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5 Sep 2022

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, The Jakarta Post

Commentary: New report suggests policies & tools for governments to ensure workers remain the engine of economic growth

"The right policies can protect the workers of Asia and the Pacific", 5 September 2022

Most of the 2.1-billion strong workforce in Asia and the Pacific are denied access to decent jobs, health care and social protection but there is an array polices and tools that governments can use to remedy these deficiencies and ensure that the rights and aspirations of these workers and their families are upheld and that they remain the engine of economic growth for the region.
A new report released [...] the Social Outlook for Asia and the Pacific: The Workforce We Need, offers tangible solutions to immediately address alarming trends that both preceded the new coronavirus and were exacerbated by the pandemic. [...]


First, active labor market policies, through life-long learning and skill development, can support a green and just transition into decent employment and improve access to basic opportunities and adequate standards of living. [...]

Second, extending social health protection to all can significantly improve workers’ health, income security and productivity. [...] A focus on primary health care as well as curative health protection is needed, also to support healthy and active ageing. People who are chronically ill or live with a disability must be included in health care strategies. Given the large informal economy across the region, extending social health protection is the key policy instrument for achieving universal health coverage in our region.

Third, building on the ESCAP Social Protection Simulator, a basic package of universal child, old age and disability social protection schemes, set at global average benefit levels, would slash poverty in our region by half. [...]