The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated Asia-Pacific’s challenges in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly in areas related to social development. Major reasons for these challenges are the predominance of informal jobs, the limited access to affordable healthcare and the low coverage of social protection. Ongoing and emerging global megatrends, including climate change, rising inequalities, population ageing and digitalization, among others, are placing additional and disproportional burden on people in vulnerable situations. While most megatrends offer opportunities for socioeconomic advancement, the absence of requisite policies may instead challenge development gains and leave many behind.
Against this background, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is dedicating its upcoming flagship publication, Social Outlook 2022, to the need for building a healthy, protected and productive workforce. The Report is structured around three aspects of building a resilient workforce: (i) universal social protection; (ii) universal healthcare; and (iii) decent employment. The Report is based on a variety of empirical methods that analyze publicly available and internationally comparable data along with specialized analysis for selected countries with household income and expenditure surveys and labour force surveys.
The Report makes the case for renewing the social contract with effective policies for social protection, healthcare and active labour market policies. It highlights that such a workforce can drive inclusive and sustainable social development in Asia and the Pacific without leaving anyone behind.
The primary objective of this Expert Group Meeting (EGM) is to review the draft Social Outlook 2022 with a view to strengthen analytical components, highlight findings and messages, and sharpen policy recommendations. To collect relevant feedback, prominent experts in the fields of social protection, health, labour and beyond, have been invited to participate and share their valuable views.
The EGM also contributed to widening the knowledge base on the topics analyzed, with specific emphasis for Asia and the Pacific, and identifying good practices and lessons learned in analyzing the three core aspects of building a resilient workforce in Asia-Pacific.
Organization and Participation
The EGM drew participation from experts in academia, think-thanks, research institution, the United Nations system entities and governments. It was organized virtually from 28 to 30 June 2022, through Zoom, with various sessions dedicated to specific topics. The meeting was conducted in English. The programme for each session is provided in the next tab.