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Social Protection: new directions of donor agencies

Research reports

Written by Andrew Norton

Research reports

This report and the workshop on which it is based was commissioned to promote dialogue between international development agencies, including World Bank, regional development banks, ILO, UNDP, UNICEF and bilateral agencies, to promote coordination and consistency in global donor policy on social protection issues. We are grateful to representatives from these agencies for attending the workshop, and presenting the papers. We are also grateful to the Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure at the Overseas Development Institute (CAPE-ODI), for the organisation of the workshop, and preparation of a background paper as well as this report.

This report presents short versions of papers discussed at the workshop, as well as a summary of the discussions in Chapter 5. Chapter 1 presents the main findings of the CAPE-ODI review of the main issues in the global debate on social protection, emphasising the need for policies to start from the poor’s priorities, strengthening capacity of public policy to help the poorest, and take account of the variety of institutions involved. Chapter 2 describes the new directions of the social protection strategy within the World Bank, reflecting the move during the 1990s from a safety net strategy towards a holistic and pro-active (‘spring board’) approach to social protection.

Chapter 3 presents the ILO’s new social protection approach, promoting micro-insurance, cost-effective social assistance, and statutory social insurance, to extend the social security that has remained restricted to a small proportion of the population in the South. Chapter 4 outlines the new framework for social protection work in the Asian Development Bank, where this has become a major concern since the mid 1990s. It emphasises policies to smooth income fluctuations, improve labour market incomes, and provide protection against market failures, balancing equity and sustainability objectives.  

Tim Conway, Arjan de Haan, Andy Norton