ilo chief calls out asia pacific to restructure its social safety net
Asia – Pacific – Ongoing global pandemic has re-iterated the regretful condition of workers and labor market in Asia – Pacific region. This should be a wake up call for the regional countries to bolster their social safety nets, said the head of UN labor agency, Guy Ryder. The director general of ILO (International Labor Organization) underlined that now is the need to bring in “much more robust social protection” in the region. He added that Asia – Pacific region is still reeling in with closed businesses and border restrictions two years into the pandemic that is inflicting deep damage to livelihoods across the region.
“The failure of some to do that or not to do so adequately, I think, has been part of the problem of dealing and having the necessary resilience to deal with the COVID pandemic,” Ryder said.
He added that while he would not be commenting on public health situation of countries and judge their faring during pandemic, he still believed that regional countries need to buckle up and prepare themselves for any future health or other crises.
Though the number of deaths due to pandemic in Asia – Pacific are far less as compared to those in Western countries, the continuing border restrictions and business and trade constraints are bearing heavily on socio – economic conditions.
“Where you have restrictions in place, where you have situations in which people cannot get to work, cannot do their jobs, at all or in the normal way, then clearly you have to have compensatory measures in place to support the income of working people, to support enterprises,” said the chief of the UN labour agency.
It is to be noted that multiple Asia-Pacific countries splurge less than 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on social protection, excluding healthcare, according to a report by ILO in 2020. This is far below the global average that stands at 11 per cent.