

In this context, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) dedicated its flagship publication, Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific 2024, to future-proofing social protection. The Report reviews recent trends in poverty and inequality, and assesses the current status of social protections systems, including their ability to address new and emerging risks associated with three global megatrends, climate change, demographic transitions and digitalization. The report then introduces four alternative future scenarios and identifies policy recommendations at national and regional level to achieve the preferred future. The report also includes empirical estimates on the cost of inaction and action and identifies potential financing mechanisms.

  1. Objective

This Expert Group Meeting (EGM) built on the first EGM organized by ESCAP in November 2023 which discussed the outline of the Social Outlook 2024 and developed alternative future scenarios based on strategic foresight tools. The objective of the second EGM was to review the draft report and deliberate on its key findings and policy messages to strengthen social protection systems in Asia and the Pacific. The EGM also provided a platform for interactive policy dialogue to review and expand the proposed policy recommendations on social protection at national and regional levels over three phases between 2024 and 2040, developed based on a backcasting exercise during the first EGM.

  1. Organization and Participation

The EGM drew participation from experts in academia, think-thanks, research institution, the United Nations system entities, and governments. The participants received the draft publication two weeks ahead of the EGM. The participants were encouraged to consider the following guiding questions as they reviewed the document.

  1. Does the report provide a comprehensive overview of the issue for the entire ESCAP region? If not, which issues are underexplored?
  2. What additional data and information could be used?
  3. What additional challenges, gaps, and emerging issues should be addressed?
  4. What additional solutions and opportunities can be be identified? Are there any good practices and lessons learned, in particular at the subregional or regional levels, that need to be highlighted?
  5. Are the main messages of this report sufficiently backed by data and analysis? Do you recommend any changes to the main messages?

The EGM was organized in virtual format from 11 to 13 June 2024 between 14:00 and 16:00 (GMT+7) over MS Teams. Each session followed a similar structure starting with presentations by the drafting team followed by interventions by peer-reviewers and an interactive plenary discussion. One session focused on policy recommendations, based on group work in virtual breakout rooms. The sessions was recorded for internal purposes only. The meeting was be conducted in English. Participants were encouraged to attend all three days.

The programme for each day is provided on the programme tab. 

 

11 Jun 2024
14:00
14:20
Opening Session   

Srinivas Tata, Director, Social Development Division (SDD), ESCAP 

Katinka WeinbergerChief, Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation Section, SDD, ESCAP - Overview on report objective and outline

Self-introduction of EGM participants 

Moderator: Areum Han (ESCAP)

14:20
15:00
Session 1: Review of Chapter 1

This Session will provide a brief overview of the Chapter 1 of Social Outlook which focuses on the latest situation on poverty and inequality in Asia and the Pacific amidst complex shocks and evolving megatrends. This will be followed by the intervention of discussant(s) and a plenary discussion.

  • Presentation by Selahattin Selsah Pasali (ESCAP)
  • Discussants: Santosh Mehrotra (University of Bath) and Ken Chamuva Shawa (ILO)
  • Plenary Discussion

Moderator: Sayuri Cocco Okada (ESCAP)

15:00
15:05
Virtual Break
15:05
15:50
Session 2: Review of Chapter 2

This Session will provide a brief overview of Chapter 2 which assesses the latest situation of social protection systems in Asia and the Pacific. The presentation will be followed by the intervention of   discussant(s) and a plenary discussion.

  • Presentation by Sayuri Cocco Okada (ESCAP)
  • Discussants: Stephen Kidd (Development Pathways) and Mizuho Okimoto-Kaewtathip (UNDP)
  • Plenary Discussion

Moderator: Selahattin Selsah Pasali (ESCAP)

15:50
16:00
Day 1 – Wrap Up
12 Jun 2024
14:00
14:05
Welcome and Recap of Day 1
14:05
14:55
Session 3: Review of Chapter 3

This Session will provide a brief overview of the Chapter 3 of Social Outlook which explores how three global megatrends (climate change, demographic transitions, digitalization) affect social protection systems in Asia and the Pacific. The session will be followed the intervention of discussant(s) and a plenary discussion.

  • Presentation by Areum Han (ESCAP)
  • Discussants: Francis Upgi Kim (ITUC-AP) and Michael Samson (Economic Policy Research Institute)
  • Plenary Discussion

Moderator: Stefan Urban (ESCAP)

14:55
15:00
Virtual Break
15:00
16:25
Session 4: Group Work to Refine Policy Recommendations

This Session will provide an overview of the preferred alternative future and dive deep into the policy recommendations proposed at national and regional level in three phases between 2024 and 2040. 

•    Presentation by ESCAP (Katinka Weinberger)  
•    Group Work in breakout rooms using online tools
•    Reporting back to plenary
•    Plenary Discussion

Moderator: Sayuri Okada (ESCAP)

16:25
16:30
Day 2 – Wrap Up
13 Jun 2024
14:00
14:05
Welcome and Recap of Day 2
14:05
14:55
Session 5: The Cost of Action and Inaction

This Session will focus on the first two sections of Chapter 5 and review the empirical estimates on the cost of action and inaction. It will be followed by the intervention of a discussant(s) and a plenary discussion.

  • Presentation by Zilu Zhou (ESCAP)
  • Discussants: Stephen Kidd (DP)
  • Plenary Discussion

Moderator: Stefan Urban (ESCAP)

14:55
15:00
Virtual Break
15:00
15:50
Session 6: Financing Social Protection

Building on the cost of action and inaction, this Session will explore financing mechanisms for future proofing social protection, including domestic and external sources as well as traditional and alternative sources that are available for member States.

  • Presentation by ESCAP (Stefan Urban)
  • Discussants: Vatcharin Sirimaneetham (ESCAP) and Andrea Rossi (UNICEF)  
  • Plenary Discussion

Moderator: Selahattin Selsah Pasali (ESCAP)

15:50
16:00
Closing Remarks and next steps (ESCAP)

for more information, please contact

Social Development Division +66 2288 1234 [email protected]
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