Thursday, 10 May 2012

Social Protection high on the Agenda of EU Development Policies

On May 7, Light for the World  together with the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development  organised a seminar on Social Protection and Disability in Developing Countries. The event was held in Brussels under the End Exclusion — Let's Enable The MDGs project.

Social protection issues are on the agenda of many CSOs and EU officials as DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid is currently preparing a communication ‘Social Protection in EU Development Cooperation’ following an online consultation. The communication is planned to be published in September 2012 and it is a follow-up to the last year’s ‘Agenda for Change’ communication.

Social protection is a tool to make growth inclusive and sustainable by enabling people to participate in the economy, supporting a healthy workforce and providing protection against risk. Alicia Martin-Diaz from DG DevCo explained at the seminar that the emphasis of the European Commission (EC) communication will be on equity, efficiency, inclusion and social cohesion. According to the current EC vision, social protection should be based on internal country funding while the EC can help put social protection systems in place in partner countries. In some fragile states the EC could also pay for welfare transfers as an exception but what exactly the EU would fund is an open question at the moment.

Alexandre Cote from the International Disability Alliance emphasised that one of the principal aims of their work is to ensure that people with disabilities would be able to participate meaningfully in life. There are various tools to support people with disabilities in developing countries. Cash transfers work well in many cases but it is not the solution in countries where necessary services for disabled people are not available. Another major issue in managing support systems is ‘gate keeping’ – figuring out the rules and conditions of who is eligible for the support and monitoring this is essential for such programmes to be successful.

Information provided by Mirjam Sutrop, TRIALOG

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