Social Protection System Must Serve as Main Investment in Human Capital
YEREVAN, 31 October 2018 – An unprecedented large-scale international conference was launched in Yerevan today, dedicated to giving new meaning to the role of social protection in the poverty reduction and sustainable development agenda. “Leaving No One Behind in Armenia: The Role of Social Protection in the Sustainable Development Agenda” opened with speeches by UN Resident Representative Shombi Sharp, UNICEF Armenia Representative Tanja Radocaj, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia Sylvie Bossoutrot, and Armenian Association of Social Workers President Mira Antonyan.
“The hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is an important and suitable occasion to give new meaning to the role of social protection in the poverty reduction agenda. Armenia must have a social system that will include all the necessary services based on collaboration between government structures, evaluating people’s needs in order to target the support provided,” noted RA Acting Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Mane Tandilyan.
“Poverty often robs people of their opportunities, hope, dignity, and confidence in their abilities. But when this also happens to children, it does not just impact their lives, it endangers the future of that community and society as a whole,” stated UNICEF Armenia Representative Tanja Radocaj. “Children growing up today cannot wait for the results of economic development programmes. Their bodies, brains, abilities and life ambitions are developing today, and they need our support now. Although it will not be possible to reduce poverty considerably in one night, it is possible to decrease the impact of poverty on children through smart public policy and public-private partnerships.”
The conference will last three days with speeches by representatives of the RA Government and more than 20 leading experts from Europe and USA, as well as opportunities to participate in various plenary discussions.
“Alongside the transformation that technology is bringing to our lifestyle, work and social life, Armenia must encourage investments in human capital. The World Bank recently presented the Human Capital Index, which measures the potential expected from newborns 18 years later considering the challenges that they face in the country in the areas of education, healthcare and social protection. Armenia occupies 78th place among 157 countries and has 0.57 points. This means that children end up fulfilling 57 percent of their potential even if they are provided the education and healthcare services to which they are entitled,” said World Bank Country Manager for Armenia Sylvie Bossoutrot.
“This year, we mark the 25th anniversary of the social worker institution and it is more important than ever to consider the professional knowledge and working conditions of social workers. We must understand whether their workload, mandate and the resources they possess are balanced enough to provide citizens with targeted support. We work with people who suffer from poverty that is not just material in nature, including people who have been ingrained with a culture of poverty as a result of the delays in the poverty reduction policy over all these years,” noted Armenian Association of Social Workers President Mira Antonyan. “Social services and the gradual professionalization of specialists is the cornerstone of reforms in this sector. I hope that we will be able in the near future to make this a reality and provide people with quality services so that they can act as self-sufficient, active citizens.”
The conference ended on 2 November at 12:30 p.m. with a closing speech by RA Acting Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Mane Tandilyan. The closing ceremony included a presentation of the action plan of the next steps for the development of the social protection system.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.