Key Issues of Data Protection for Social Protection and Implications for Linking Social Protection to Sustainable Employment

With support from 


Digital technologies are enabling a major shift in how social protection systems are designed and implemented and benefits and services delivered. They can bring various advantages and have the potential to accelerate processes, reduce costs, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and improve transparency and inclusiveness of social protection programmes. However, new technologies also carry inherent challenges and risks. In particular, they may impose considerable challenges to data protection and privacy. This is because social protection programmes collect, store and process substantial amounts of personal data and information, such as gender, age, socioeconomic status, or biometrics, which can be partially sensitive.

This has also implications for approaches that link social protection to sustainable employment, such as productive inclusion, graduation, or public works programmes. As these programmes have strong linkages to and are often implemented jointly with other sectors, there is often an increased need to collect, process, and exchange data of individuals, households, and communities cross-sectorally. This makes it indispensable to assess the specific risks for each of these programmes in more detail and define minimum requirements for ensuring data protection and privacy.

Against this background, the webinar aimed at discussing and raising awareness on key issues around data protection for social protection - as well as its implications for approaches that link social protection to sustainable employment.

More specifically, participants in the webinar had the opportunity to:
  • learn about the importance of data protection and privacy;
  • understand key concepts and principles of data protection and privacy;
  • reflect about transparent and fair information and communication with data subjects;
  • discuss how data protection and privacy issues have to be considered in programmes linking social protection to sustainable employment.

The main target audience of the webinar included policy makers and practitioners responsible for the design and implementation of social protection programmes linked to employment generation programmes, as well as representatives of authorities responsible for information systems underpinning these approaches, such as social and beneficiary registries or labour market information systems. 



Carolina Ferro, Researcher and consultant, Enabling Digital Rights and Governance

Ben Wagner, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at TU Delft

Dr. Maliki, Director for Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare, Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Indonesia

Meer Anwar, Director General Technology, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Pakistan

Rodolfo Beazley, Independent Researcher and Consultant


Moderator: Ralf Radermacher, Head of Programme, Global Alliances for Social Protection, at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH



Data Protection for Social Protection: Key Issues for Low- and Middle-Income Countries

SPEC Infographic Series on Employment Generation Programmes

SPEC Resources matrix on Social Protection for Employment

Raftree and Kondakhchyan (2021) CALP Data Responsibility Toolkit: A Guide for CVA Practitioners

IASC (2021) Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action


This was the eleventh webinar of the Linking Social Protection to Sustainable Employment webinar series, which was organized by GIZ and SPEC. Please join the Online Community Social Protection for Employment if you are interested in following the most recent discussions on the topic.