Challenges and opportunities for social protection: New report highlights key contributions
10 July 2012 - Mark Davies
The field of social protection has changed significantly in the last decade, and social protection programmes now support more people than ever before. This year sees the launch of new strategies outlining the future social protection agenda; UNICEF and the World Bank have published new social protection strategies, while the European Commission is drafting its new approach to social protection. Global initiatives such as the Social Protection Floor provide a far-reaching consensus and momentum behind developing and extending social protection beyond the lucky few.
In this context, Centre for Social Protection (CSP) released a new report, Transforming research and policy, which highlights the Centre's work over the last 5 years to influence debates and strengthen capacities to build social protection policies that protect vulnerable people, are sustainable and promote social justice.
CSP is a network of researchers, policymakers and practitioners focused on social protection policies, with a secretariat based at the Institute of Development Studies. Since its establishment in 2006, CSP has undertaken research, policy advice and training to push social protection debates beyond conventional thinking.
Innovative knowledge frameworks and evaluation for social protection
CSP has contributed to the creation of knowledge through the development of ideas on what social protection can and should do, through innovative approaches such as Transformative Social Protection that links social protection to social justice. CSP has also added to the expanding evidence base on what works by working with partners to undertake impact evaluations of major social protection programmes, including Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net programme (PSNP), Kenya’s Hunger Safety Net Programme and South Africa’s Child Support Grant.
Mobilising networks to exchange knowledge and advocate for policy change
CSP works across a broad network to bring people together to share knowledge, disseminate research and help advocate for change. It also helps strengthen and leverage existing networks for social protection. For example, the Social Protection in Asia Programme provided a platform for partnership and a voice on social protection issues in the region.
CSP produces a quarterly newsletter that highlights key news, events, opinions and publications across the social protection field.
Strengthening capacities of governments and other organisations
CSP has also strengthened capacities to support governments and organisations in their work in designing, implementing and expanding social protection. CSP training courses in the UK and countries across the world have brought together hundreds of social protection policy-makers and practitioners, helping organisations to shape their approach to social protection and improve their understanding of it.
Opportunities and challenges: Achieving the potential of social protection for all
We know that many opportunities and challenges remain. Social protection programmes need to be linked to other development interventions to maximise their impact and ensure their sustainability. Continued crises both in the north and south threaten the funding of social protection even as the needs of vulnerable people are increasing. Ensuring social justice requires us to reach out to those not easily found or often heard.
CSP and its global network of partners continue to be committed to overcoming these challenges and maximising the opportunities to help achieve our vision of social protection for all.
Mark Davies is manager of the Centre for Social Protection.
Image credit: Malan Ratinam/Parsons The New School for Design
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