Project Name Enhancing ADB’s Support for Social Protection to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Project Number 52012-001
Country / Economy Regional
Cook Islands
Micronesia, Federated States of
Kyrgyz Republic
Korea, Republic of
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Papua New Guinea
China, People's Republic of
Marshall Islands
Solomon Islands
Sri Lanka
Viet Nam
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 9534-REG: Enhancing ADB's Support for Social Protection to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 2.00 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Sector / Subsector

Education / Education sector development - social protection initiatives - Technical and vocational education and training

Finance / Insurance and contractual savings

Health / Health insurance and subsidized health programs

Public sector management / Social protection initiatives

Gender Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The proposed knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will strengthen the implementation of recommendations of the Midterm Review of Strategy 2020 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the forthcoming Strategy 2030, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The support to developing member countries (DMCs) will include (i) developing ADB investments in social protection; (ii) cultivating leadership and knowledge in social protection through cross-sector and thematic learning programs, policy dialogue, and a regional knowledge exchange platform for DMC representatives and development partners; and (iii) updating the Social Protection Indicator (SPI) in Asia and the Pacific.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, social protection has become a key development priority for reducing poverty, vulnerability, and income inequality, as well as for promoting inclusive growth. The financial crisis of the 1990s led to an increased interest in social protectiona trend that continued as a result of the global financial crisis in 2008, rising energy and food prices, and heightened risk of climate-related disasters. These global challenges coincided with increased levels of inequality both within and across countries, and greater constraints on governments to finance social expenditure while grappling with the challenges of youth unemployment and aging populations.

ADB's Midterm Review of Strategy 2020 and the Social Protection Operational Plan, 20142016 reconfirmed that social protection is an important instrument to reduce poverty and inequality and to improve the productive capacity of individuals, thereby contributing to inclusive, equitable, resilient, and sustainable economic growth in Asia and the Pacific. Social protection is the third pillar of ADB's inclusive economic growth agenda, and the lack of access to effective and sustainable social protection systems is a contributing factor to vulnerability in the region. ADB's forthcoming Strategy 2030 underlines the importance of social protection and identifies it as a key component in the operational priority to address remaining poverty and reduce inequalities. This is in line with the globally agreed SDGs, which have specific targets related to the expansion of social protection systems.

DMCs have taken steps to improve social protection programs, including expanding coverage and benefit size, but these remain inadequate. The initial ADB study on financing social protection to achieve SDG targets 1.3 and 8.5 revealed large financing gaps and the need for DMCs to increase their budget allocations on average by 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) for lower middle-income countries and by about 2% of GDP for upper middle-income countries to enable adequate social protection coverage and benefits. ADB's SPI has shown that DMCs spend on average less than 3.6% of their GDP for social protection, compared to target expenditure levels of 5.0%, to achieve the goals of basic social protection programs, including contributory social insurance (pension, health insurance, and other types of insurance) and noncontributory social assistance (cash and in-kind transfers), and active labor market programs such as targeted technical vocational programs and cash-for-work programs.

Financing constraints in DMCs are compounded by the fragmentation of social protection systems across line agencies within the DMCs. Their capacity to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate social protection programs tends to be limited. DMC governments increasingly recognize the need to improve the design and delivery of social protection to better target disadvantaged and marginalized groups. Innovations in social insurance, social assistance, and labor market programs are emerging, but adequate support for human resources and accountability procedures is lacking.

Monitoring and evaluation systems are also essential to provide information about how well programs are working so that improvements can be made over time. To provide governments with policy-relevant information on social protection systems, ADB and its partners developed the SPI in 2005 and will continue assessing social protection systems in Asia and Pacific through the SPI which provides information on 38 countries in the region up to 2020 as part of the implementation of the Social Protection Operational Plan.

The SDTG has implemented TA programs to strengthen DMCs' capacity to monitor country expenditure and beneficiaries of social protection, assess the use of information and communication technology for delivering social assistance, and evaluate the financial gaps for expanding social protection to achieve the SDGs. However, financing, capacity building, advocacy, and partnerships to support the development of social protection systems in DMCs are still insufficient. These factors result in limited investments in social protection programs in the DMCs, leading to low social protection coverage and benefits across Asia and the Pacific, and the persistence of poor and vulnerable populations, especially among women, in Asia and the Pacific.

Given the remaining challenges as well as opportunities with increasing DMC uptake of social protection, and lessons from previous TA projects implemented, the proposed TA will aim to develop ADB investments in social protection; cultivate leadership and knowledge in social protection; and continue to support the monitoring of social protection programming and spending in Asia and the Pacific with the SPI.


