Exploring and Strengthening the Intersections between Social Protection, Employment and Inclusive Growth

It is becoming increasingly evident that social protection has an important role to play in making growth processes more inclusive and resilient. It contributes to enhancing equity and mitigating vulnerability in the face of shocks and barriers to the full and productive absorption of the labour force by market‐driven processes alone. Less acknowledged are the implications of these contributions to broadening the domestic sources of growth so as to make the growth trajectory more inclusive through a combination of micro, meso and macro‐level impacts on demand, productivity and resilience. The response to the recent crisis, and the strategies that were adopted by various countries prior to that point to promising moves in this direction while demonstrating the potential for both nationally adapted and innovative approaches to design and scaling‐up. Many of the programmes were home grown and with significant potential for south‐south, north‐south, and triangular exchange and cooperation where the terms of the discourse can be informed by developments in the South. The recent experiences also point to gaps and areas, which need urgent attention. The paper explores these issues from the perspective of designing for resilience and productive inclusion. It looks at additional sources of vulnerability that increasingly need to be better incorporated into social protection and social policies – e.g. emergency and medium term actions to ensure food security, the frequency of extreme weather patterns and the emerging impacts of climate change on various crops, the growing threat of desertification in some places coupled with alternating and unpredictable cycles of drought and excessive rainfall. While social protection programmes are increasingly acknowledging the imperative to recognize gender‐differentiated priorities and impacts, continuing inequities faced by poor women in both paid and unpaid care work remain as a source of concern. New programme approaches from the South and the North point to how addressing these inequities can underpin an employment‐ friendly recovery and growth process.