by Anne Drouin, Chief, Public Finance, Actuarial and Statistics Services, Social Protection Department, International Labour Office
Less than three-quarters of the world population enjoys social protection for the different needs they face throughout their life and under unfortunate circumstances. Countries are addressing the expansion of their social protection systems through multiple ways. Some social protection systems cut across 15 or more line ministries and public institutions. This gives an idea of the importance of integrating social protection in all streams of policy-making and making sure there is no one left behind. There is as well fragmentation that can be relatively easily tackled when all national stakeholders have the same information and appreciate the same facts to make their judgment call on how best to extend social protection and where to find the resources to do so. Looking at domestic fiscal capacities in the medium to longer term is essential while at the same time taking due account of the economic role of social protection, in addition to its obvious social role.
The ILO has a range of internationally agreed instruments, such as the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (N0. 202), that have been shared with the Inter-Agency Social Protection Assessment (ISPA) community. Other international agencies also shared the principles they have the mandate to work for. This is such a useful way to share long experiences and taking stock of what works and not.
Coming from a long tradition of technical assistance and cooperation in the field of social protection with countries from all over the world, I am privileged to witness the emergence of a coherent policy and technical environment fostered by the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B). Governments, social partners and national stakeholders will benefit from using tools that represent the consensus amongst some of the lead technical experts in the world. Furthermore, experts from international organizations and development partners have now a unique opportunity to engage in an agile, efficient and coherent manner. The ISPA provides a platform to enrich the dynamic exchange of lessons learnt between national policy-makers and the international development community.
We, at the ILO, have seen for a long time governments seeking assistance on several “hot policy topics” related to the needs of their people and dynamics they face. Their political economy is often leaving little time to turn around a come up with the well-studied solution at the right time. Through the ISPA, it is now possible to coherently align our forces in assessing systems, their programmes and other components. In addition, it is possible to share on what is done from across the world.
The ILO is co-leading with the World Bank the strategic development and coordination of the inter-agency cooperation, responsible for developing social protection assessment tools.
These tools are aimed at developing countries. They reflect the agreement and consensus of international organizations and development partners. National partners can finally get a common approach for the assessment of their social protection systems.
The world of social protection is never going to be the same now that Inter-Agency Social Protection Assessment (ISPA) tools are calling us all to work as One.
If you want to learn more about ISPA tools, visit www.ispatools.org.
For more information about the work of the International Labour Organization in the area of social protection, visit our website.