Social protection coverage and benefits in Asia and the Pacific improved

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

Social protection investments in selected DMCs increased

Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Capacity to design, implement, expand, and monitor social protection programs improved

Knowledge sharing and partnerships on social protection strengthened

ADB's SPI updated

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Output 1: Capacity to design, implement, expand, and monitor social protection programs improved. The TA aimed to provide support to at least 6 ADB social protection projects under this output by 2021. To date, 8 initiatives have been supported: (i) review of draft laws on private pension funds and individual contributions to pension schemes in Azerbaijan; (ii) strategic scoping study on unification of social allowances and targeted social assistance programs in Azerbaijan; (iii) review of the Benazir Income Support Programme and other social protection schemes in Pakistan; (iv) supplemental baseline survey, impact evaluation endline survey and preparation of knowledge product on the graduation approach pilot in the Philippines; (v) scoping for elderly care related services and human resources for elderly care projects in the People's Republic of China (PRC); (vi) review of social protection programs to inform the development of the country partnership strategy in Uzbekistan; (vii) develop artificial intelligence based analytical system for social services in Armenia; and (viii) study on financial inclusion and social protection of older people in age-friendly urban settings in PRC.

Output 2: Knowledge sharing and partnerships on social protection strengthened. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been engaged in October 2020 to help develop and maintain an online community of social protection practitioners and advocates in the region to strengthen and sustain the network created from the Asia-Pacific Social Protection Week 2019 held in Manila, Philippines. To date, the online community has been set up, bi-weekly announcements of materials and events on social protection have been released to members, and 4 webinars were delivered: (i) Social Protection for Economic Inclusion: Adapting the Graduation Approach in Asia and the Pacific have been organized, (ii) Emerging Practice on Coverage and Inclusion of Migrant Workers in Social Protection Systems in Asia-Pacific during COVID-19; (iii) Aging and Disability: Delivering Effective Social Protection; and (iv) Role of Social Protection during COVID-19 Crisis and Recovery in Asia and the Pacific. The initial collaboration wrapped up on 31 March 2022 after a three-month no-cost extension.

Output 3: ADB's Social Protection Indicator updated. The collection of social protection data from 42 countries (28 Asia and 14 Pacific) for the updating of 2018 Social Protection Indicator (SPI) data is ongoing. The main obstacle in the 2018 SPI update are the country lockdowns, which prohibited the movements of national consultants to collect and validate the social protection data. SPI country reports are currently being finalized and preparation of regional reports is ongoing.

Geographical Location Armenia - Nation-wide; Azerbaijan - Nation-wide; Bangladesh - Nation-wide; Bhutan - Nation-wide; Cambodia - Nation-wide; China - Nation-wide; Cook Islands - Nation-wide; Fiji - Nation-wide; Georgia - Nation-wide; Indonesia - Nation-wide; Kiribati - Nation-wide; Korea, Republic of - Nation-wide; Kyrgyz Republic - Nation-wide; Lao People's Democratic Republic - Nation-wide; Malaysia - Nation-wide; Maldives - Nation-wide; Marshall Islands - Nation-wide; Micronesia, Federated States of - Nation-wide; Mongolia - Nation-wide; Myanmar - Nation-wide; Nauru - Nation-wide; Nepal - Nation-wide; Pakistan - Nation-wide; Palau - Nation-wide; Papua New Guinea - Nation-wide; Philippines - Nation-wide; Samoa - Nation-wide; Singapore - Nation-wide; Solomon Islands - Nation-wide; Sri Lanka - Nation-wide; Tajikistan - Nation-wide; Thailand - Nation-wide; Timor-Leste - Nation-wide; Tonga - Nation-wide; Uzbekistan - Nation-wide; Vanuatu - Nation-wide; Viet Nam - Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services ADB will hire individual consultants and/or resource persons directly or through a firm in accordance with the ADB Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time)
Procurement not applicable
Responsible ADB Officer Babajanian, Babken
Responsible ADB Department Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Sector Office (SG-HSD)
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
Concept Clearance 13 Apr 2018
Fact Finding -
Approval 19 Jun 2018
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 05 Sep 2022

TA 9534-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
19 Jun 2018 - 19 Jun 2018 31 Dec 2021 18 Jun 2024 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
2,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2,000,000.00 28 Feb 2024 1,542,494.69
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