The South-South Learning Forum (SSLF) is the flagship event of the World Bank’s Social Protection and Labor Global Practice. It provides a platform for client policymakers and practitioners to exchange experiences, share innovations, and advance practices in social protection.
On November 9, 2015, around 250 policymakers from 75 countries gathered in Beijing for the “Emerging Social Protection Systems in an Urbanizing World” Forum. The week-long event, which was officially opened by Chinese State Counselor Wang Yong and World Bank Group Vice President Keith Hansen, was a landmark, pioneering event to discuss, share and learn from emerging knowledge and practical innovations on social protection in urban areas.
The current massive urbanization process comes with both opportunities and challenges for the poor: On one hand, cities are engines of economic growth and magnets of opportunity. On the other hand, when demand for housing, jobs, and services outstrips the capacity of city governments to provide them, then urban areas can amplify the risks of disease, violence, exclusion and disasters. Around 32.7% of the urban population in developing countries lives in precarious "slums." Therefore, while the world is rapidly urbanizing and global poverty is declining, the remaining poverty challenge may be increasing in urban areas.
What is the role of safety nets?
Safety nets will play a key role in identifying and supporting the urban poor, including providing a platform to reach them and connect them to jobs, social services, and urban development agendas. Urban areas are largely pristine to safety net programs. There are various factors explaining the relatively low coverage of the urban poor, which includes technical bottlenecks in design and implementation. They also entail different institutional and financing arrangements, as well as better integration with other human and urban development services compelling to cities. The urban social protection agenda is also an important pillar in the work around fragility (e.g., most of the current refugees operations are in urban areas) and disaster risk management (i.e., natural disasters will soon affect up to 870 million urban dwellers). The Forum will examine and discuss all those interconnected aspects.
Read the press release for more details.