Agenda 2030: Leave no one behind - Online dialogue on inclusive social protection for displaced children and their families

This year marks the midpoint to 2030. The recently released report of the Secretary General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: towards a rescue plan for people and planet found, however, that only about 12 per cent of the SDG targets are on track, while 30 per cent have either seen no movement or even regressed below the 2015 baseline. If current trends continue, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030 and only one third of countries will meet the target to halve national poverty levels. Forcibly displaced children are among those left furthest behind. In 2022, global displacement numbers surpassed the 100 million mark for the first time. While children account for 30 per cent of the world’s population, at 40 per cent, they are overrepresented among all forcibly displaced. Children are already twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty,  but when coupled with displacement, this situation takes on a significantly graver magnitude. Displaced children and their families often also have limited means of dealing with socio-economic shocks or accessing protection from violence.
Social protection is a proven policy and programme measure to eradicate poverty and vulnerability, and accordingly forms the SDG target 1.3.1 in the past few years, social protection has also emerged as a critical mechanism to help those impacted by crises to prepare for, cope with and recover from shocks while contributing to their resilience building. It is increasingly seen as critical to strengthening the humanitarian-development-peace nexus with a strong momentum in support of inclusive social protection systems to progress towards universal coverage and comprehensiveness of support. However, displaced children and their families remain excluded from many national social protection systems.
At the same time, many countries have made important progress towards realising social protection benefits, by investing in the development of systems to support displaced and host communities, often in collaboration with international partners. These processes are accelerated through several initiatives:
  • In the lead up to the 2023 Global Refugee Forum (GRF), donors, refugee-hosting governments, UN agencies, and civil society organisations are rallying behind a mega-pledge on economic inclusion and social protection. The GRF – taking place on 13-15 December – and specific side events will among other focus on advancing inclusion of refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless people, and host communities in national social protection systems as a way to alleviate poverty and build self-reliance
  • Similarly, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement sets out a comprehensive approach to finding durable solutions to internal displacement, including strengthening age-sensitive approaches. Social protection is a key intervention to achieve the three interlinked goals of the IDP Action Agenda: to help IDPs find durable solutions to their displacement, prevent new displacement, and ensure IDPs receive effective protection and assistance. 
  • With the aim to extend the coverage of social protection to 4 billion additional people, the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions constitutes another initiative to advance the agenda for inclusive social protection. The Accelerator was launched with the objective to create at least 400 million decent jobs, including in the green, digital and care economies, and to extend social protection coverage to the 4 billion people currently excluded, in pathfinder countries committed to this agenda. This Global Accelerator is among the key mechanisms that will be discussed at the SDG Summit and has gained momentum with several governments committing to resourcing a joint SDG fund which will support country level implementation of initiatives aimed at strengthening social protection coverage and employment programmes and policies. 
The purpose of this dialogue was to discuss how these initiatives can strengthen inclusive social protection systems for forcibly displaced and host communities, including how they can be leveraged alongside the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions to benefit displaced populations. It builds on previous events, including the 2022 World Bank Fragility Forum session on ‘Delivering social protection in FCV contexts – lessons from the frontline’, the 2023 Roundtable ‘Leaving No One Behind: Social Protection solutions to support and protect children in displacement settings’, and Global Forum on Adaptive Social Protection session on The role of social protection in supporting forcibly displaced populations in times of crisis.


Kristen Engle, Team Lead Humanitarian Assistance Coordination, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Stefanie Hochheim, Senior Policy Counsellor, The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany 

Rebecca Holmes, Research Associate in the Equity and Social Policy Programme, ODI 

Mattia Polvanesi, Senior Social Protection Officer, UNHCR

Ato Feleke Jember, CEO for Social Protection, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Ethiopia

Laura Arango, Counsellor for Humanitarian Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the UN


Moderator: Nupur Kukrety, Policy Specialist – Social Protection, UNICEF


 [1] SDG 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