ASEAN to ensure social security for COVID-19 vulnerable groups

Update: June, 11/2020 - 08:47


Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung attends the online ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD) on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Welfare ministers of ASEAN countries have pledged to implement policies towards vulnerable people as well as minimise negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the elderly, women, and especially children.

That was included in a joint statement resulting from an online ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD) on Wednesday. Ten ministers in charge of welfare and social development from ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretary General attended the conference.

The statement emphasised ensuring social security, strengthening the resilience of the poor and vulnerable groups during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, the ministers will also work closely to ensure access to social security and appropriate allocation of resources from public funds for social spending, protect the rights, safety and dignity of people in vulnerable groups. They will also ensure the health and safety of social workers on the frontline in response to the pandemic.

Cross-sector co-operation will be strengthened at national and regional levels. The ministers agreed to develop comprehensive pandemic recovery programmes as well as develop continuous plans and measures to ensure the integration of people with disabilities, be gender responsive and age sensitive, and promote children's participation.

During the online meeting, the ministers shared policies and programmes related to social security and welfare as well as national support for the people, especially for vulnerable groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also proposed recommendations for promoting social security and welfare in the region.

Vietnamese Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung highly appreciated the efforts of Laos and the ASEAN Secretariat in organising the conference.

“It is truly a timely and meaningful initiative that contributes to the implementation of the results of the special online ASEAN and ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 as well as the Joint Statement on the Joint Response of ASEAN before the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.

Dung shared the positive results in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Việt Nam, saying it was from the efforts of the Government and people of Việt Nam in the prevention and response to difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“In particular, the Vietnamese Government has launched an unprecedented package of social security support with a budget of over VNĐ62 trillion (US$2.8 billion) to support different target groups,” Dung said, adding that the package was a comprehensive social security support, demonstrating the Government's humanity policy in always paying attention to people's lives, especially disadvantaged groups including the elderly, the sick, people who have lost income, workers who have lost their jobs or those who do not have stable incomes.

Dung also said that as the long-term economic instability would lead to increased social instability, ASEAN member countries should continue their efforts and strengthen cross-sectoral co-operation at national and regional levels in realising the joint statement as well as promoting social security, responding to crises, disasters and pandemics.

AMMSWD is an initiative proposed by Laos as the current chairman of the meeting and has received support from Việt Nam as the Chair of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community 2020. — VNS