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Social Protection Strategic Framework

Launch events in NY and Brussels

UNICEF: A global leader on social protection

Far too many children still lack the opportunity to realize their rights and achieve their full potential. A series of constraints – including low income and food insecurity, recurring shocks, and inadequate access to basic social services such as health, education and sanitation – limit families’ capacity and ability to take care of their children. These risks and vulnerabilities are further exacerbated by several emerging trends such as persisting inequality, climate change, changing population dynamics, and rising economic volatility. 

This is a critical time for social protection. Not only do countries increasingly see social protection as an investment in the future but momentum has also been built among international development actors. These organizations and agencies are now meeting, coordinating, and discussing concrete steps within a collaborative agenda for ensuring that momentum is not lost and that countries have the necessary tools to expand their social protection systems. UNICEF not only works on the ground in 93 countries but also plays a strong convening and coordinating role in international fora. The social protection policies and programmes it supports range from cash transfers (such as child benefits, education stipends, and birth allowances) to home-based care, to health insurance schemes, to youth employment programmes.

The emerging global risks and trends have opened a window of opportunity for the development and expansion of social protection.  Internationally, a momentum around social protection has been generated, as is reflected in the many countries that have recognized its critical importance for inclusive growth, equity, and resilience. These countries have, as a result, strengthened their commitment to implementing or expanding social protection. At the same time, the number of high-level fora, such as the United Nations, the G20, WB/IMF Governors' Spring Meeting, among others, that feature social protection as a crucial tool in development has soared. Moreover, several agencies have chosen 2012 as the year in which to launch landmark strategic documents on social protection. The ILO adopted a “Recommendation concerning National Floors of Social Protection” just this month, the World Bank has launched its Social Protection and Labor Strategy, and the European Commission is in the process of drafting its own Communication on Social Protection in EU Development Cooperation.

UNICEF is an increasingly important player in developing knowledge and practice on social protection. On May 18, 2012, it launched its first global Social Protection Strategic Framework in New York. This document makes the case for child-sensitive social protection and argues for the expansion of integrated social protection systems as an effective approach for achieving greater equity for children and contributing to broader human and economic development. The launch event was opened by UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta and was followed by a roundtable discussion with several experts from partner organizations, including the World Bank, ILO, EPRI, IFRI, and Manchester University. These participants reinforced many of the key messages presented in UNICEF’s Framework, including: the importance of integrated, multi-sector implementation; the value of progressively realizing universal social protection coverage; and the need to react to emerging trends such as repeated humanitarian crises and changing demographics.

On June 6, 2012, UNICEF was invited to present the Social Protection Strategic Framework at the Roundtable Discussion on Social Protection in EU Development Cooperation at the EU Parliament, in Brussels. During the meeting, UNICEF, the World Bank and ILO, discussed their commitment to nationally led social protection systems and to helping countries identify and develop sustainable financing strategies for social protection. Moreover, the European Commission affirmed its support for social protection as an integral part of development cooperation, and a number of MEPs affirmed their belief that the EU has a responsibility to invest in social protection, including through a European Parliamentary commitment to the issue.

- Access the Social Protection Strategic Framework
- See agendas and presentations from the launch events in New York and at the EU Parliament, Brussels.


Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, introduces the Social Protection Strategic Framework in New York.
Rountable discussants Michael Samson, John Hoddinott, Christian Salazar and Rachel Yates answer questions at the Framework's launch in New York.
© UNICEF/Brussels2012
Roundtable participants including UNICEF, the World Bank and the ILO discuss the Communication on Social Protection in EU Development Cooperation at the EU Parliament, Brussels.



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