Workshop on extending social protection to the informal sector held in Jakarta (September 2017)
The European Union Social Protection Systems Project teamed up with BAPPENAS, Indonesia’s national planning ministry, for a workshop on informality in Jakarta on 20 September. Some 45 individuals from government, development partners and research institutions were present to discuss how best to extend coverage of social protection among Indonesia’s informal sector, which accounts for at least 60% of the workforce. The EU-SPS presented on the dynamics of informality at an individual level while Dr Ruri Setyonaluri from the University of Indonesia examined the topic from the perspective of the firm. Discussants from BAPPENAS, BPJS Labour and the University of Indonesia ensured a lively and rich debate followed these presentations, which identified clear policy lessons and paths for further research.
Experts’ Meeting on pro-poor Universal Health Coverage (June 2017)
In the context of the EU Social Protection Systems Programme, the OECD Development Centre has initiated research on the implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) reforms in developing countries, and the extent to which these have supported poverty reduction efforts. On 23 June an Experts’ Meeting brought together health and social protection specialists to discuss the conceptual and policy dimensions of UHC and equity, as well as the UHC-social protection nexus. The feedback and conclusions will feed into the research and its country case studies. The report will highlight how countries have navigated complex trade-offs between extending coverage along the three dimensions of population, service and financial coverage, how these trade-offs relate to wider policy trade-offs from a social protection perspective, and what the “net effect” of these different trade-offs is on poverty reduction and equity objectives.
Webinar on Social Protection in East Africa (June 2017)
On 22 June 2017, the EU-SPS gave a webinar presentation at socialprotection.org, the world’s foremost online social protection community on the report Social Protection in East Africa – Harnessing the Future. Flora Myamba, a social protection expert currently supporting the Tanzanian government, was the discussant while Fabio Veras, a researcher at the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, moderated. Some 80 people from around the world registered for the webinar, which generated a wide-ranging discussion. In particular, participants raised issues around governance, migration, inequality and the targeting of social assistance benefits, all of which are important pieces of the jigsaw for social protection planners as they look to the future. The recording and presentation are available here.
The EU-SPS debates the Future of Social Protection (June 2017)
The EU-SPS team hosted a debate on the Future of Social Protection at the European Development Days in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute. While social protection has gained considerable traction over the past decade as a means to reduce poverty and accelerate human development, there are a number of challenges confronting the expansion of social protection, as well as the process of system building. The debate focused in particular on Africa and discussed how social protection systems there are likely to evolve in the coming decades. Among the challenges that loom large are climate change and the effect it will have on poverty and vulnerability, economies and labour markets that remain largely informal, demographic pressures which require ever more jobs to be created, and the perennial question of sustainable financing. The panel had two objectives: to think ahead to identify the key challenges, and to discuss what we can be done today, in the process of system-building, to put social protection on a sustainable, long-term footing. A podcast of the session is available here.
Workshop on long-term social protection financing in Ethiopia (May 2017)
A research collaboration on the long-term financing of social protection between Ethiopia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the EU-SPS held its first workshop in Addis Ababa on 31 May. The event was attended by representatives of more than a dozen institutions including government ministries, local NGOs and international development partners, all active in the social protection sector. Professor Tassew Woldehanna from the Ethiopian Development Research Institute, which is supporting the project, presented an initial mapping of social protection spending, including expenditure by Ministries, social security agencies and development partners. Once this mapping is complete and the results validated by different stakeholders, the next stage of the collaboration will be to devise different scenarios for the implementation of Ethiopia’s national social protection strategy, a landmark document which not only calls for an expansion of social protection but also requires that spending be entirely financed domestically as Ethiopia progresses towards middle-income status.
Namibia establishes a roadmap for social protection system reform (May 2017)
A seminar organized jointly by the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, the EU-SPS and UNICEF was held in Windhoek from 31 May – 2 June. The meeting provided a platform for government officials, social protection experts and civil society organizations to exchange views on the remaining gaps of the current social protection system and agree on a roadmap for reform. Discussions focused on developing governance arrangements, strengthening coordination between different ministries and improving delivery and support mechanisms (such as national ID and a consolidated beneficiary registry). Gaps regarding the evidence-base were also highlighted which will inform a social protection system assessment which is currently underway. The Honourable Minister Kameeta expressed his appreciation for the debates and outcomes of the seminar, acknowledging the importance of EU-SPS support.
Social protection reform discussed in Togo (May 2017)
A diagnostic using the Social Protection Policy Options Tool has been underway in Togo since the end of 2016 in partnership with the ILO. Preliminary results of this analysis were presented in a workshop in Lomé. The workshop brought together representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Social Action, as well as employer and employee unions, and donor partners. The discussion focused on the coverage and adequacy of existing social protection programmes. Participants discussed policy options for the extension of social protection which will be further evaluated and costed in the next phase of the analysis. The results will inform the Government’s new Social Protection Strategy.
