Financing disability-inclusive social protection systems


The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an emerging global economic crisis with severe, long-lasting detrimental socio-economic impacts. Deeply diverging recoveries that the world now witnesses significant risks of increased poverty, inequalities, unemployment, and social unrest across the world, particularly impacting people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The latest ILO estimates of effective social protection coverage show that only 33.5 per cent of people with severe disabilities worldwide receive a disability benefit. Post the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1 billion people worldwide living with disabilities have been experiencing difficulty accessing vital services and opportunities in education and employment. Without a disability-informed approach to recovery, persons with disabilities are at increased risk of being further left behind and falling into poverty and among them, those with intersecting vulnerabilities, i.e. women or children with disabilities are particularly at risk.

Funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF, and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), the Social Protection and Public Finance Management Programme (SP&PFM Programme)’s approach to building disability-inclusive social protection systems is grounded in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the joint statement entitled “Towards inclusive social protection systems supporting the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities”, adopted in 2018 by a coalition of UN agencies, bilateral development agencies, organizations of people with disabilities and NGOs. Disability-inclusive social protection systems guarantee effective access to health care and income security, including coverage of disability-related costs, for all people with disabilities. They usually comprise a combination of general and disability-specific schemes, both cash and in-kind schemes, which are designed in ways that enable people with disabilities to participate actively in education, employment, and society and improve the protection of their social, economic, and labor rights. 

To ensure social protection systems are inclusive of persons living with disabilities, the SP&PFM Programme supports its partner countries to enable the effective participation of organizations of people with disabilities in the design, reform, implementation, and monitoring of social protection systems and programmes; to strengthen disability data and statistics to assess social protection needs of persons living with disability and to design programmes or specific features of existing programmes that facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities, including in the labor market and society; to assess disability specific costs and higher living costs for people with disabilities; to design inclusive social protection delivery mechanisms; to ensure the inclusion of disability in humanitarian responses, community based rehabilitation and care. 

As part of its knowledge exchange and communications initiative, the SP&PFM Programme is organizing a series of webinars to learn from country experiences and contribute to the international debate on innovative solutions to increase financing and improve PFM for strengthening national social protection systems to achieve universal coverage for all. 



Dörte Bosse, Head of Sector for horizontal coordination, social protection and disabilities, European Union Directorate-General for International Partnerships 

Alexandre Cote, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF 

Jasmina Papa, Social Protection Specialist for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, ILO

Sovannary Keo, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Cambodia

Moussa Thiare, Chair Person of FSAPH 


Moderator: Veronika Wodsak, Social Protection Policy Specialist, ILO


This is the third webinar of the Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management series, organised by the Social Protection and Public Finance Management Programme (SP&PFM Programme).