The World Bank, in partnership with the Government of Brazil and the State of Rio de Janeiro, is organizing the 5th South-South Learning Forum. The Forum will promote knowledge exchange among practitioners from low- and middle-income countries, and fragile states on ways to improve the design of social protection and labor (SPL) systems at the policy, program and service delivery levels.
Themes of the Forum
Many countries spend a substantial share of their GDP on SPL programs with the objective of building resilience for the vulnerable, promoting equity for the poor, and providing opportunities for enhanced productivity. However, the SPL sector in most of the developing world is highly-fragmented and uncoordinated. This lack of coordination and integration across policies, programs and delivery systems contributes to inefficiencies, low program coverage, exclusion of vulnerable people, inclusion of the non-poor, inflexibility to respond to shocks, and poor linkages of jobs and productive opportunities. It also prevents programs with different functions from complementing each other, making the overall SPL systems less able to respond to risk.
To overcome these challenges, governments are increasingly focusing on system approaches to SPL. This approach focuses on policies, programs and delivery instruments that work together in a more coherent and cost-effective way. Reducing fragmentation and promoting harmonization enhances both the performance of individual programs as well as the overall provision of social protection.
The SPL systems approach has several advantages and economies of scale. Well-designed systems should:
1. Ensure effective policy coordination, including better financial arrangements, regulatory frameworks and monitoring and evaluation.
2. Reduce overlaps and improve coverage, notably linkages among income support, social insurance programs, and labor market programs that create incentives to work and/or facilitate transitions into wage or self-employment.
3. Improve internal coherence by enhancing the management of a given risk or shock through coordinated service delivery processes.
Focus of the Forum
Building on the experience of World Bank client countries with improving SPL programs through an integrated approach, the Forum will focus on answering one question: How can sustainable and inclusive social protection and labor systems be designed and implemented in challenging economic and demographic contexts?
Special attention will also be paid to service delivery instruments. Any system needs delivery instruments to accurately identify eligible individuals or households; ensure low-cost program enrollment; deliver well-targeted goods, cash or services; efficiently track results; and provide for oversight, grievance and redress. Recent technological progress has lowered the cost of reaching the poor while improving the ability of governments to ensure that these expenditures actually benefit the target population. Forum discussions will therefore center on designing effective delivery systems, enrollment and transaction processes and monitoring and information systems.
Scope of the Forum
The Forum will bring together approximately 200 practitioners, experts, civil society members and donors from around the world to share experiences and successful solutions on how to design and administer SPL systems. Case studies of specific topics will illustrate what has worked and what has not on the program side, beneficiary identification tools, registries, targeting schemes, monitoring and evaluation arrangements and transfer/payment systems.