Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific: Poorly Protected

Organization(s): ESCAP
Author: Ermina Sokou, Patrik Andersson, Thérèse Björk
Regions: Asia, Asia-Pacific, Central Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia
Year: 2018
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The Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific lays out new arguments and evidence for the critical and urgent need to increase investment in people, particularly in social protection.

Developing countries in Asia and the Pacific only spend about 3.7 per cent of GDP on social protection, compared to the world average of 11.2 per cent. This under investment is the reason why 60 per cent of the population in the Asia-Pacific region has no protection if they fall ill, have a disability, become unemployed, pregnant or old.

With 1.2 billion people living on than less $3.20 per day, of which 400 million live on less than $1.9 per day, social protection is an essential strategy to tackle poverty and deprivation.

The evidence for increasing the level of investment in people in Asia and the Pacific is overwhelming: around 328 million people would be lifted out of moderate poverty and 52 million would move out of extreme poverty, if countries in the region matched the global averages of spending on education, health and social protection.

Countries in the region do not have to wait to become rich to start investing in people. Even low income and lower-middle income countries can boost social spending, as evidenced by some first movers across the region.

Social Protection and Human Rights