Page content

Poverty and inequality

Social protection

Social security is a human right. Everyone has the right to an existence worthy of human dignity supplemented by a means of social protection. Among Eastern European and Central Asian countries all the other countries apart from Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have directly stated in their constitutional law that everyone has the right to social security.  Social protection systems which are well-aligned to labour markets and employment policies can help address inequalities and promote more inclusive growth. Comprehensive social inclusion policies can ensure that the principle of “leaving no-one behind” is put into practice.

Over the years, social protection policies in the countries of the region have not made sufficient progress.  Strengthening traditional social protection systems will become a hallmark of future resilience but should also go beyond traditional approach by proposing innovative policy solutions ensuring that everyone has access to the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social, cultural and political life.

UNDP’s work on social protection and inclusion is reflected throughout the Agenda 2030 and has been adapted to new challenges faced by countries in the region.

  • Support countries to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems, leading to full coverage of the poor and the vulnerable, improve adequacy, coverage of social protection, and promote equity;
  • Promote higher spending on social protection, including support in assessment of financial capacities and identification of fiscal spaces;   
  • Support countries to implement shock-responsive social protection systems, prepare systems to covariate shocks and make them and people more resilient to shocks;
  • Support in extending the social protection coverage to non-standard forms of employment, including digitalization and legal reforms;
  • Support empowerment and promotion of social, economic and political inclusion of all, including the adoption of minimum wage and social protection policies to achieve equity and protection;
  • Help countries develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels and to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision making.
  • As part of the regional Issue Based Coalition on social protection, UNDP is working with other UN agencies to address gaps in social protection access and coverage in the region.