Social security in China and Mongolia

Mongolian herders.

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Seventy-three per cent of the world’s population do not enjoy access to comprehensive social protection. Extending social protection is critical in a country’s pursuit of sustainable social and economic development by sustaining income and therefore consumption, reducing inequality and poverty, and opening new markets for social services . When grounded in human rights principles, a social protection system can facilitate the realization of rights and address social and economic inequality. The United Nations system actively promotes policies and assists its member States to extend adequate levels of social protection to all members of society by building Social Protection Floors . ILO assistance is rendered through UN Country Teams and inter-agency initiatives such as the Social Protection Inter-agency Cooperation Board, co-led by the ILO and the World Bank.

In the world of work, the main goal is building comprehensive social security systems, ensuring workers have access to social security benefits; notably, health care and income security, particularly in terms of unemployment, sickness, invalidity, work injury, maternity, loss of a main income earner, or old age. Technical services from the ILO includes actuarial analyses so as to ensure the financial viability of the social security fund, and benefit definition, extension and expansion schemes.

International labour standards provide guidance on social protection floors and social security, which include the Social Security (Minimum Standard) Convention, 1952 (No. 102) , the Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention, 1982 (No. 157) , and the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) .


In the last decade, China has achieved major progress in extending social protection coverage. Rural populations and urban-based vulnerable groups have significantly benefited from a fast expansion of coverage. The country’s fast aging population makes an urgent demand fora comprehensive social protection system. The ILO cooperates with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in the continued efforts of strengthening the coverage, adequacy and sustainability of the social security system in line with international standards and with special attention to the situation of women, migrant and workers in vulnerable employment. Cooperation is centrally aimed at supporting China’s social security reform and development as defined in its national 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020).


Mongolia pursues a set of social protection policies as key instruments to manage its transition from a centrally planned economy to one that is market-driven. Priority is given to social security extension and nationally defined social protection floors (SPF). In response to the Government’s request for a comprehensive overview of the social protection situation in the country and policy recommendations, the ILO, in partnership with the United Nations Country Team in Mongolia, has completed an assessment-based national dialogue on social protection. On-going support is given to aligning Mongolia’s social security system to international standards and realizing social guarantees related to health, children, working age population and the elderly.