Japan

Rising Social Protection as Poverty Reduction Policy

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For the past 2 years, when I was neglecting to update any single articles, social protection has become more and more popular as a development approach both in the world and Japan.

Growing Attention to Social Protection

Most of major development partners clearly address social protection in their strategy. As usual, the World Bank and DFID are two big promoters of rising trend. The bank established its mid-term strategy on social protection as one of main investment pillars towards 2022. DFID is a traditional player in mainstreaming social protection with a framework of Transformative Social Protection introduced by Devereux, Institute of Development Studies. UN took an action a little behind the above two frontiers. ILO coordinated the UN agencies to launch the Social Protection Floor initiative, which the member countries agreed upon. WHO also joined ILO with an interest in universal health coverage. In turn, Japan is far behind the world trend. There are almost no world recognised academic works or practical debates on the recent aid modality of social protection. This is obviously because Japanese aid has not been paying attention to it. But we can see some initial discussions started in the government, think-tank, and academic institutions. In fact, many people recently search related words to social protection in Japanese and reach this blog, THE POVERTIST.

Japanese Aid Stepping Forward

In 2009, my motivation to start writing articles here was to promote awareness and understanding of social protection as well as poverty reduction in Japan. At that time, there was absolutely no adequate translation for social protection in Japanese if you searched it on google. But today we can see more attention paid on the issue. In the next decade, I believe that social protection will remain a single major approach addressing poverty reduction, and Japan’s aid will also need to consider how to operationalise the concept. It may be the best time to restart THE POVERTIST to promote debate on social protection as well as for self-learning purpose.

Reference

・World Bank (WEB) Social Protection and Labor Strategy 2012-2022
・ILO (WEB) Social Protection Floor.
・Devereux & Sabates-Wheeler (2004) Transformative social protection. IDS Working Paper 232

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