In a world filled with risk and potential, social protection and labor systems help individuals and families especially the poor and vulnerable cope with crises and shocks, find jobs, invest in the health and education of their children, and protect the aging population. The World Bank Group supports universal access to social protection, and is central to its goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
Universal social protection coverage includes: providing social assistance through cash transfers to those who need them, especially children; benefits and support for people of working age in case of maternity, disability, work injury or for those without jobs; and pension coverage for the elderly. Assistance is provided through social insurance, tax-funded social benefits, social assistance services, public works programs and other schemes guaranteeing basic income security.
Social protection systems, figure prominently in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 1.3 calls for the implementation of “nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and vulnerable”.
Social protection systems that are well-designed and implemented can powerfully shape countries, enhance human capital and productivity, reduce inequalities, build resilience and end inter-generational cycle of poverty. Well-designed social protection and labor programs are cost-effective, costing countries only about 1.0–1.5 percent of GDP.
The World Bank Group’s annual lending on social protection programs in fiscal year 2016 reached $3.6 billion with $2.5 billion lending in IDA countries, targeting the world’s poorest. These resources support social safety net programs, including cash transfers, public works, and school feeding programs.
Jobs, too, are critical in reducing poverty and promoting prosperity. All countries, regardless of income, face challenges creating and sustaining adequate job opportunities for their citizens. The World Bank Group is ensuring that individuals are equipped and trained with the right skills for the labor market.
The World Bank Group also provided budget support to help governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone cope with economic impact of the Ebola outbreak, scaling up social safety net programs for beneficiaries.
Last Updated: Sep 06, 2016