The EU-SPS approach

The key areas of action of the EU-SPS were the following:

Social protection assessments and research

The EU-SPS worked with national expert institutions in order to develop, adjust and apply analytic tools and approaches responding to country specific contexts and needs. This included either broad social protection reviews or more narrowly focused analyses. Analyses aimed at promoting the development of affordable, sustainable and inclusive social protection systems in partner countries.

Capacity development

The EU-SPS cooperated with national capacity building institutions in the assessment and strengthening of the national capacities for social protection. This work focused on human, organisational or institutional capacities in the field of social protection. The focal areas for cooperation were selected together with the countries’ main stakeholders and in accordance with the country’s strategic priorities. Cooperative selection of actions ensured that value was added to ongoing work.

Guidance for future development and cooperation

The third purpose of the EU-SPS was to draw evidence-based guidance from the experiences of the partner countries for future development cooperation. This guidance will benefit future investments in the field of social protection by the EU Commission, the 28 EU Member States and other development partners. Here, too, the involvement of partner countries was essential for ensuring the usefulness of outcomes.

When supporting capacity development, the EU-SPS Programme did not seek to implement 'best practices' in partner countries without sensitivity to context. Instead, it worked with local experts and stakeholders to find feasible and sustainable solutions for the specific country in question. This approach to capacity building could be described as a 'best-fit' approach. Some areas of focus in the EU-SPS included:

  • extending social protection coverage to informal workers
  • developing social protection curricula
  • training social protection professionals
  • assessing existing social protection capacities
  • Read more about how the EU-SPS approached capacity development

EU-SPS understood effective social protection to stem from a comprehensive approach to social policy. Comprehensive social policy encompasses social assistance, social insurance, active labour market measures, and access to essential social services and care. Understanding social policy this way helps create social protection that covers a multitude of needs and circumstances across one's life. Comprehensiveness provides the tangible real-world protection that serve as a catalyst for further social and economic benefits.