Fiscal Space for Social Protection and the SDGs: Options to Expand Social Investments in 187 Countries

This paper presents eight financing alternatives, based on policy positions by the United Nations and international financial institutions, and shows that fiscal space for social protection and the SDGs exists even in the poorest countries. Of the eight options, six increase the overall size of a country’s budget: (i) increasing tax revenues; (ii) expanding social security coverage and contributory revenues; (iii) lobbying for increased aid and transfers; (iv) eliminating illicit financial flows; (v) borrowing or restructuring debt, and (vi) adopting a more accommodative macroeconomic framework. The other two options are about redirecting existing resources from one area to another, in this case social protection: (vii) re-allocating public expenditures and; (viii) tapping into fiscal and foreign exchange reserves.