Is it time for universal child benefits?
David Stewart (Chair)@UNICEFSocPolicy
Chief, Child Poverty and Social Protection, UNICEF
Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Government of Mongolia
Nelson Marwa Sospeter
Principal Secretary, State Department for Social Protection, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Government of Kenya
Deputy Director-General: Comprehensive Social Security, Department of Social Development, Government of South Africa
Director, Equity and Social Policy, and Principal Research Fellow, ODI
Edmond D. Villani Professor of Economics, Georgetown University
Governments worldwide are relying on cash and tax transfers to households with children in response to the Covid-19 crisis, amid growing calls to strengthen and expand cash transfers and social protection. A recent UN SDG report states: 'It is particularly urgent to rollout or expand social assistance to families, preferably through the use of universal child benefits.'
Universal child benefits (UCBs) can play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality while promoting social cohesion and public support for social protection. In countries with established UCBs, they constitute a cornerstone of national social policy systems and have proved effective in scaling up social protection in times of crisis.
Drawing on recent country experience and on new policy analysis, this live digital event discusses key issues and emerging lessons concerning the challenges and trade-offs policymakers face when introducing or expanding a child benefit; the administrative and political economy implications of universal versus narrowly targeted approaches; policy financing options; and the effectiveness of alternative child benefits, including in crisis contexts.
The webinar marks the launch of an ODI-UNICEF report on universal child benefits.