Developing and integrating social protection systems

Project description


Developing and integrating social protection systems

Commissioned by:

German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)



Overall term:

2014 to 2017


Although it is a human right, three quarters of the world's population are living with insufficient social protection. They are not protected against major risks such as illness, unemployment, poverty in old age or the loss of property and production inputs. Their ability to help themselves is reduced and they run the risk of succumbing to poverty or going hungry. In many countries, traditional mutual benefit associations are the only form of social protection available. Rapid population expansion, social and cultural change, growing inequality, climate change and migration are resulting in these structures increasingly reaching breaking point.

Social protection measures and systems can protect people from major risks and prevent poverty. They are also able to promote inclusive growth by strengthening poor people's productivity and readiness to invest. Introducing a comprehensive social protection system that goes beyond simply reducing poverty is important, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies, in order to generate long-term growth and decrease inequality.


The effectiveness and visibility of German development cooperation in the development and expansion of inclusive social protection systems is strengthened by means of preparatory, accompanying and evaluating measures.


The sector project's advisory services are geared towards a systematic approach and are focused on social protection in the event of illness, basic insurance, old-age pensions and also accident and microinsurance.

This systematic approach to social protection is intended to ensure that people are covered against risks throughout their entire lives. Individual social protection tools such as basic insurance and social insurance are to be efficiently interlinked. In the policy formulation process, social protection strategies are to be coordinated with those of other sectors, such as employment and food security, so as to increase the effectiveness, sustainability and resilience of the population.

  1. Germany's contribution to the international discussion

    The sector project is supporting the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in producing strategies to develop and expand social protection systems. The sector project is advising the Ministry on the strategic positioning of social protection within international processes such as the Post-2015 Development Agenda and development financing. It is also processing strategies and providing expertise from partner countries to support BMZ's strategic alignment in international discussions. On behalf of BMZ, the sector project is taking part in international committees and organising events.
  2. Conceptual development of tools and methods

    The sector project is developing tools and methods for designing social protection systems sustainably and inclusively. This is being carried out with partners at international and country level on behalf of BMZ. The process of developing tools is broad-based and includes analysis frameworks for national strategies and programmes, tools for evaluating social protection measures and also specific methods relating to old-age pensions, basic insurance and social protection in the event of illness. The project is also developing innovative approaches to insurance schemes.
  3. Supporting partner countries

    The sector project is helping partner countries to establish and expand social protection systems. To this end, application-oriented strategies and advice are being provided in conjunction with German development cooperation projects in partner countries. The aim here is to expand existing German development cooperation projects meaningfully to include social protection programmes and approaches, and advise partner countries on the development of new strategies and measures.


The sector project's work to date has played a part in strategies for designing poverty-oriented social protection systems being adopted by political decision-makers in partner countries, and has enabled the positioning of German development cooperation as an international player in the field of social protection.
For example, support has been provided to the Bangladesh Government in setting up a comprehensive social protection system for textile workers, and in developing social insurance schemes. Textile workers in Bangladesh, who are mostly young women, are often not insured against risks such as workplace accidents, illness, unemployment and old age.

The sector project is advising BMZ on the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B), a body set up at the request of the G20 Development Working Group with the aim of enhancing and coordinating international cooperation.

Acting on behalf of BMZ, the sector project has been instrumental in initiating the Inter-Agency Social Protection Assessment (ISPA) toolbox. Together with other bilateral and international organisations such as the World Bank, the International Labour Organization and the European Union, various tools are being developed for the coordinated assessment and provision of advice regarding social protection systems in partner countries.