The role of social protection during COVID-19 crisis and recovery in Asia and the Pacific


Time: 4pm Manila (GMT +8), 8am London (GMT)

The widespread social and economic strain imposed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues to affect countries around the world. Countries in Asia and the Pacific have been particularly hit hard and the effects of the pandemic stand to undo progress made in alleviating poverty and improving well-being in the region. Social protection systems play a critical role in mitigating risks and supporting vulnerable groups through these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a social protection response globally of previously unseen magnitude, but countries still struggle to provide adequate support to their citizens as the pandemic continues to unfold. COVID-19 has further exposed gaps and challenges in the social protection landscape across countries, providing an important opportunity for policy makers to re-evaluate investments and strategies.
This webinar shared the results of two studies to better appreciate the role of social protection during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. 

  • In a first study, COVID-19 and Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific: Projected Costs for 2020–2030, a costing exercise is undertaken for 30 countries in Asia and the Pacific to estimate social protection costs through various stages of the pandemic, projected up to the remaining duration for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (2030).
  • A Crisis Like No Other: COVID-19 and Labor Markets in Southeast Asia, the second study examines how COVID-19 has affected labor markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam since the beginning of the pandemic. It aims to help policy makers identify priorities, constraints, and opportunities for developing and implementing effective labor market strategies during the economic recovery and beyond. [See also news release here].

In sharing these results, the webinar intended to draw attention to the significance of and the necessary upfront planning required to develop robust social protection systems in Asia and the Pacific, in light of the foreseeable demand for protection for significantly large sections of the population in the future. The webinar also aimed to kickstart brainstorming towards this goal in Asia and the Pacific and bring together relevant stakeholders in the region to collaboratively plot a way forward.


Arthur van de Meerendonk, Senior Consultant (Social Protection Financing), Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department (SDCC), ADB

Anand Ramesh Kumar, Consultant SDCC (Social Protection), SDCC, ADB

Sameer Khatiwada, Social Sector Specialist (ICT), Southeast Asia Department, ADB


Christian Viegelahn, Senior Economist, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Sehalattin Selsah Pasali, Social Affairs Officer, UNESCAP


Camila Pereira, Researcher, IPC-IG


This webinar is part of the Asia-Pacific Social Protection Series. Become a member of the Online Community to receive news, publications and relevant content about social protection in the region.