Develop an Adequate Legal and Institutional Framework and Adopt Long-Term Social Protection Strategies

Element (1) of the Framework for Human Rights-Based Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Social Protection Programmes

A human rights-based approach to social protection requires grounding social protection programmes in a strong legal and institutional framework. This should ensure both programme stability and the recognition of beneficiaries as rights holders. Enshrinement in law along with a long-term national action plan for social protection greatly increases the guarantees of social protection for all, and especially for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. It also helps ensure that social protection measures are guarded from political manipulation and that they receive lasting commitment from state authorities, regardless of change of government leaders. An adequate legal framework is one that includes:

  • the precise eligibility requirements for social protection programmes;
  • mechanisms to ensure transparency and access to information about available programmes;
  • definition of the various roles and responsibilities of all those involved in implementing the programmes at different levels of government;
  • articulation of the long-term financial requirements, ensuring adequacy and predictability of benefits;
  • accessible complaints and appeal mechanisms; and
  • participation channels for beneficiaries.

A clear institutional framework is essential to enable rights holders to identify duty bearers in charge of specific responsibilities.

For more on the obligation to adopt and implement a national social security strategy and plan of action under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), see General Comment 19 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.