Social protection comprises all public and private initiatives that provide income or consumption transfers to the poor, protect the vulnerable against livelihood risks, and enhance the social status and rights of marginalized people.  Its overall objective is to reduce the economic and social exposure of poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups. The majority of the world population lives without any social protection. More than 70 percent have no safeguard against life risks such as sickness, unemployment and poverty at old age. In addition, most of the working population is employed in the informal sector, with no access to state social protection systems.

Against the background of economic crises, some emerging economies started implementing social protection policies over the last decade. An increasing number of low-income countries has been following suit. The significance of social protection is increasingly regarded as linked to its potential to stimulate productivity and inclusive growth.  In most countries, however, social protection systems still face crucial challenges such as underfunding due to tight state budgets or fragmentation of systems resulting in a low coverage of poor and vulnerable groups.

© filipefrazao | The concept of expanding and enhancing social protection systems is gaining ground among national policy makers and in international discussions. The current debate  is focusing on how best to design social protection systems and who should provide and finance it. One crucial aspect is whether it should be universal or targeted at the poorest groups. Social protection has become a major issue of the post-2015 agenda, and has been included as a human right in several international conventions. The role of social protection for sustainable economic development in terms of inclusive growth and successful poverty reduction is widely acknowledged. It is regarded a key to achieving the global goals for sustainable development. In another context, social protection gained further relevance as it is considered a mechanism to help respond to crises, fragile states, conflicts, impacts of climate change as well as migration and displacement.

GFA concept and services

GFA supports governments worldwide in strengthening their social protection policies and mechanisms through technical assistance as well as monitoring and analysis. Our experts provide policy advise and institutional development to governments and assist in capacity building and training. This helps to empower people and their governments developing and implementing more efficient systems to increase social protection coverage. We also provide technical support related to specific objectives such as strengthening social health protection or establishing conditional cash transfer systems and social assistance. GFA continually enhances its in-house expertise and knowledge on social protection and shares up-to-date information through its social protection working group.


Thea Güttler


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