An Indonesian proverb says that a firm tree does not fear the storm. After the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/98, Asian economies recovered with strong economic growth (on average 4.2% annually), which over the past decade has contributed to a decline in “absolute poverty”–here defined as those with incomes of less than $2 per day. The share of people living in poverty fell from over half to a third of Asia’s population, with large reductions especially in China, Indonesia and Viet Nam. Greater prosperity has also contributed to lower fertility rates and higher life expectancy.

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Social protection has emerged as a major new focus in efforts to reduce poverty and promote human capital accumulation around the world. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to end poverty in all its forms by expanding social protection for all, with SDG Target 1.3 aiming to ‘implement nationally appropriate social protection systems’ towards that objective.

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OPINION: Countries in ASEAN have achieved strong economic growth and substantially reduced poverty over the past 20 years. Deep political commitment to effective policies has lifted over 100 million people out of poverty since 2000. ASEAN as a whole has been a standout success story in its overall development. Yet on average, education, skill development and health indicators are below what is expected given ASEAN’s income levels. Protecting ASEAN’s impressive gains over the past two decades will require prioritizing investments in people — that is, human capital.

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Increasingly, social protection is considered among the most effective tools to combat poverty. The Social Protection Week 2019: Securing the Future of the Region, organised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), aims to facilitate the sharing of plans of reducing poverty, inequality and vulnerability among the region’s poor.

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OPINION: Asia and the Pacific is lauded globally for its rapid economic growth over recent decades and has lifted 1.1 billion people out of extreme poverty since 1990. Nevertheless, the region continues to have the largest number of poor people in the world.

The region remains far from achieving a decent life for all its people. High economic growth has not translated into sufficient reduction in poverty in many countries, and the rising risks to growth over the coming years will only exacerbate the challenge.

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Paternity leave is fast becoming a hot topic in Southeast Asia. Among other countries in the region, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia have each instituted paternity leave policies of varying durations, wage replacement rates, funding sources and eligibility requirements. International interest in paternity leave has also seen a number of corporations operating in Southeast Asia develop their own paternity leave policies. The benefits of paternity leave extend to parents, children and business.

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The Indian law offers benefits to female employees with its Maternity Benefit Act. According to the Act, female workers are entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks of maternity leave. Out of these 26 weeks, eight weeks leave is post-natal leave. A woman with already two or more children is entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave.

It may be noted that the Maternity Benefit Act came into being in 1961. However, it was amended in 2017. Prior to the amendment, female employees got 12 weeks of maternity leave which included six weeks of post-natal leaves.

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A new scheme to provide affordable housing to low income people in Cyprus will soon change the structure of the housing market, which is currently targeting middle and high income people, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides told the state radio on Monday. Petrides unveiled the scheme on Friday, saying it is based on the needs of young people at the start of the creation of a family and also of low income families.

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OPINION: Designing of effective and well-managed safety net programmes are dependent on various issues, which again vary from country to country.

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As such, the aim of this study is to assess the potential of using the SSA system to respond to floods in the immediate future (taking a two-year timeframe). The Terms of Reference provided by UNICEF for this study specified that the scope of the research would not examine the role of the SSA system in responding to shocks more broadly, nor its role over a longer timeframe.

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