In a world filled with risk and potential, social protection and labor systems help individuals and families find jobs, improve productivity, cope with shocks, 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 includes: adequate cash transfers for all 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 pensions the elderly. This protection can be provided through social insurance, tax-funded social benefits, social assistance services, public works programs and other schemes guaranteeing basic income security.
Jobs, too, are critical for 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 have access training opportunities and that employers can find the skills they need to operate. Skills development can reduce unemployment, raise incomes, and improve standards of living.
In 2016, the world began pursuing an ambitious new development agenda, under the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Social protection systems, figure prominently among the 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, eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and contribute to building social peace. 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 for social safety nets in the world’s poorest countries averaged $648 million from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2014--- twice the volume of its lending in this sector to middle-income countries over the same period. These resources support social safety net programs, including cash transfers, labor-intensive public works, and school feeding programs.
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: Mar 28, 2016