Written by, H.E Samheng Boros
Every Individual has a right to live with dignity and Social Protections ensure this. It is a crucial tool for combating poverty and fostering inclusivity, in addition to being a powerful force for reducing inequality in the world. It has been made abundantly evident by COVID-19 that social protection is not an expenditure but rather an investment in people.
It not only helped in stopping families from spiralling into deep poverty and deprivation, but it also kept the economy from going into a worse recession. This was due to the fact that it prevented households from falling into financial crisis. It offers a more solid platform for an economic recovery that is more robust, inclusive, and dynamic.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the worst economic crash since 1929. The pandemic and measures forced 115 million more people into extreme poverty.
Researchers are surprised to find that 61% of the worldwide workforce is informal or precarious and lacks social protection. 55% of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, lack social security, while 26% are merely protected against economic insecurity.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) World Social Security Report estimates that low-income countries would need about USD $78 billion to provide social protection, including healthcare, for 711 million people.
The Royal Government of Cambodia and other organisations are working together to improve the social protection system and help Cambodia’s economy get back on its feet. In addition, the Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to boosting cash assistance transfers to the most vulnerable families in the Kingdom and investing from its national budget. This is an immediate response to the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Royal Government of Cambodia recognizes non-governmental organisations, development partners, and the private sector as contributing to peace, political stability, security, social order, and economic and social development to eliminate disparity.
So far, cash transfers have reached 700,000 vulnerable households since the COVID19 pandemic and The Royal Government of Cambodia has spent 2,613 billion Riel(US$653 million), on its cash transfer programme to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Royal Government of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNDP, assisted 2,400 businesses in going online and utilising the power of alternative media networks in order to combat the COVID-19 information pandemic, reduce social stigma, and promote social cohesion.
This is an extraordinary achievement by the Royal Government of Cambodia and organisations like UNDP to provide social protection for families affected by the pandemic and financial hardship. From rapid and digitalized on-demand registration of poor households at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to technical support for strengthening targeting and feedback mechanisms to ensure social assistance reaches those who need it most, UNDP has helped strengthen Cambodia’s social protection system.
The Royal Government of Cambodia and UNDP are developing the Graduation-Based Social Protection Model, which aims to strengthen the productive capacity of targeted households for supporting their exit from poverty and enhancing their resilience against future shocks, also conducting policy reflection and analysis on the extension of social protection to the informal sector and senior citizens.
In collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia, a large number of organisations like UNDP are working toward the common goal of bettering Cambodia’s future. This demonstrates that the participation of non-governmental institutions is required for the continued socioeconomic growth of the country. This is vital for Cambodia’s “Together for a better future” initiative.
H.E Samheng Boros is Minister attached to the Prime Minister , Royal Government of Cambodia and Chairman of National Social Assistance Fund Board (NSAF) and Secretary of State at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY).