This blog post has been prepared by the 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 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.
  • 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.


Global and regional data & reviews



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.

Asia and the Pacific

  • 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


Child 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.
  • 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




Inequality and poverty reduction

  • 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)


The role of South-South Cooperation


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.
Social Protection Building Blocks: 
  • Policy
    • Expenditure and financing
    • Governance and coordination
    • Monitoring and evaluation systems
  • Programme performance / impact analysis
Social Protection Approaches: 
  • Social protection systems
  • Universal Social Protection
Cross-Cutting Areas: 
  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Child Protection
  • Food and nutritional security
  • Health
  • Inequalities
  • Poverty reduction
  • South-South cooperation
  • Global
  • East Asia & Pacific
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • South Asia
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
The views presented here are the author's and not's