The project “Building a sustainable social protection response to the COVID-19 crisis in Myanmar” aims to support the national government in responding efficiently to the current and future crises, by strengthening the shock-responsiveness and financial sustainability of their social protection system. The purpose is to protect workers and households from falling further into poverty, particularly in times of crisis as well as supporting economic recovery through strengthening human capital. 

The project is expected to deliver results in several complementary areas, by supporting the development of more robust financing of the social security system, setting the foundations for an unemployment insurance scheme, transferring knowledge and building national capacity and strengthening dialogue with relevant stakeholders towards policy development. 

The activities implemented through the project are complemented by the Japan government-funded Bolstering Unemployment Insurance and Labour Market Policy Development in Myanmar (BUILD) project, which focus on strengthening the linkages between unemployment insurance and the existing Active Labour Market Policies (ALMP) measures in Myanmar.  

Results achieved in 2020-22 

  • The project successfully carried out several research projects and published seven technical reports, which are essential contributions to the implementation and development of an effective unemployment insurance system and strengthening the existing social protection schemes in the country, particularly in response to future crises. The studies analised how unemployment insurance and other forms of employment protection could contribute to enhancing the resilience of workers and safeguarding them from the negative impact of pandemics, natural disasters, economic restructuring and resource constraints. These technical reports will also directly contribute to comprehensive social security reforms, the formulation and implementation of an unemployment insurance scheme, and the development of relevant social protection policies and regulations. 
  • The project developed training packages and knowledge products for awareness raising and dissemination of knowledge regarding unemployment protection. These efforts will contribute toward improving the tripartite partners’ understanding of the critical role of an effective unemployment insurance system in Myanmar. 
  • Although the project has been implemented under extreme and challenging conditions with access to limited data, it managed to turn crisis into opportunity. The real-time analysis of the crisis development provided valuable information and insights on these impacts. Furthermore, the lessons learnt from Myanmar may be useful for other projects in countries faced with instability and uncertainty. 
  • The project strengthened the partnership and collaboration on social protection between the ILO, social partners and other stakeholders by involving them in project consultations which were being done virtually due to the pandemic.



Mr Simon Brimblecombe, ILO Senior Actuary, 

Mr Ippei Tsuruga, ILO Focal Point on Unemployment insurance, 

Mr Thein Than Htay, ILO National Officer (Social Protection), 

Mr Saw U Ler Moo, ILO National Officer (Unemployment Insurance), 

Video: Understanding employment insurance and active labour market policies

Street food market in Myanmar

Worker transporting heavy baskets in Myanmar