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Statement by Counsellor YAO Shaojun at the Side Event on Social Protection Co-hosted by China and Egypt

2018/02/01

Your Excellency Minister Ghada Waly,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Social Protection is an important aspect of social development. It is a safety net for livelihood and a stabilizer of society. Social Protection is closely linked with people’s well-being and national stability, and is of great significance for the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Based on China’s experience of establishing and improving its own social protection system, I consider the following principles as crucial:

The first is to have a people-centered development philosophy. Improving people’s welfare and promoting people’s all-round development should be made the ultimate goal of our work. Countries need to put social protection high on their economic and social development agenda, and make relentless efforts to realize people’s aspirations for a better life.

The second is to be guided by a vision of coordinated and shared development. The social protection system needs to be holistically coordinated, jointly contributed and shared by all. By making more and more coherent arrangements in urban and rural areas and among different regions, we can build a more coordinated and sustainable social protection system that allows the entire population to benefit equally from the dividends of development.

The third is to tailored to its own national condition. When it comes to social protection, there is no such thing as a “perfect model” or “one size fits all”. Countries need to, in accordance with its economic and social development status, political system, historical and cultural backgrounds etc, establish and improve its own social protection system that tailored to its national conditions.

The fourth is to foster a sense of reform and innovation. In the process of improving social protection system, countries need to be constantly drawing lessons, reforming and innovating, and gradually establish a full-fledged social protection system that enjoys a wide coverage, provides quality benefits and good services.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to social protection and follows the policy of “providing universal and multi-tiered coverage, and ensuring basic and sustainable benefits”. We have been vigorously developing our social protection system, constantly expanding its coverage, and steadily raising all benefits. Our public service system is now reinforced and our social protection achievements are remarkable. In November 2016, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) granted the Chinese Government the Social Security Outstanding Achievement Award, which is high praise of the international community on China’s social security undertakings.

Currently, China has established a social protection system that covers the world’s largest population, one that has expanded its coverage from urban to rural areas, from state-owned enterprises to all businesses, from the employed to the unemployed. As we speak, over 900 million Chinese are covered by social pension insurance; 1.35 billion Chinese are covered by basic medical insurance. To further expand the coverage, the Chinese Government launched the “Universal Coverage Campaign”, according to which, everyone will enjoy basic social protection by 2020

China has also been using information technology such as the internet and Big Data to build its capacity of social protection public services. We are promoting electronic social protection, streamlining service procedures, raising service efficiency and quality, and expanding public services outreach to local communities, townships and villages. An accessible public services system of social protection that covers both urban and rural areas has taken shape, providing strong support for universal, quality and efficient social protection services for everyone.

There are still difficulties and challenges facing China’s social protection system, despite our rapid progress. Accelerated aging, frequent migration of workers, and raised awareness for rights and benefits have put forward higher requirements for our social protection services.

In his Report at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping proposed to strengthen the social protection system. “We will act on the policy requirements to help those most in need, to build a tightly woven safety net, and to build the necessary institutions, as we work to develop a sustainable multi-tiered social protection system that covers the entire population in both urban and rural areas, with clearly defined rights and responsibilities, and support that hits the right level. We will improve the basic pension schemes for urban employees and for rural and non-working urban residents, and quickly bring pension schemes under national unified management. We will improve the unified systems of basic medical insurance and serious disease insurance for rural and non-working urban residents, and improve unemployment insurance and work-related injury insurance. We will establish a unified national platform for social protection public services. We will promote the coordinated development of the social assistance systems for urban and rural residents, and improve the subsistence allowances system. We will improve our systems for social assistance, social welfare, charity, and entitled groups’ benefits and services. We will improve the system for supporting and caring for children, women, and elderly people left behind in rural areas.” These words has charted our course to further improve our social protection system.

The Chinese Government will act on that spirit with concrete steps to expand social protection coverage, expedite institution building and improve service quality, so as to leave no one behind in our implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and make our people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness and security grow stronger.

Thank you! You are most welcome to raise questions later.

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