Sustainable development

Social protection and inclusion

Social protection is a human right. Social protection systems which are well-aligned with 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.  

To achieve this, we must go beyond formal social protection systems and ensure that those most at risk gain access to the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social, cultural and political life.

Social inclusion policies are designed to address the underlying drivers of exclusion, including prejudices, legal and policy frameworks, and how institutions are set up and deliver services. They also encourage agency of those who are excluded.

Skills, trainings and internships strengthen Roma inclusion in the Albanian workforce.
Across the Western Balkans, Roma face challenges to their human rights and accessing basic rights and services.
A new curriculum in Turkmenistan enables hearing impaired students to share classes with those who aren’t and learn employable skills.
In Montenegro, UNDP and partners are making social services tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable and more accessible.

UNDP’s work on social protection and inclusion is reflected throughout the Agenda 2030. We 

  • Support countries to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, leading to substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable; 
  • Encourage universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health services, and medicines and vaccines for all;
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure, and social protection policies;
  • Work for full and productive employment for all, with protection of labour rights and safe working environments;
  • Support empowerment and promotion of social, economic and political inclusion of all, including the adoption of fiscal wage and social protection policies to achieve greater equality;
  • 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, and bring social protection floors to the region.

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