Comprehensive, Coherent and Coordinated Policies

The interdependence, indivisibility and mutually reinforcing nature of human rights necessitates a holistic approach to social protection. As such, under international human rights law, social protection programmes should be one element within a broader strategy aimed at overcoming poverty and realizing all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to education, adequate food and housing. Indeed, ILO Recommendation No. 202 (para 3(l)) recognizes the need for policy coherence to increase the government’s ability to achieve desired development goals with limited resources and to ensure that social and economic policies reinforce each other. In other words, the State should ensure coordination and complementarity with other social, economic, development and employment policies.

Fragmented social protection programmes and lack of sufficient coordination and cooperation between actors increase the likelihood that the rights of people living in poverty will be infringed. This is in part due to the weakening of the ability of rights holders to identify who is accountable for certain aspects of programme implementation. Incoherent policies can be a disincentive to action and a serious impediment to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, especially of most vulnerable and/or least represented people. Additionally, ineffectively coordinated programmes can leave gaps in coverage, induce exclusion errors, or increase the risk that activities in one sector have unforeseen effects in another.

The responsibility to ensure programme and policy coordination remains with States even when programmes are funded by international assistance or private actors. Political commitments by the donor community to improve aid effectiveness were established with the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action and the Busan Partnership Document. These reiterate the commitments of developing countries and donors to ensure that their respective development policies and programmes are designed and implemented in ways consistent with human rights principles and obligations. The State retains its status as primary duty bearer regardless of the source of funds, and it is further obliged to progressively reclaim its financial and administrative responsibilities from external actors when international assistance is relied upon. A rights-based perspective requires states to make an institutionalized commitment to progressively resource a comprehensive national social protection system (ILO Recommendation 202, para. 3(g)).

Expert Commentaries

Inter-sectoral Coordination, Social Protection and Human Rights: A virtuous circle

Social protection has become an ever more important policy discussion in the social development agenda. Significant advances have been made in the social protection field in the Americas and normative and institutional frameworks have been established within the countries to further strengthen social protection policies. Nevertheless, challenges still remain in developing and consolidating integrated and […]

Mutual Reinforcement of the Human Right to Social Protection and the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

The rights to social protection and water and sanitation can and should be mutually reinforcing, particularly if the linkages are made explicit. Such linkages include both consideration of access to water and sanitation in the design of social protection systems, as well as explicit recognition of the human right to water and sanitation in legislation, […]

Challenging Assumptions: From child-focused to child-sensitive social protection

Few people would disagree that children need protection and support, and that they should receive priority in policy interventions, including social protection. These beliefs are underpinned by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which has been ratified by 192 of 195 of the world’s countries. In the past decade, social protection […]

Adopting Comprehensive, Coherent and Coordinated Policies in Social Protection: A View from the Americas

In the context of the principles of social protection, through the Social Charter of the Americas,1 the countries of the region acknowledge they have “a responsibility to develop and implement comprehensive social protection policies and programs, based on the principles of universality, solidarity, equality, nondiscrimination, and equity that give priority to persons living in conditions […]

Legal Instruments

National Insurance and Social Security Act (No. 15)

This Act to establish a system of national insurance and social security providing pecuniary payments by way of old-age benefit, invalidity benefit, survivors’s benefit, sickness benefit, maternity benefit and funeral benefit, and to substitute for compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance a system of insurance against injury or death caused by accident arising out of […]

Ley 22.431 De Protección Integral para los discapacitados.

Crea un sistema de protección integral de las personas discapacitadas, tendiente a asegurar a éstas su atención médica, su educación y su seguridad social, así como a concederles las franquicias y estímulos que permitan, en lo posible neutralizar la desventaja, que la discapacidad les provoca y les den oportunidad, mediante su esfuerzo, de desempeñar en […]

Legal Cases

Austerity measures that contravene Conventions by reducing social protection and increasing poverty in Greece

Recalling previous recommendations, the Committee observed that the austerity measures in conjunction with the continuous contractions of the economy, employment and public finances posed a threat to the viability of the Greek national social security system, resulting in the impoverishment of the population, thus undermining the application of all accepted parts of Social Security (Minimum […]

