UN Policy Dialogue "Building an inclusive and sustainable social protection system" held online

The United Nations in China in collaboration with Chinese government organised a social protection policy dialogue online on 10 November 2020

新闻 | 2020年11月13日
Beijing (ILO News) - The United Nations (UN) in China in collaboration with Chinese government organised a policy dialogue titled ‘Social Protection at the time of COVID-19 and beyond: Building an inclusive and sustainable social protection system’ on 10 November 2020. The dialogue aimed to share and learn from the efforts in China and globally to strengthen social protection for the groups hardest hit by the pandemic, and to initiate a policy discussion about innovative approaches to create a more inclusive social protection system and its sustainable financing.

Ms Amakobe Sande, UN Resident Coordinator a.i. in China, opened the dialogue. She noted that the effects of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 posed a challenge to the 2030 Sustainability Agenda. COVID-19 revealed gaps worldwide in the coverage of social security that risk increasing inequality and the proportion of people at risk of falling back into poverty. “COVID-19 provided a wake-up call to accelerate building universal social protection systems”, Sande concluded.

Mr Liu Xitang, Director-General, Social Assistance Department, Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) introduced the experience of China responding to COVID-19 from the social assistance perspective. The expansion of social assistance in China cushioned the economic effects of the crisis on the poor, especially those not covered by other social protection schemes.

Mr Xu Yanjun, Director-General Level Counsel, Social Insurance Administration, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) presented the measures implemented in China to respond to the crisis. The social insurance administration extended the coverage of unemployment insurance benefits and improved their accessibility through digital registration and payment systems.

Ms Claire Courteille-Mulder, Director, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia said that throughout the region, the most vulnerable groups of people such as workers in informal employment, women, children and young persons, were the hardest hit by the epidemic and found it the most difficult to get back to some sense of normality. She stressed the positive role that social protection can play to stimulate the economy and facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy.

Ms Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF Representative to China closed the event. According to her, the experience in China showed the irreplaceable role played by social security in promoting inclusivity and cohesion in society and in leaving no one behind. She indicated that the investment in social security needs to be sustained and called for more coherent, resilient and robust social protection systems.

The online dialogue included 8 panels and gathered about 100 national and provincial government officials, representatives from social partners, civil society and UN agencies in China, both in the region and internationally.

The policy dialogue is the first of a series of events planned under the UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19 and under the leadership of the UNRC in China. UNDP, UNICEF and ILO were the hosts of the dialogue, in partnership with the technical ministries, the MCA and MOHRSS.

Access to the Report Social protection responses to COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific: The story so far and future considerations.