Making public finance management work for social protection, lessons learned from Senegal and Nepal


The COVID-19 crisis has shown that social protection is essential to protect people, economies and societies in the event of systemic shocks. It has highlighted the urgency of building national social protection systems that are strong, universal, and sustainable. According to the latest World Social Protection Report (ILO, 2021) gaps in the coverage, comprehensiveness and adequacy of social protection systems are associated with significant underinvestment in social protection, particularly in Africa, the Arab States and Asia. Countries spend on average 12.9 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on social protection (excluding health), but this figure masks staggering variations. With low-income countries spending as low as 1.1 per cent of their GDP on social protection, they will need an additional $77.9 billion (16% of their GDP) to close the financing gap for building social protection floors.

Since October 2019, the Global Action on “Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management” (SP&PFM) supports 18 low-income countries to strengthen social protection systems, including through improved linkages with public finance management and their increased financial sustainability. 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), in collaboration with EU Delegations and partner governments, the SP&PFM Programme currently disposes of a relevant set of experiences and lessons learnt on the design, implementation and financing of social protection systems. The Programme is organising a series of webinars in order to capitalise on such experiences, reflect on lessons learnt and challenges faced, contributing to the international debate on innovative solutions to achieve universal and sustainable social protection coverage.

This webinar presented concrete experiences on innovative options for reaching increased and sustained social protection financing. It started with a presentation that provides insight on the Programme’s approach and interventions to improve the linkages between social protection and public finance management, in alignment with international social protection principles. More specifically, the Programme supports broad national dialogue with evidence gathered through diagnostic of social protection systems, gap analyses, cost simulations, fiscal space analyses and financing options assessments. The Programme also supports countries in linking public financial management to social protection throughout the budget cycle.  

This was followed by country experiences presented by the Programme teams in Nepal and Senegal. These presentations focused on methodologies, tools, lessons learnt and current challenges on

  • How to improve the link between Social Protection and Public finance management, especially in the current context of COVID-19 crisis and recovery?;
  • How to accompany the national decision-making process to identify priorities and financing options towards a universal and adequate social protection coverage, including a social protection floor?;
  • How to strengthen the role of social partners and civil society organizations to strengthen social protection budgeting and financing?



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

Céline Peyron Bista – SP&PFM Chief Technical Adviser, ILO

Tomoo Okubo – Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF

Alix Machiels – Junior Professional Officer, ILO Senegal

Usha Mishra Hayes – Chief Social Policy, Evidence and Evaluation, UNICEF Nepal

Bart Verstraeten – General Director, WSM

Uzziel Twagilimana – Deputy Director Programmes, WSM


Moderator: Aristide Kielem, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF


This was the first 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).