Social Protection and Labor
Social protection is central to ADB's inclusive growth agenda. ADB defines social protection as a "set of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labor markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and interruption/loss of income."
Social assistance programs help ensure income security and access to basic services for poor and vulnerable populations. Key sectors that may serve as entry points for social assistance programs include education, finance, health and public sector management.
Social assistance interventions may include:
- Cash transfers (conditional and unconditional)
- Social pensions
- In-kind transfers, such as food-for-work, school feeding programs, etc.
- Asset transfers
Social insurance programs mitigate risks by providing income support in the event of illness, disability, work injury, maternity, unemployment, old age, and death. Key sectors that may serve as entry points for strengthening sustainable social insurance schemes include financial sector development, health, and public sector management.
Social insurance programs may include:
- Pensions, social security systems, provident funds
- Health insurance
- Micro-insurance, small-farmer agricultural insurance, weather index-based crop insurance
- Unemployment insurance
Labor Market Programs
Labor market programs support the development of job-relevant skills and workers' retraining, particularly the low-skilled and marginalized. They also facilitate employment. Key sectors that may serve as entry points for promoting and expanding labor market programs include education and infrastructure (energy, information and communication technology, water, and transport).
Labor market programs may include:
- Active labor market policies and programs (pre-employment training, skills development and upgrading, public works, matching supply and demand for labor)
- Passive labor market policies and programs (compliance with core labor standards, job security provisions, improving working conditions)
In the past decade, social protection has become a key instrument of public policy in many developing countries in Asia and the Pacific region.