28 March 2023

Responses to disasters and crises through subnational social protection systems

This report presents key findings, lessons, and recommendations on how governments in Europe and Central Asia have responded to disasters and crises through subnational social protection systems. Using case studies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Tajikistan and Ukraine the report identifies key priority areas of work and further development and details seven policy recommendations for the region: Guide and support UNICEF country offices in developing the knowledge about decentralisation and its implications in terms of overall governance of social protection and disaster risk management and reduction related. Guide and support UNICEF country offices in further documenting core aspects of public financial management in decentralised context and its implications on financing shock responsive social protection. Advocate for a more consolidated approach to shock responsive social protection in the region, with sensitisation of national and subnational governments regarding the main administrative and financial implications of delivering support for the most in need during the crises. While consolidating the knowledge about decentralisation in general and its implications in terms of overall governance of social protection and disaster risk management and reduction related process, engage in both areas with the subnational governments in pilot projects followed by more strategic partnerships, including with their associative representations. While investigating, piloting, and developing programmes and interventions in the area of social protection and disaster risk management, consolidate the knowledge in terms of public financial management in decentralised context and its implications on financing social protection and disaster risk management. At national level, review the regulatory, strategic and policy frameworks in social protection and disaster risk management and reduction areas, in order to ensure the necessary coordination through functional linkages between the systems, both horizontally and vertically. Moreover, develop mechanisms to support further development at subnational levels, in either of the two areas where the capacity is lower. At subnational level, consolidate the cooperation mechanisms between the two areas, develop cross-cutting and multidisciplinary approaches in tackling shocks and crisis, and build on mutual learning, including by considering good practices implemented by different subnational governments.
02 May 2019

Call to Action - Strengthening the social service workforce in Europe and Central Asia

Available data suggest that more than 22 million children are living in poverty in the Europe and Central Asia Region.  Children are far more likely to be living in poverty compared to adults, with some children particularly vulnerable – children with disabilities, children from large families, single parent households and Roma children. A strong social service workforce – well-trained and supported professionals who work to ensure the healthy development and well-being of children and families, is critical in addressing poverty, social exclusion and violence. Over the last 30 years a considerable social service workforce of many tens of thousands of personnel has been deployed in the countries of the Europe and Central Asia region. In many countries social service workers have caseloads that are too high, while their skills are poorly aligned with their responsibilities and functions. These workers – critical to the well-being of the most vulnerable children and families in society simply do not receive enough support.  With the aim of strengthening social work and the social service workforce across the region, 200 government officials, academics, civil society representatives and UNICEF specialists from 22 countries across the Region[i] convened in Bucharest on the 21 November 2018. The outcome of the conference is a Regional Call for Action endorsed by more than 20 countries from Europe and Central Asia. The Call to Action outlines key principles in strengthening the social service workforce: Agreeing to a common set of definitions of the social service and allied workforces in the ECA region Effective long-term planning of the social service workforce and aligning functions, processes, competencies and qualifications Developing the competencies of the social service workforce Supporting the social service workforce Developing the allied workforces Additional resources to help guide social work professionals and governments in strengthening social services are available for download in the box on the right. [i] Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo (UNSCR 1244), Kyrgyzstan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.