Social expenditure, legislative frameworks and findings of impact evaluations of social protection in South Asia

This webinar discussed the main findings and takeaways of the following papers:  
  1. Social spending in South Asia: an overview of government expenditure on health, education and social assistance; 
  1. Social protection legislative frameworks in South Asia from a child-rights perspective 
  1. Evidence linking social protection programmes in South Asia with child poverty, economic growth and improvement in human development 
Paper 1 consists of a comparative social expenditure profile of South Asia, including a progressivity analysis and snapshots of important structural and circumstantial factors of countries in the region.  
Paper 2 comprises an analysis of legal frameworks for protecting and promoting children’s rights to social protection. It includes an analysis of global and regional frameworks for children’s rights, how they promote social protection, and how the different countries internalise and comply with them. This encompasses an analysis of countries’ constitutional provisions, statutory and sub-statutory laws, including a human-rights based analysis of the specific regulatory frameworks of over 50 programmes analysed in the paper “Overview of Non-contributory Social Protection Programmes in South Asia from a Child and Equity Lens” (presented in the first webinar of this series). 
Paper 3, in turn, discusses the findings of rigorous experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluation analyses of these 50+ programmes. More specifically, it will assess findings related to child poverty, economic growth and improvement in human development.  
This webinar focused on the following questions: 
  • What is the current level of public social expenditure in South Asian countries? How does it compare with other regions?  
  • What are the main features of existing legal and regulatory frameworks that lead to promoting children’s rights through social protection in South Asia? 
  • Do the legal frameworks of the region’s non-contributory social protection programmes comply with a human rights-based approach and global UNICEF social protection policy? 
  • What is the evidence of the impact of social protection programmes in South Asia? 
  • How do social protection programmes in the region contribute to economic growth and improvement in human development indicators, especially regarding children? 
Carolina Bloch, Researcher, IPC-IG 
Luca Lazzarini, Researcher, IPC-IG 
Yannick Markhof, Researcher, IPC-IG
Usha Mishra, Chief of Social Policy, Evidence and Evaluation at UNICEF


This was the third webinar of the Series ''Social Protection in South Asia – the landscape before the Covid-19, and a snapshot into responses to the crisis and the paths ahead'', jointly organised by the IPC-IG, UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), and Country Offices.