Assessment-based National Dialogue: Towards the Establishment of Social Protection Floors

By March 17, 2019 Solution

Challenge

Today, nearly 73 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to adequate social protection coverage. In African, Arab and Asian countries, the establishment of social protection floors has increasingly been recognized as an efficient approach to combating poverty, inequality and exclusion, as a key element of national development strategies, and as a human right. (http://www.socialsecurityextension.org/gimi/gess/RessourcePDF.action?ressource.ressourceId=53462)

Towards a Solution

The Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202) was adopted by the General Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2012, and to help to turn its provisions into reality, the ILO and its United Nations partners are using assessment-based national dialogue (ABND) exercises at the national level. The aim is to use the dialogue exercises as a first step towards implementing social protection floors in countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. ABND facilitates South-South and triangular cooperation by capitalizing on knowledge and expertise available in countries of the South, which are often best suited to respond to challenges that other countries face in wishing to extend social protection.

The ABND exercise evaluates country social protection systems and helps to identify policy gaps and implementation issues that are often similar among developing countries and countries of a certain region. Countries can determine where they stand with respect to neighbouring countries and how they can tackle their own challenges. The Social Protection Assessment-based National Dialogue: A Global Guide provides standardized guidance and training (in print and online) to help users to learn about the process. It enables users to learn of ABND experiences in other countries that have conducted similar exercises.

A technical multipartite team conducts the assessment process to develop a social protection floor. The team, which includes representatives of government, employers, workers, civil society, academia and development partners, is usually led by a line ministry and/or a United Nations organization. On the government side, the team may use existing social protection coordination mechanisms and structures. On the United Nations side, the team may utilize existing social protection working groups under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework or other structures. The methodology is based on national multi-stakeholder dialogue. The team meets on a regular basis during the assessment process (an average of 18 months) to assess social protection schemes, discuss policy gaps and implementation issues, and identify and agree on joint recommendations. This takes place through bilateral consultations and multipartite workshops. The assessment includes three steps: (a) developing the assessment matrix, including an inventory of social protection schemes and services in a country, policy gaps and implementation issues, and recommendations to address them and install a social protection floor; (b) estimating the cost of the social protection floor, including the cost of implementing its recommendations over time based on different scenarios/parameters; and (c) developing the assessment report, sharing it with national stakeholders and obtaining endorsement of the report by policymakers.

ABNDs have been completed or are ongoing in 16 countries in Africa and Asia. The dialogues have been completed in Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vanuatu and Viet Nam. Ten countries – Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Philippines, Timor-Leste, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia – are currently conducting assessments. ABNDs are also planned in several other countries of the South.

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the assessment exercise was accompanied by several other South- South initiatives, such as supporting the extension of social health protection (the Social Security Law adopted in 2013); regulations of the national health insurance scheme; the technical guidelines for the pilot scheme; and capacity-building of national stakeholders, including for the National Social Security Fund. In Egypt, the assessment exercise is running in parallel with the reform of the social health insurance system and helps to build coherence between different processes on social protection. In Kyrgyzstan, the assessment exercise will be followed up with a maternity protection scheme project.

It is important to establish a technical multipartite team whose mandate is to conduct and complete the assessment process and propose joint recommendations to policymakers for endorsement and follow-up. Continuous follow-up is crucial. Strong involvement of national stakeholders and particularly high-level government officials is critical and can help to foster ownership of the final recommendations.

Knowledge and expertise acquired in countries on social protection floor policy and component design and implementation provide a good basis for countries seeking assistance to overcome challenges. South-South training for 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in October 2012 on ABND methodology led to the development of a good practice guide, which three ASEAN countries used to conduct their assessments. A website, which complements the guide, contains testimonies, videos and practical exercises. The ABND exercise can be conducted in countries planning to define a national social protection floor, design and adopt a national social protection plan or strategy, or develop an implementation plan for an existing national social protection plan or strategy. The assessment can also be conducted in countries looking to pursue national dialogue on social protection and build consensus on priority areas of action.

The direct recipients of the project are national governments, decentralized government agencies, social protection institutions, employers, workers, civil society organizations, academia and other national stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of social protection policies and programmes. The ultimate beneficiaries are beneficiaries of social protection schemes, workers of small enterprises, informal-economy workers and those unable to work. The assessment process takes into account the views of representatives of women and persons with disabilities as well as the concerns of beneficiaries and workers through local governments, civil society organizations and worker organizations.

Contact: Ms. Valérie Schmitt, Chief of the Social Policy, Governance and Standards Branch, Social Protection Department, ILO Geneva schmittv@ilo.org; Ms. Loveleen De, Social Protection Policy Officer, Social Protection Department, ILO Geneva, de@ilo.org or socpro@ilo.org

Project name: Assessment-based National Dialogue: Towards the Establishment of Social Protection Floors

Countries: Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vanuatu, Viet Nam (completed); Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Philippines, Timor-Leste, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia (ongoing)

Sustainable Development Goal targets: 1.3, 1.4, 3.8, 5.6, 8.5, 10.4

Supported by: UNOSSC, Japan, Republic of Korea, others

Implementing entities: ILO, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, UN-Women, UNFPA, others

Project status: ABND exercises are ongoing in several countries

Project period: 2011-present

URL of the practice: http://www.social-protection.org/gimi/gess/ShowRessource.action?ressource.ressourceId=45737 Related resources: www.social-protection.org; Social Protection Assessment-based National Dialogue: A Global Guide; Brochure; Facebook: Social Protection Platform; Twitter: @soc_protection.92