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evaluating WB’s Social Safety Nets

June 22, 2011


The World Bank just published a comprehensive evaluation of its work on Social Safety Nets around the world over the last 10 years. The support to Social Safety Nets, i.e. social assistance-type benefits, is one of the key elements of the Bank’s social protection strategy and programme by means of lending and technical advice to countries. Some of the key recommendations of the independent evaluation group point towards the need to increase engagement with low-income countries (as many efforts have been directed towards MICs), the need to build systems to make social safety nets sustainable and resilient against shocks and to increase administrative capacity. Many of these messages are also mirrored in the Bank’s new strategy on social protection and labor that is currently under development.

Interestingly, questions raised by the evaluation group on the narrow definition and perspective of SSN didn’t make it to the final recommendations. Both the chairperson and the external advisory panel point towards the need to consider traditional social protection mechanisms as well as issues of chronic poverty and the intergenerational transmission of poverty in their final remarks. These concerns, however, have not been translated into concrete recommendations to broaden the SSN perspective for it to address the more complex nature and drivers of poverty.


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