Recommendations on social protection to be discussed at African Union ministerial meeting in Addis Ababa

Photo: A woman is assisted by the World Food Programme (WFP)’s food and cash distribution centre in Bargadja, Niger. | UN Photo: WFP / Phil Behan

RIO+ Centre supported seminar in Dakar last week pointed to multiplier effect of investment in social protection on sustainable development

The recommendations coming out of the RIO+ Centre supported seminar on social protection in Africa will be discussed at the First Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Social Development, Labor and Employment (STC-SDLE-1) of the African Union, which will be held on 20-24 April, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It will bring together around 70 ministers from all African countries focusing on “Social Protection for Inclusive Development”. See here recommendations in English, French and Portuguese.

The recommendations will be presented by Romulo Paes de Sousa, Director of the RIO+ Centre, on 21 April at a panel on the implementation of social policies in Africa as part of the technical segment of the meeting. They will also be discussed at the ministerial segment of the session by the ministers Patrus Ananias (Brazil) and Anta Saar (Senegal) on 23 April.

It is expected that the recommendations will be included in the final statement of the session on social protection for inclusive development, paving the way to influence the outcomes of the 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union. This summit will take place on 14-15 June 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Government-wide policy

The recommendations are the result of a technical seminar held in Dakar, Senegal on 8-9 April, which brought together government representatives of social protection programmes from 12 African countries and Brazil.

According to the seminar recommendations, social protection should be a government-wide policy implemented through a comprehensive set of inter-sectoral programmes that protect citizens – especially the poorest – against the social, environmental and economic shocks they face throughout their life cycle, helping to make them more resilient and to improve their welfare.

The document also underscores the importance of securing sustainable sources of financing for social protection and it frames the role of beneficiaries as rights holders and active citizens who should be included in the social protection system through community based participatory processes.

The final recommendation emphasizes that social protection systems are an investment with a multiplier effect that promotes sustainable development, inclusive economic growth, job creation and local markets, to improve occupational and economic inclusion.

The Dakar seminar took place at a strategic time for the discussion on social protection in the context of sustainable development, both as an input to the April AU ministerial meeting and in preparation for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held 13-16 July, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which aims for an agreement between the governments to support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

The Dakar event was organized in partnership with the African Union, the governments of Brazil (through the General Coordination of International Actions to Fight Hunger – CGFOME and the Ministry of Social Development – MDS) and Senegal, the Lula Institute and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including its World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre).

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