Social Protection in ASEAN: Challenges and Initiatives for Post-2015 Vision
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is engaged in framing a post- 2015 vision for social protection in ASEAN which would facilitate productive ageing. This paper assesses existing social protection systems in ASEAN and suggests initiatives which policymakers and other stakeholders could consider for progressing towards a more robust social protection system. The paper argues that progressing towards the post-2015 vision of social protection will require greater coordination between ASEAN’s economic and social sector groups, as weak social protection systems existing today will increasingly constrain future economic growth. ASEAN as a group will also need to lessen its reliance on outside donors for funding and expertise. The specific initiatives suggested for facilitating productive ageing in ASEAN are (i) creating an ASEAN social protection forum for developing more robust databases, encouraging communication and indigenous research, and rendering technical assistance to members; (ii) pursuing measures to reduce expenditure needs of the elderly, including well-designed discount systems for public amenities and basic needs; (iii) giving greater priority to cross-border worker agreements to improve their living conditions, and encourage totalization agreements; and (iv) enhancing professionalism and systemic perspectives.