New EU-SPS publication on social protection in East Africa launched at the meeting of the African Union’s Specialized Technical Committee on Social Development, Labour and Employment in Algeria (April 2017)
The second meeting of the African Union’s Specialized Technical Committee on Social Development, Labour and Employment was held in Algiers from 24-28 April. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Social Development and Employment: Benefits of the Demographic Dividend for Inclusive Development” and the OECD Development Centre was invited to launch its report “Social Protection in East Africa - Harnessing the Future.” The meeting of the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board was also held on the side lines of the AU meeting.
Training course on monitoring and evaluation for social protection systems delivered in Mozambique (February 2017)
Over the course of the last week of February, the EU-SPS delivered a tailor-made training course on monitoring and evaluation for social protection systems for the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Action (MGCAS) and the Institute for Women, Children and Social Action (INAS) in Maputo. The course was co-designed and delivered by trainers from the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth. It was met with a lot of enthusiasm by the participants who are currently working on developing the monitoring and evaluation architecture for Mozambique’s social protection strategy.
Policy Options Workshop held in the Kyrgyz Republic (November 2016)
A policy options workshop was held in Bishkek in November 2017 to discuss the preliminary findings of the Social Protection System Review (SPSR) for the Kyrgyz Republic. The workshop brought together officials from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and various line ministries, as well as researchers from CASE-Kyrgyzstan and other think tanks active on social protection. Donor partners and civil society representatives also engaged in a lively discussion about policy responses to the challenges identified in the SPSR. The workshop concluded with a brainstorming about mechanisms for promoting the systematisation of social protection. These ideas will feed into the final SPSR, which is to be published in mid-2017.
To inform the re-design of its social protection policy, the Government of Togo requested an assessment of policy options for the extension of its social protection system. This assessment will be conducted using the Social Protection Policy Options Tool (SPPOT) – a new ISPA tool which has been developed by the International Labour Organization in collaboration with various other international organizations. The EU-SPS is supporting the first pilot of the SPPOT tool.
During the kick-off workshop, the SPPOT methodology as well as data requirements for the pilot were discussed with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Social Action as well as civil society and donor partners. The aim is to conclude the pilot with a national social dialogue in the spring of 2017, so that its results can inform the design of the new social protection policy.
Experts’ Meeting on Social Protection Assessment Tools and Methodologies, October 2016
An Experts’ Meeting on Social Protection Assessment Tools and Methodologies was held on 13‑14 October 2016 in Paris, bringing together government representatives from the ten partner countries of the EU-SPS and key stakeholders who have been involved in social protection assessments. The main objective of the meeting was to share experience and learning about countries’ evidence needs for social protection systems-building, and to consider how social protection assessments might best address these. The meeting report is available here.
Public Works Assessment takes place in Tanzania (September 2017)
The EU-SPS team just completed a two week field mission to assess the effectiveness of public works programmes in 10 villages in Tanzania. The assessment was conducted using the Inter-Agency Social Protection Assessment Public Works Tool. The tool was applied to the Tanzanian Social Action Fund’s (TASAF) public works component. TASAF is the main social protection scheme in Tanzania covering over one million households in rural and peri-urban areas. Since 2015, TASAF has piloted the public works component in eight districts in Tanzania. The application of the ISPA Public Works Tool was intended to assess this pilot and generate lessons for the public works component’s scale-up. The assessment was a collaborative undertaking between the EU-SPS, the ILO, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Tanzania, the World Bank, and other development partners involved in TASAF. The assessment report was well received by the Government of Tanzania and TASAF and will feed into discussions about the programme’s national roll out at the end of 2016.
Launch of the Global Partnership on Universal Social Protection at the UN General Assembly, September 2016
At UN General Assembly, world leaders launched an unprecedented effort to roll out universal social protection in countries all around the world. Heads of state, the World Bank Group and the International Labour Organization convened on Wednesday 21 September to inaugurate the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection and launched 23 country experiences to show that universal social protection is feasible in developing countries. The Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection brings together the World Bank and the ILO with the African Union, FAO, the European Commission, Helpage, IADB, OECD, Save the Children, UNDP-IPC, UNICEF and others, along with Belgian, Finnish, French and German cooperation.
Social Protection Systems Building Seminar held in Cambodia, February 2016
A social protection systems-building was organized in collaboration with the EU Delegation and UNICEF. This was an opportunity to deepen counterparts’ understanding of the systems approach and fine tune the scope and priorities for the upcoming OECD Social Protection System Review of Cambodia. The workshop was convened by the Secretary of State in charge of social protection reform at the Ministry of Finance and attended by counterparts from the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development and various line ministries. It also included a presentation on the international experience on system-building by Michael Samson from the Economic Policy Research Institute in South Africa.
Kick-off meeting of the EU Social Protection Systems Programme held at the OECD in Paris (September 2015)
The Kick-off Meeting for the EU Social Protection Systems Programme brought together key stakeholders and partners for a discussion on how best to support countries in the development and reform of national social protection systems. By bringing together policy-makers, researchers, practitioners, and donor partners, the event fostered a debate and reflection about the challenges and opportunities for the systematization of social protection in developing countries, and how research and capacity building can best to support national efforts. Throughout the one-day meeting, a series of panel discussions explored these issues in greater detail.