This blog post has been prepared by the socialprotection.org team. It highlights the importance of social protection for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and provides a curated list of key ressources to learn more.
The 17 SDGs lay out an ambitious and comprehensive agenda for global sustainable development until 2030, which reflects a set of global aspirations for the people, for the planet and for long-term prosperity across countries and population groups. The realisation of Universal Social Protection has become aligned with the 2030 Agenda, especially the target 1.3 ‘Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable’ of SDG 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere).
In addition to SDG 1, social protection is explicitly mentioned as a key instrument for the achievement of SDG5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), target 5.4 ‘Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies, and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate’; and SDG10 (Reduction of income inequality), target 10.4 ‘Adopt policies especially fiscal, wage, and social protection policies and progressively achieve greater equality’.
Furthermore, social protection is seen as fundamental for the achievement of several SDGs, including target 1.5. ‘By 2030 build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters’; SDG3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), target 3.8 ‘Achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all’; and SDG8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all), target 8.b ‘By 2020 develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the ILO Global Jobs Pact’.
The access to knowledge, data, tools, and best practices by policymakers, researchers, and practitioners is crucial for the achievement of the agenda. With that objective in mind, the socialprotection.org team has gathered a list of relevant resources that will both help the reader grasp the nexus between social protection and the SDGs, as well as get information on the progress of the achievement of this important agenda, globally and in different regions.
Social protection as SDG accelerator
- Nenad, R. (September 2022). Catalyzing integrated social protection to accelerate the SDGs (Blog Post
- The blog explores how integrated social protection can be used to accelerate the SDGs. It also focuses on the impacts and best practices of the Joint SDG Fund regarding the achievement of several SDGs, such as SDG 1, 5 and 10.
- Socialprotection.org (September 2022). Ep. 17 | Social protection as an SDG accelerator (Podcast)
- Guests discuss how social protection can catalyse change and progress towards the SDGs.
- UNESCAP (2018). SDGs - Social Protection Toolbox (Infographic)
- It makes a straightforward case for how social protection policies and systems are key to implementing each SDG.
- UNESCAP (2018). Social Development Policy Guides: Why We Need Social Protection (Publication)
- This policy guide shows how investing in inclusive social protection can accelerate progress for each SDG.
Global and regional data & reviews
- ILO (2021). World Social Protection Report 2020-22: Social protection at the crossroads – in pursuit of a better future [French] [Spanish] (Publication)
- ILO’s flagship report that presents the latest social protection trends. The report analyses the progress regarding universal social protection coverage in the world, with a particular focus on achieving the SDGs. The document includes a chapter exploring how to build the statistical knowledge base on social protection to monitor relevant SDGs.
- World Social Protection Data Dashboards (Database)
- This database provides data on the achievement of the SDG 1.3.1 and on social protection expenditure around the world.
MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa
- ESCWA (2022). Annual SDG Review 2022 (Publication)
- A chapter on social protection providing a review of the main measures adopted by Arab states during the COVID-19 pandemic and what countries can do moving forward to achieve the SDGs.
- ILO (2021). World Social Protection Report 2020–22: Regional companion report for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (Publication)
- Highlights key developments, challenges, and priorities for social protection in the MENA region.
- ILO (2021). Africa Regional Social Protection Strategy, 2021-2025: Towards 40 % – a social protection coverage acceleration framework to achieve the SDGs – (Publication)
- The strategy addresses the root causes of coverage deficits in the continent, establishes principles that should guide the extension of social protection, and identifies three action areas to accelerate the achievements of the SDGs in Africa.
Asia and the Pacific
- UNESCAP (2022). Reclaiming our future: A common agenda for advancing sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific (Publication)
- This report describes pathways to achieve more inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic recovery. It identifies elements for a common agenda to advance sustainable development in the region.
- ILO (2022). World Social Protection Report 2020-22: Regional companion report for Asia and the Pacific (Publication)
- Provides a regional overview that highlights key developments, challenges, and priorities for social protection in the Asia and Pacific region from a lifecycle perspective.
- ADB, UNDP & UNESCAP (2020). Fast-Tracking the SDGs: Driving Asia-Pacific Transformations (Publication)
- This report presents and compares data from 2010 to 2018 on how countries in the region progressed on delivering the SDGs. It also covers common features of successful policies in countries that made rapid progress, whilst suggesting key strategies for accelerating the transformations needed for achieving the SDGs.
SDG governance, expenditure, and financing
- Takeshima, H, Smart, J. & Diao, X (2021). Public expenditure’s role in reducing poverty and improving food and nutrition security: Preliminary cross-country insights based on SPEED data (Publication)
- This publication explores how public expenditures in social protection and other areas contributed to key SDG outcomes in the past, especially on SDGs 1 and 2.
- Callies, L. (June 2019). Financing the Social Protection Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (Blog)
- This blog post presents eight financing options to enable the generation and mobilisation of resources for social protection.
- ODI (2019). Child poverty in Africa: An SDG emergency in the making (Publication)
- This briefing paper identifies five critical areas where public policies need to respond to child poverty: cash transfers, increased and more equitable public spending, adolescent children, fiscal policy, aid partnerships. It includes a section covering child poverty scenarios for 2030.
