The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions across Asia and the Pacific, setting economies back in terms of poverty, inequality, and employment whilst exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities for specific groups. One of the most formidable challenges is that of under coverage of social protection programs. Two important groups in the “missing middle” of coverage include informal sector workers and migrants. Response by governments has led to a significant expansion of existing programs and understanding of the need to strengthen systems going forward. Wendy Walker provided an overview of these dynamics and the efforts by the Asian Development Bank to support governments in the region. Hanindha Vidyasti (G'21) served as moderator.
This event was co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Program, Global Health Initiative, Global Human Development Program, and the M.S. in Global Health Program at Georgetown University in collaboration with the North American Representative Office of the Asian Development Bank.
Wendy Walker is chief of the Social Development Thematic Group at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). She provides technical leadership in social development and social protection, leads multisectoral teams, and facilitates collaboration across sector and technical groups in ADB. Wendy has an M.Phil. from University of Oxford and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
Hanindha Vidyasti (G'21) is a master's degree student in the Global Human Development Program.