As a participant in and observer of development debates for some time, I am both delighted to partake in the exchanges of this forum, in which I recognize many ideas and views I fully share, and very concerned about the growing disconnect between development cooperation increasingly caged in
processes and real action changing the lives of people who most need it.
The possibility for the world to see a basic social protection extended to all people, especially the large deprived majority, is very real. The options for getting closer to that goal are worthy of some consideration.
The UN spends some $20 billion in development aid annually, roughly a fifth of total ODA, and the World Bank (IDA) roughly twice that amount.
UN aid is more in the form of technical assistance as it should be, whilst the Bank works through loans.
Whether broadening social protection coverage is best served by a new Global Fund, akin to existing formulas, or through technical assistance, or some combination, is worthy of consideration.
As Rob, I am inclined to think a new Global Fund may not be the better option. However, I am not al all convinced that UN managed development, specifically in the form of UNDAFs, heavy on process and short on ideas and policy, is the answer. Hence I venture to propose three things to support
expansion of social protection coverage.
a) Social protection should be a priority for ODA. An increase on the percent share of ODA currently going to social protection (that number should be known!) should be a UN/DAC target, and there should be a campaign to move
b) There should be a network of social protection specialists, duly certified and acknowledged, with hands on experience, recognized by an international authority that countries and UN can call upon to support national efforts.
c) The training of national experts into social protection specialists should be significantly stepped up.
d) An annual report on progress made in expansion of coverage, with a few sharp indicators, should be issued, with in depth review of selected experiences that demonstrate movement towards the goal.
These four proposals are within reach. They would make a significant and substantial contribution to steady progress in the expansion of coverage.
Director Bureau of Programming and Management
International Labour Office