The many disadvantages to poverty-targeted social protection include the fact that they never become entitlements that attract popular demand and the financial backing of governments, writes Nicholas Freeland, independent consultant, in our latest publication.
The paper is published in the week that the UK Government emphasises the need for donors to support programmes that developing nations gradually start to deliver themselves, and points to evidence that inclusive schemes win backing of governments in a way that targeted schemes never do. The Guardian quoted the UK’s international development secretary Penny Mordaunt as saying she wanted to see governments “taking over completely” social protection systems following UK expenditure on cash transfers in their countries.
Freeland highlights examples of poverty-targeted schemes that have failed to win domestic investment and have had low impact, and of the contrasting story of inclusive schemes. He draws the attention of the sector to how politicians do not sit up and pay attention to donor-funded schemes that exclude the majority of populations, including many of those living in extreme poverty and most living in precarious circumstances who fall in and out of the category ‘the poor’.
Given this, Freeland’s paper therefore questions why the ‘social protection flaw’ of poverty-targeting continues to be promoted over social protection floors, which are designed to leave nobody behind. He writes: “What we are striving for, as social protection practitioners, is programmes that are based on entitlement, that generate increased domestic funding, and that maintain (or even raise) the value of their benefits to the poor and vulnerable over time. We are not going to get this from poverty-targeting. So please can we make a common resolution to promote only inclusive approaches in 2018?” You can view and download the publication by clicking here.