ENP Newswire -
Release date- 13052014 - Two-thirds of the world's poorest people remain uncovered, says
Social safety net programs have grown exponentially around the world in recent years, but more than two-thirds of the world's 1.2 billion poorest people -those living on less than
According to The State of Social Safety Nets 2014, more than 1 billion people in 146 low- and middle-income countries benefit from social safety net programs, yet 870 million of the world's poorest people remain uncovered.
Social safety net programs include cash and in-kind transfers targeted to poor and vulnerable households, with the goal of protecting families from the impact of economic shocks, natural disasters, and other crises; ensuring that children grow up healthy, well-fed, and can stay in school and learn; empowering women and girls; and creating jobs.
'On average, developing countries spend 1.6 percent of their GDP on social safety nets. This is low compared to other public policy measures such as fuel subsidies, which do not target the poorest. More can be done to reach the world's poorest people,' said
The report is the first in a series of studies that will monitor and report on the growth and coverage of social safety nets in the developing world, highlight promising innovations, and review important policy and practical developments in this area.
The growth of social safety nets has been bolstered by mounting evidence of their impact on reducing poverty, improving maternal and child health and nutrition, boosting school attendance and learning outcomes, and promoting sustained economic growth. Over the past three years, a total of 53 new impact evaluations on social safety nets have been completed, most of them in
In terms of global social safety net coverage, the report shows that countries at lower levels of income face the greatest gaps in reaching the poorest people:
In low-income countries, where 47 percent of the population is extremely poor, social safety nets cover less than 10 percent of the population.
In lower-middle income countries, social safety nets reach about one-quarter of the extreme poor, but the remaining half a billion of the poorest people remain uncovered.
The situation is best in upper-middle income countries, where about 45 percent of the extreme poor are covered by social safety nets.
The report notes that the expansion of social safety net programs, particularly in the form of cash transfers, is particularly evident in Sub-Saharan Africa. For example, 37 African countries currently have unconditional cash transfer programs, almost double the number four years ago. Globally, the number of countries with a conditional cash transfer program increased from 27 countries in 2008 to 52 in 2013. Similar trends are notable for other types of safety net programs such as public works.
Available data on combined spending on social safety nets in low- and middle-income countries amounts to
'Three countries -
The report also notes that countries are moving from fragmented programs to integrated social protection systems. New strategies, better institutional coordination, and innovative administrative tools are emerging worldwide. For instance, the Cadastro social registry in
Currently around 68 countries have a national social protection strategy in place that outlines such systemic approaches, up from just 19 in 2009. In addition, 10 countries have now introduced institutional bodies to coordinate social protection programs across sectors and ministries.
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