Reduction of pensions for condemned prisoners in Azerbaijan

The Court was requested to examine whether Article 109 para. 1 of the Law of Azerbaijan Republic On Pension Maintenance of Citizens, allowing an 80 per cent reduction of pensions for entitled persons who are incarcerated, was consistent with the right to social protection, contained in Article 38 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan. According to […]

Coherent Constitutions and the Right to Social Protection for Adopted Children in Taiwan

The Judicial Yuan, a body responsible for interpreting the Constitution, examined the constitutionality of provisions in the Statute for Labor Insurance preventing children adopted within less than six months of the death of their adoptive parents from collecting social insurance benefits as survivors. The Court held that despite the intentions of the provision to prevent […]

Combining constitutional and international standards for social protection resource mobilization in Latvia

Summary: In 2000, twenty Latvian parliamentarians complained to Latvia’s Constitutional Court that certain employers within Latvia were not paying social insurance premiums into a fund for their employees, and that this was a breach of the human right to social security as per Latvia’s constitution as well as Articles 9 and 11 of the International […]

Ensuring mechanisms that protect the right to life against the risk of famine in India

Summary: In 2001 the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties claimed that that recent starvation deaths that occurred in the Indian State of Rajasthan were the result of the State’s failure to release grain stocks in fact kept as a guard against famine, and that this denial amounted to a violation of the human right to […]


Social Protection and Climate Change: Can Brazil pursue twin social and environmental objectives together?

Brazil’s invaluable rainforests have dwindled in recent decades, as agriculture and other development have moved in. Development opportunities are crucial for many rural populations who continue to live in poverty. Now, the Government is attempting to address poverty and threats to the environment together through a new social protection programme.

Financing Development for Children in Africa: The state of budget transparency and accountability in the continent

This report builds on the findings of the Open Budget Survey 2015, by taking a closer look at the 31 African countries included in the survey. It seeks to promote transparency and accountability in the use of government budgets in Africa. The rationale for this report is twofold. First, Africa is witnessing a historic demographic […]

The Future of Food and Agriculture: trends and challenges

The report sheds some light on the nature of the challenges that agriculture and food systems are facing now and throughout the 21st century, and provides some insights as to what is at stake and what needs to be done. What emerges is that “business as usual” is no longer an option but calls for […]

Movilización de Recursos Domésticos, Desarrollo Social y Cambio Institucional: Descentralización y Autonomías Municipales en Bolivia

El presente documento analiza la movilización de recursos domésticos para el desarrollo social  desde  la  perspectiva  de  los  gobiernos  municipales  en  Bolivia.  Luego  de  dos décadas  de  descentralización  y seis años  de  autonomías,  las  brechas  sociales  entre municipios  siguen  siendo  profundas  y  se  explican,  en  parte,  por  la  debilidad  de  la gestión pública, falta de […]

Social Protection as a Human Right in South Asia

Social protection is variously seen as a right or poverty alleviation mechanism or shield from the vagaries of market. Although Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have brought out various social protection programmes through policies, legislations, constitutional guarantees and so on, their comprehensiveness and implementation remain a challenge. In this backdrop, this article explores […]

HIV Care and Support

The purpose of this document is to: Describe what HIV care and support is. Describe the purpose of care and support in the context of the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection. Illustrate how care and support is essential, alongside HIV treatment, […]

Social Protection Assessment-Based National Dialogue: A global guide

This guide is a unique resource package that aims to provide the necessary knowledge and expertise for conducting assessment based national dialogue (ABND) exercises, which are the first steps towards the implementation of nationally defined social protection floors. Designed by practitioners for practitioners, it is based on real country cases and experiences. Its standardized and […]

Income Security for Older Persons in the Republic of Korea

This project working paper discusses the prevailing system of income security for older persons in the Republic of Korea with regards to coverage, beneficiaries, and sustainability. It also discusses recently undertaken reforms of the income security system with regards to their budgetary implications. After the introduction of a mandatory pension scheme, coverage of pensions increased […]