Exchanging Experiences, Expanding Opportunities

Social Protection on the international agenda

By Bertil Videt, Managing Editor of The Broker.

Only a quarter of the world’s population has adequate social protection. Coverage is expanding in the Global South and the case for expansion is gaining ground in international discussions. 

In light of this phenomenon, The Broker - an independent knowledge platform on globalization and development that brings together cutting-edge knowledge and expert opinions from researchers, policy-makers and practitioners - has compiled a Social Protection Dossier, which takes a closer look at the international debate on social protection. The Broker acts as an intermediary between knowledge networks, ‘brokering’ global development knowledge to inform practitioners and provide new and integrated perspectives on current global policy issues. 

The Broker’s work on social protection is an example of how it thoroughly examines a topic that is gaining ground in the international debate. The Broker’s approach is to go beyond the discussions and discover what the different actors and experts really mean. To this end, The Broker’s articles are based on academic research and presented in a clear, concise and accessible way.

The Social Protection Dossier examines what different actors mean by social protection, what policies are implemented on the ground and how these impact the lives of the poor.  

Even when traditional welfare models are under pressure from austerity in Europe, there is now a widespread belief that, in developing countries, social protection can potentially stimulate productivity and promote inclusive growth. Different types of social assistance programs have been introduced in a number of countries over the last decade. An estimated three quarters to one billion people benefit from these programs. However, according to estimates around 75% of the world population is not covered by adequate social security.

In Social Protection as a global challenge Bertil Videt describes how the case for social protection is gaining ground internationally and gives an overview of the current debate, which focuses on who should get protection and who should pay for it. How social protection actually can promote economic growth is explored in Social protection for inclusive growth. In Protect - or promote Annemarie van de Vijsel looks at different social protection schemes across the world and discusses how different categories can increase economic opportunities. Armando Barrientos demonstrates how Antipoverty transfers in the South are increasingly perceived as a key part of development strategies aimed at zero poverty. For those who wish to dig deeper into the subject, there is a handy overview of a variety of Resources on Social Protection.

The Social Protection Dossier can be seen as continuing The Broker’s extensive work on inequality, which offers a bird’s eye view of the debate on equality and looks into different dimensions of the topic. The work on social protection and inequality falls under the overall theme of inclusive economy. Within this theme The Broker wishes to highlight how economics can help solve global crises and build sustainable and inclusive societies. As a follow up, The Broker expects to launch a dossier on employment in the first quarter of 2014, which will analyze a number of topics that influence work and employment in a changing world.

The Broker’s other core themes are Global Development Strategies, Human Security, Food Security and Social Change.

Bertil Videt



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