- Hujo, K. and Carter, M (2019). Transformative Change for Children and Youth in the Context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Publication)
- This paper develops a conceptual framework to help assess the transformative potential of policies for children and youth and analyses a range of relevant factors which present both challenges and opportunities for fostering child rights and well-being through the implementation of Agenda 2030.
- ILO & UNICEF (2019). Towards universal social protection for children: Achieving SDG 1.3 (Publication)
- Towards the aim of achieving SDG 1.3, this joint report provides an overview of the state of social protection for children, with a focus on child and family cash benefit programmes, examining aspects like effective coverage and financing, and social protection in risk-prone, fragile, and humanitarian contexts.
Food security & agriculture
- UNICEF, FAO, WFP, WHO & IFAD. (2022). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022: Repurposing food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets more affordable (Publication)
- This publication highlights how social protection policies may be necessary to mitigate trade-offs from repurposing public support to food and agricultural policies to achieve different SDGs.
- FAO (2019) Transforming Food and Agriculture to Achieve the SDGs: 20 interconnected actions to guide decision-makers (Publication)
- This guide presents a set of actions to speed up the transformation to sustainable food and agriculture; including actions more directly connected to social protection. It is recommended to decision-makers responsible for integrating the SDGs into national policies and programmes.
- Orjingene, O., Okoli, U., Adetunji-Hassan, A., Ganama, M. (2022). Universal Health Coverage: A Catalyst for Achieving 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (Publication)
- This article provides a systematic literature review to identify Universal Health Coverage implementation strategies adopted by different countries and how the strategies have contributed to achieving the 2020 agenda.
- Carter, D., Glaziou, P., Lönnroth, K., Siroka, A., Floyd, K., Weil, D., Raviglione, M., Houben, M. G. J., Boccia, D. (2021). The impact of social protection and poverty elimination on global tuberculosis incidence: a statistical modelling analysis of Sustainable Development Goal 1 (Publication)
- The publication links key indicators related to social protection coverage expansion to tuberculosis incidence via data from the SDG data repository and the WHO tuberculosis database for 192 countries. This report is recommended for those who are particularly interested in health policies and health systems.
- IAP (2020). Caught in the COVID-19 storm: women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in the context of UHC and the SDGs (Publication)
- This report reviews accountability and progress in women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health towards the SDGs. It highlights what is working and what is not and recommends how countries, development partners, and stakeholders can strengthen accountability to accelerate progress.
Inequality and poverty reduction
- UNDP, OPHI & University of Oxford (2019). How to Build a National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): Using the MPI to inform the SDGs (Publication)
- This handbook provides practical guidance for policymakers, statisticians, practitioners, and others seeking or engaged in developing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), in line with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
- Conrad, E. (July 2021). Changes Needed to Improve Existing Efforts to Eradicate Poverty and Reach SDG 1 (Blog Post)
- This blog post argues that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated vulnerabilities in global efforts to eradicate poverty – which was already off track before the crisis – and discusses what changes in social protection systems and policies are needed to reshape progress towards SDG 1.
Universal social protection (USP)
- Brito, R. (August 2021). Universal social protection in the context of the SDGs – where are we now? (Blog Post) (See also related Webinar)
- This blog summarises different institutional understandings of universal social protection, and discussion related to the challenges of expanding social protection and consequent implications for the SDGs.
- ILO (2019). Universal Social Protection: Key concepts and international framework. (Publication)
- Discusses a comprehensive framework for achieving universal social protection and situates it as anchored in the 2030 Agenda, especially SDG 1, target 1.3., as well as other international rights frameworks.
The role of South-South Cooperation
- UNICEF, WFP, AUDA-NEPAD & socialprotection.org (March 2022). The role of South-South and triangular cooperation in addressing the triple burden of malnutrition in children and its potential contribution to achieving national SDG 2 targets (Webinar)
- This webinar highlights the role of South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC) in delivering the SDG 2 targets, in particular, reducing prevalence of undernutrition and malnutrition in Africa.
- UNOSSC & ESCWA (July 2021). South-South cooperation for more inclusive and sustainable social protection systems in the COVID-19 recovery and achievement of the 2030 Agenda (Webinar)
- This webinar highlights the potential of intra and inter-regional South-South cooperation in advancing more inclusive and sustainable social protection systems in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and during the Decade of Action.
Figures on overall progress (not only SP related)
- United Nations (2022). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022. (Publication)
- Provides a global overview of global and regional progress towards the 17 Goals with in-depth analyses of selected indicators for each Goal, using the latest available data and estimates.
- UNSTATS (June 2022). Sustainable Development Goals Progress Chart 2022. (Infographic)
- The progress chart presents 1) a trend assessment using stoplight colours to measure progress towards the target, and 2) a level assessment using a gauge meter to measure the current level of development and its distance to the target.
- Global SDG Indicators Data Platform (Database)
- SDG Global Database gives you access to data on more than 210 SDG indicators across the globe by country, region, or time period.