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The impact of social protection on the lives of children

Social protection is increasingly becoming a key determinant of development in almost all the developing world. Recent global food, fuel, economic and financial crises drew attention to the importance of social protection (SP) in mitigating the impact of these shocks on poor and vulnerable households, and on children in particular.

Some of the available evidence indicates that social protection, if well designed and targeted, can address most of the dimensions of their wellbeing. And, as illustrated by the joint statement on child-sensitive social protection by some of the main international development partners (under UNICEF leadership), there is a rising recognition of the specific role of social protection for children.

However, there is no consensus yet on the design of social protection systems to maximise the impact of social protection on children: should programmes be directly targeted on children; should programmes include human capital-related conditionalities; should benefits be made in the form of food and/or cash; etc. Researching on the impact of social protection on the lives of children will be useful to policymakers (to take stock of the existing body of evidence), to researchers (to inform the future research areas in this field), and eventually to inform UNICEF’s position on social protection.

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