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Universal programmes the only way to reach the poorest, flagship social protection event hears


Stephen Kidd at the flagship social protection event

25th September: The only way to reach all older persons, children or persons with disabilities who are vulnerable and in poverty is to build inclusive social protection systems available to everybody as a right.

This was the message of Stephen Kidd, Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways, at the International Labour Organisation’s flagship annual event on social protection in Turin today. Speaking at the Academy on Social Security in the ILO’s International Training Centre, live-streamed worldwide by, Kidd presented evidence on how even the most effective targeted social protection programmes exclude more than 40% of those in extreme poverty. The worst programmes exclude the majority of those in the poorest income quartile in the nations where they are implemented, his presentation, available to view again by clicking here, highlighted, among other issues.

Stephen Kidd pointed to how poverty-targeting in social protection fails not only to cover the vast majority of the populations in low- and middle-income nations experiencing poverty, it even fails to cover half of those people living in the most extreme poverty, despite its objective to reach them all. He said that the Philippines Pantawid social protection programme was among the least worst poverty-targeted programmes, excluding over 40% of those in extreme poverty; others exclude even more of the poorest.

He said that the alternative to ineffective poverty-targeted programmes are citizenship-based programmes that have a much greater impact on poverty while recognising that social protection is a human right and that everybody is at risk of vulnerability. In some cases, elected governments such as Mongolia’s had come under pressure from the IMF to abolish universal programmes and introduce poverty-targeting – despite the fact that this was opposed by national politicians.

Stephen Kidd was invited to present our evidence at the Academy on Social Security, which is both a training course and a key date in the social protection calendar for practitioners and experts to exchange the latest thinking on policy development. 

His presentation, Targeting social protection programmes to ensure that no one is left behind, is available on the ILO International Training Centre website: 


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