Asian Development Bank, ADB

Session 1A: Inflation and Social Protection

Countries in the region have not been immune from the unprecedented increase in consumer prices (especially of food and fuel) since 2022. Levels of inflation are running at about 10% per annum – a level which has not been observed in decades. In many DMCs, food prices almost doubled. This increase in the cost-of-living has significantly increased the risk of poverty and food insecurity in the region. High inflation also presents a challenge for social protection systems as it erodes the real value of social welfare transfers. Policy makers must grapple with the question of how best to respond using existing and new social protection instruments, especially in the context of limited fiscal space and constrained resources to finance/expand social protection programs. This session helped participants understand the full implications of the cost-of-living crisis from the social protection and labor markets point of view and enhance the understanding of the policy tools and best practices for the social protection policy response to inflation.