A United Nations initiative to strengthen social protection in developing countries
What is the Toolbox?
Using multimedia and data visualization techniques, the Toolbox aims to present the argument for strengthening and broadening social protection in a user-friendly and interactive fashion. It provides users with a point of departure for navigating the complex – and at times fragmented – nature of social protection policymaking. The Toolbox utilizes a database of good practices and a network of social protection experts to facilitate South-South co-operation and the building of consensus in “moving forward” toward broader and more robust coverage.
What is our approach?
Social protection refers to a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty, vulnerability and inequality. The UN takes a rights-based approach to social protection within the context of the Social Protection Floor (SPF) framework, which promotes universal access to essential social services and transfers along the life course. The Toolbox works within this framework presenting data in a way that encourages a forward momentum toward the provision of essential health care and income security for all children, working-age and older persons. The SPF framework is especially relevant for developing countries and is seen as a necessary first step in closing development gaps and building a comprehensive national social protection system.
What is unique about the Toolbox?
The Toolbox aims to cover existing gaps in the promotion and analysis of social protection. In doing so, the Toolbox provides a streamlined advocacy platform for knowledge sharing based firmly on practice and experience. Other databases available from the United Nations system and international organizations focus on technical assistance, financing and analysis of individual schemes. For instance, the International Labour Office’s (ILO) Global Extension of Social Security database provides good analysis of select schemes and information on financing. The International Social Security Association provides a wide-range of country profiles and documents for technical assistance. The toolbox has been designed not to overlap with these databases.
What is in the database?
The Toolbox provides access to a database of over 80 good practices in social protection from developing countries. In keeping with the SPF framework, good practices illustrate a rights-based approach toward social services and income security along the life course. As such, the database consists of (1) good practices of constitutional/legal provisions that guarantee social protection entitlements as well as (2) good practices of social protection schemes currently in implementation that show potential to be used as building blocks for more comprehensive coverage. The schemes currently in implementation have been selected based on the percentage of the population covered (extent of coverage) and the actual amount of benefits received (level of coverage). These good practices highlight both targeted and more universal schemes and follow a format that highlights essential information in order to provide a basic understanding of a wide variety of schemes.
Click the window below to explore how and why social protection has emerged as a critical development instrument.
Use the arrows in the window to navigate the presentation (which is best viewed in full screen). Once you have gone through the presentation you can zoom and pan freely to the areas you would like to revisit.
There are no best solutions or “one-size-fits-all” formulas for strengthening social protection. This module enables you to identify social protection coverage gaps within a national context and receive appropriate good practices as a basis for moving toward broader and more robust coverage.
Your set of good practices will be generated within the social protection floor (SPF) framework which corresponds to a set of essential social services and income security measures that all persons everywhere should enjoy to ensure the realisation of the rights embodied in human right treaties. The essential social services and income security along the life course, or components, of the SPF framework ensure that all in need have access to social services in the area of “Health”; and income security for “Children,” “Working-age,” and “Older persons.” Familiarise yourself with the components of the social protection floor below and then select your region on the map to begin the module.
Social Protection Floor Components
Nearly one-third of the world’s population has no access to any health care facilities or services at all. For many more, unexpected and reoccurring health care expenses can cause financial catastrophe for their household, creating stress on families and communities. It is, thus, important that States provide protection from the risks associated with injury and health problems through the creation of an effective social protection floor. In doing so States must ensure that all residents have the necessary financial protection in order to be able to afford and have access to a nationally defined set of essential health care services, whereby the State accepts the general responsibility for ensuring the adequacy of the pluralistic financing and delivery systems.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) requires States to provide effective access to sufficient nutrition and compulsory primary education for all boys and girls. However, in 2011 57 million children of primary school age were out of school and more than 100 million children under the age of five remained undernourished and underweight. It is, thus, important that States actively invest social protection schemes that protect children from the devastating risks associated with intergenerational poverty. In doing so, States must ensure that all children have social and income security, at least at the nationally defined poverty level, through family or child benefits aimed at facilitating access to nutrition, education and care.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) declares that “everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” Yet, it is estimated that only about 20% of the world’s working-age population, and their families, have effective access to comprehensive social protection. It is essential that States provide protection from the risks associated with economics shocks and ensure that all working-age residents have access to a basic basket of food and other essential goods and services. In doing so, States must ensure that all those in active age groups who are unable to earn sufficient income in the labour market should enjoy a minimum level of income security through social assistance or other social transfer schemes (such as transfer income schemes for women during the last weeks of pregnancy and the first weeks after delivery), combined with employment guarantees of other labour market policies.
In low income countries less than 20% of older persons receive pension benefits, thus leaving populations above the age of 65 specifically vulnerable to the consequences of poverty. As such, it is essential for the State to provide income security for older persons to a minimum that ensures access to a basic basket of food and other essential goods and services, realised through transfers in cash and in kind. In doing so, States must ensure that all residents in old age or with disabilities have income security, at least at the nationally defined poverty level, through pensions for old age and disability.