The social mobilization team of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) talks to women in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Credit: UNMEER/Martine Perret (22 Decembre 2014)
Social protection is an important contributor to sustainable development. It is a key strategy to alleviate poverty, to eradicate exclusion and to build resilience. By providing cash transfers to households, pensions for the elderly, grants to children, and other measures, governments create safety nets and support to the most vulnerable and excluded groups of our society. This support enables individuals and families to adapt to crises and manage risks, where poverty, environmental degradation and political instability are closely interconnected.
The concept of social protection has been gaining momentum in Africa in recent years as part of the policy response to address high poverty and inequality among the population. International partners have supported successful pilot projects in Africa but governments recognize the need to move beyond pilots to national social protection systems and towards universal national coverage of some measures. The Government of Brazil has extensive experience to share from over ten years of implementing Bolsa Familia, one of the world’s largest and most recognized social protection programmes.
The RIO+ Centre has been working in close partnership with the Government of Brazil, the African Union, the Government of Senegal, the Instituto Lula and the UNDP Regional Centre in Africa to host an International Seminar on Social Protection. The seminar, to be held in Dakar, Senegal on 8-9 April 2015, will bring together senior officials from social development and finance ministries from 14 African countries.
The event will be an important opportunity to share experiences on the implementation of policies and to improve linkages between countries that are in the initial steps of building social protection systems with others that are already in a more advanced phase. The seminar aims to provide technical support to the delegations to the Specialized Technical Committee of African Ministers of Social Development, Labour and Employment (STC-SDLE-1) who will meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 20-24 April 2015.