Ensure Meaningful and Effective Participation

Meaningful and effective participation of rights holders must be a key component of any social protection system. This is what builds trust and public support behind schemes and ensures that there is a sense of ownership. The participation of right holders is important during the social protection policy making processes but also as regards the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the governance of social protection schemes.

The right to participate in public life is enshrined in several human rights norms, such as Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (General Comment 19) has recommended that beneficiaries participate in the administration of social protection programmes and that the system be established under national law. The ILO’s social security conventions and recommendations also specify that national social security strategies should be formulated and implemented on the basis of national consultations through effective social dialogue and participation (Recommendation No. 202, para 13) and for that participation of social partners and other stakeholders in the administration of social protection systems, especially where this is not entrusted to a public authority (Convention No. 102, Article 72; Convention No. 168, Article 29).

As well as being an inherent right, participation has the additional advantage of allowing authorities to improve the design and delivery of services. In order to ensure meaningful and effective participation, participatory channels should take into account existing asymmetries of power, patterns of marginalization and gender inequalities that exist within the household and the community. The adoption of specific measures to encourage the inclusion and participation of women, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, older persons and other groups that experience structural discrimination is often necessary to ensure that stakeholders are able to exercise their rights. For example, mechanisms such as sex quotas in participatory channels, timelines for consultation that take into consideration time restrictions imposed on those who undertake care work such as childcare may facilitate the participation of more women. Demonstrating that inputs and perspectives are valued in decision-making, design and implementation processes may also be useful to generate positive incentives for rights holders to participate.

Expert Commentaries

Organizing Civil Society and Promoting Universal Social Protection Systems: Perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa

Fragmented Social Protection Systems and Shrinking Civil Society Space The rationale for social protection policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region varies greatly across countries. Countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have relatively a well-developed rights-based approach to social protection in national policies, while in Yemen and Lebanon, the provision of social […]

Strengthening Universality for Youth-Centred Development: The Pacific approach

The Pacific Youth Development Framework (PYDF) 2014–20231 uses human rights principles and social protection approaches to promote inclusive and targeted investment in key youth populations to improve universal access to basic services and opportunities for young people in the Pacific. The PYDF comprises four priority outcomes for youth across the development sectors in the areas […]

Resources

Behavioural Insights in Poverty Reduction Policies

This Policy Research Brief presents some elements that should be carefully considered in the design of policies and programmes to overcome poverty, based on evidence from the field of behavioural economics. A growing number of international experiences point to the fact that, in many situations, government policies and programmes suffer from compromised results and wasted […]

Social Return on Investment: accounting for value in the context of implementing Health 2020 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Social return on investment (SROI) is a concept to account for social value when evaluating investments. It goes beyond traditional economic evaluation tools, by considering value produced for multiple stakeholders in all three dimensions of development: economic, social and environmental. This discussion paper reviews the main features of SROI (stakeholder engagement, the theory of change […]

The Rise of Homegrown Ideas and Grassroots Voices: new directions in social policy in Rwanda

At the core of Rwanda’s social policy renaissance is the emphasis on the home-grown and grassroots centred generation of intellectual and material resources, utilized with the aim of ensuring a local population familiar with and favourably disposed to government social policy. In the past decade and a half, Rwanda has gradually but consistently charted this […]

Civil Society Guide for National Social Protection Floors (SPFs)

The Civil Society Guide for National Social Protection Floors (SPFs) was developed by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, in close collaboration with the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. The guide is available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.    

World Employment Social Outlook (2016)

This report includes a forecast of global unemployment levels, looking at the situation in developed, emerging and developing economies, with detailed charts and numbers. The report also focusses on the share of vulnerable employment as well as on the scale of the informal economy. It provides policy guidance to boost decent work opportunities around the […]

Activist Perspective: Linking Social Protection and Human Rights

How does a rights-based approach support civil society organizations in their advocacy for universal access to social protection? In this video, Priti Darooka, founder and executive director of the Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (India) talks about the role of human rights frameworks in supporting the organization’s approach to achieving social protection […]

Disability and Social Protection Programmes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A systematic review

This paper systematically reviews the evidence on whether persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries are adequately included in social protection programmes, and assesses the financial and non-financial impacts of participation. Overall, we found that access to social protection appears to fall far below need. Benefits from participation are mostly limited to maintaining minimum […]

Social Inclusion, Poverty Eradication and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The concept of social inclusion, also referred to as social integration or social cohesion, represents a vision for “a society for all”, in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play (Report of the World Summit for Social Development, 1995). While various definitions have been developed to describe social […]

ITUC Frontlines Report: Collective Bargaining

Five years since the “great recession” started, the failed policy of austerity has left a legacy of extreme levels of unemployment, rising inequality, the marginalisation of a generation of young people and the desperation of a growing informal sector where rules simply don’t apply. International institutions did not prevent the economic crisis, they are now […]

Report on participation of people living in poverty (A/HRC/23/36), submitted by the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda

This report focuses on the right to participation of people living in poverty. Participation is a basic human right in itself, a precondition or catalyst for the realization and enjoyment of other human rights, and of fundamental importance in empowering people living in poverty to tackle inequalities and asymmetries of power in society. The report presents […]