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Social Protection: Making Child Poverty History

Hero image description: Two children stand together as heavy rain falls at a temporary shelter in Kenya. Image credit:REUTERS/Georgina Cranston Image license:ODI given rights


Social protection has undergone a redefinition since the debates of the 1990s which focused narrowly on the provision of social safety nets and dismissed them as unaffordable. Current approaches have broadened the definition and emphasise both social and economic aspects of the concept while new research has shown that basic social protection packages can be affordable even for low income countries. Social protection interventions are essential to address the needs of children with specific vulnerabilities such as orphans and street children. However they can also be effective mechanisms to address childhood poverty and may offer effective strategies to prevent intergenerational transmission of poverty, thus breaking the poverty cycle.

2005 is the year to make poverty history by developing an international development agenda based on sustainable solutions to poverty. The publication in March of Our Common Interest by the Commission for Africa, which stresses the role of social protection interventions in long term poverty reduction will guide the UK discussions within the G8 and the European Union, the review of the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations later this year should offer an opportunity to re-focus priorities to ensure that sustainable anti-poverty strategies are implemented, plus new research demonstrating viability all mean that a new approach to social protection is on the agenda.

This meeting series was hosted by ODI and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC). It examined different challenges in the design and implementation of social protection interventions that will impact on child poverty. Each session brought together a combination of speakers with different backgrounds and perspectives.