The 6th ASEAN GO-NGO Forum held in Bangkok, Thailand on the 20th of September had nine participating ASEAN member countries discussing about establishing the Social Protection Floor within ASEAN. There was a two day intensive preparatory workshop organised by the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) with guest speakers from United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).The recommendations resulting from this meeting were meaningful and conclusive towards progressively attaining the Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPFI) within each member state’s policy making arena.
The SPFI is an initiative aimed towards ensuring services and transfers to promote social protection as a tool for development and poverty eradication. States present acknowledged that everyone, as a member of the society, is entitled to equal access to social protection such as healthcare services among many others. It was further agreed upon that social protection is necessary to reduce the vulnerabilities of the disadvantaged groups in our societies.
In conclusion, there was consensus on the need to set up or strengthen existing social safety nets to protect people from falling through the nets via establishing a social protection floor. Some implementation procedures recommended included working towards ratifying the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); setting up consultative councils within each member state and ASEAN and working towards an ASEAN level declaration on establishing the SPFI within ASEAN.
The International Council on Social Welfare, a longstanding partner of the ASEAN GO NGO Forum, together with the ASEAN Secretariat and host country (Thailand), received feedback on a successful meeting and witnessed encouraging efforts by all parties towards establishing the SPFI.
MARUAH is a member of ICSW and MARUAH’s President, Braema Mathiaparanam, is the ICSW Regional President of Southeast Asia and Pacific.