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UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

UNICEF in action

Social protection

The following publications and links include lessons-learned, models and helpful information on child-sensitive social protection from around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
In the context of the region’s high migration and child institutionalization rates, UNICEF's regional office for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States has taken a special focus on fostering linkages between social protection and child protection. More information on social protection in the region can be found here

East Asia and the Pacific
Across East Asia and the Pacific, disparities affect children, their families and communities in ways that threaten their lives, security and well-being.  The multiple disparities are often based on socio-economic status, age, gender, ethnicity and geographic factors. More information on the economic and environmental threats experienced in this region, and the social protection responses UNICEF recommends for dealing with them, can be found here.

Eastern and Southern Africa
Stable macroeconomic policy environments and consistent rates of economic growth are positive developments in Eastern and Southern Africa. This success is nonetheless tempered by persisting inequality, increased volatility and exposure to externally driven shocks, natural disasters, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. To consult UNICEF’s framework and strategy for social protection in the region, and read more about how social protection is crucial for addressing the above sources of vulnerability, click here.

Latin America and the Caribbean
While this region has experienced high economic growth in the past decades, rampant inequality is still a major barrier to realizing the rights of all children. In this context of high inequality and rapid urbanization, UNICEF promotes social protection policies that foster social inclusion, particularly for indigenous peoples, women, and other groups that lack access to basic services and income security.

South Asia
Systemic imbalances in the economy and the distribution of resources are structural obstacles to achieving equity in South Asia. Furthermore, the recent food and price crises have exacerbated vulnerability among groups that were already experiencing social exclusion due to their gender, ethnicity, caste, religion, disability, HIV status, migrant status, dwelling place, or age. UNICEF supports social protection programmes that address these sources of vulnerability and discrimination in order to improve access to services for all. For more information, consult a review of social protection in South Asia here.

West and Central Africa
Countries in this region differ significantly in their socio-economic, political and environmental conditions, as well as in the extent to which they have developed their social protection systems. Nonetheless, they share a number of characteristics that increase the vulnerability of children, including: widespread poverty, eroding informal social protection mechanisms, fiscal constraints, and institutional and governance challenges. UNICEF works with these countries to begin outlining a social protection strategy or to build up and support existing capacity to deliver social protection. For more information on UNICEF and social protection in West and Central Africa, click  here.

Middle-East and North Africa
While this region has relatively low levels of absolute poverty, a large proportion of the population lives close to the poverty line. At the same time, countries are very exposed to oil price volatility and vulnerable to water shortages and climate change. They also rely heavily on food imports and are experiencing dramatic demographic pressures. Social protection, though it exists, could be significantly more effective at reducing socio-economic and geographic inequalities as well as discrimination. A mapping of social protection needs and interventions in the Middle-East and North Africa can be found here.



Documents and publications

Country and regional highlights