Common Ground: UNICEF and World Bank Approaches to Building Social Protection Systems
Laura Rawlings, Sheila Murthy, and Natalia Winder
Child-sensitive social protection
Developing and strengthening social protection systems is at the core of the World Bank Social Protection and Labor Strategy, and the UNICEF Social Protection Strategic Framework. This note outlines common ground in this commitment and calls on other stakeholders to engage collaboratively in the systems agenda.
Social protection systems provide a coordinated portfolio of interventions to address different dimensions of poverty and deprivation, aiming to reduce vulnerability across the life-cycle and ensure cumulative benefits across generations.
There are numerous challenges, risks and costs involved in taking a systems approach, including challenges of political economy and differing donor views and practice, the risks of excessive centralization, and potential costs of transactions and limited transparency.
The movement towards more integrated systems is a gradual and contextual process. In operationalizing this agenda, it is useful to consider different levels of systems coordination: policy, programme and administrative.
There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of operationalization of systems. Pathways will differ according to country contexts, capacity and needs, and approaches need to be country-led.
The World Bank and UNICEF acknowledge the critical importance of donor coordination, and call for partner agencies to be part of the solution in order to: work together to present coherent support to countries; maximize synergies and common agendas, recognizing different organizations’ value-added; jointly support sustainable, scalable, evidence-based interventions; enhance and share analytical work on systems development; promote South-South learning and cooperation for knowledge sharing and capacity building.