About the Action Plan

A shared approach to build more inclusive social protection systems

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1. What is the Action Plan

ESCAP Action Plan to Strengthen Regional Cooperation on Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific (Action Plan) is a shared approach to promoting peer learning and partnerships between countries working to build more inclusive social protection systems.
ESCAP member States adopted the Action Plan in October 2020; an acknowledgement of social protection as a key development policy needed to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.
The principles of universal social protection and the Social Protection Floor Initiative are the guiding frameworks for ESCAP’s work in this area. Through the Action Plan, ESCAP aims to support national and regional efforts by enhancing the capacity of member States to build and strengthen inclusive social protection systems.
ESCAP has established a regional network of National Government Social Protection Focal Points to coordinate technical inputs to follow-up to the Action Plan. ESCAP supports the stocktaking of progress in implementation of the Action Plan.

2. National Actions towards achieving more inclusive and comprehensive social protection systems

The Action Plan identifies 12 broad measures that can foster more inclusive and comprehensive social protection systems:
Ensure the right to social protection for all without discrimination throughout the life cycle, including by adopting necessary legislative, regulatory, administrative and other measures to this end;
Progressively design and realize, including through social dialogue, comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems for all that enable every person to access social protection at adequate benefit levels and thereby enjoy an adequate standard of living, in accordance with national circumstances, throughout his or her lifetime;
Ensure that social protection systems are shock responsive, gender sensitive and relevant to the needs of vulnerable populations;
Ensure that the implementation of social protection is efficient, coordinated, non-discriminatory, reliable and transparent, with public availability of appeal and complaint mechanisms institutionalized as part of the service delivery process;
Allocate sufficient public funds, and increase these levels where required, towards the realization of social protection for all at the national level, with due regard to social and intergenerational solidarity and the sustainability of national social protection systems;
Encourage national civil society entities and private sector organizations to engage actively in the field of social protection, as appropriate, towards the realization of social protection for all;
Consider setting achievable national targets, including intermediate targets, based on country contexts within the indicator framework of Sustainable Development Goal 1.3, including through the establishment of the following:
  1. A national baseline of the population covered by social protection programmes for 2021, by sex and age;
  2. Intermediate targets for the population covered by social protection programmes by 2025, by sex and age;
  3. National targets to reach the entire population with social protection programmes by 2030, by sex and age;
Develop strategies to achieve these targets and integrate them into national development plans and social protection sectoral plans and frameworks;
Develop and strengthen national data management systems and processes to facilitate the collection, management and analysis of social protection data that are accurate, relevant and timely;
Promote partnerships, peer learning, knowledge exchange and the sharing of good practices among countries in Asia and the Pacific through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation frameworks;
Ensure that development support from partners is aligned with core national social protection priorities and corresponding technical assistance and capacity building needs;
Share national experiences in the form of a progress report, to be produced on a voluntary basis, on the progress made and challenges faced in implementing the Action Plan, at future sessions of the Committee on Social Development.

3. Steps to Inclusive Social Protection Systems

To support member States to achieve these actions, ESCAP:

Provides an online regional platform (SPOT) to facilitate peer learning and the sharing of good practices

Enhances knowledge and capacity through a self-paced online training course on social protection and additional knowledge resources and advocacy tools

Takes stock of the readiness of countries to implement the Action Plan