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Social Spending Monitor

Protecting and Transforming Social Spending
Amid COVID-19 for Inclusive Recoveries

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Introduction


Protecting and Transforming Social Spending
Amid COVID-19 for Inclusive Recoveries

Realizing all children’s rights does not come for free. To achieve this indispensable goal, careful planning and budgeting are needed. By collaborating with key partners, UNICEF’s Public Finance for Children work seeks to enhance the transparency, quality and size of public spending on children, to ensure that even the most disadvantaged children are supported.

 

The emerging global economic crisis threatens to decimate progress made on social spending for children in recent years. Even before the pandemic, social sector spending in most countries was grossly inadequate to address the challenges and inequalities most children faced. Experience from past crises shows that social spending works to protect children. UNICEF Innocenti’s new publication series with UNICEF's Programme Division monitors, advocates for, and supports better social spending.

 

In-Focus Reports


Each quarter, the series takes a deep dive into a pressing issue affecting social spending. These focused reports include case studies from countries around the world.

 

 


COVID-19 and the looming debt crisis

Compounding the COVID-19 pandemic is a looming debt crisis for low- and middle-income countries where a growing debt burden threatens to crowd out social spending for children.

This policy brief explores whether the current support from the international community is enough to maintain spending on basic services during COVID-19. It highlights countries that are most at risk due to high levels of poverty, as well as those less likely to benefit from the G20 Debt Standstill (DSSI). It concludes that a new international debt restructuring architecture, which encompasses the needs of poorer countries, is crucial to protecting children’s rights in the wake of COVID-19.

Download the Debt Crisis report

 


COVID-19 and Shrinking Finance for Social Spending

In the wake of COVID19, investing in education, health, and social protection is key for every child to thrive. However, many low- and middle-income countries struggle to prioritize social spending on education, health, and social protection.

This policy brief is the second in a series that assesses key issues affecting social spending as part of UNICEF’s work on Public Finance for Children. The brief examines how recent trends are impacting on the financing available for, and directed to, social spending in low- and middle-income countries in different regions, using secondary analysis of public expenditure data collected by international organizations.

Download the Social Spending report

 

Monthly Updates


Monthly reports track social spending, highlight any updates, provide key messages on social spending, and identify opportunities for improvements. An accompanying dataset, updated each month, details the financial response to COVID-19 by country. 28 countries will be added each month (four countries from each of UNICEF's seven regions), starting with the poorest countries in each region.

 

Download the dataset

 

 

Debt distress in MENA and its implications for social spending on children
Report

Debt distress in MENA and its implications for social spending on children

Despite a better economic forecast for 2021–2022, the United Nations warns that COVID-19 could drive an additional 8.3 million people into poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with increasing inequality adversely affecting vulnerable groups. As one of the most highly indebted regions in the world, MENA has limited fiscal space to finance the additional spending needed to counteract the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.
Debt distress in MENA and its implications for social spending on children
Report

Debt distress in MENA and its implications for social spending on children

Despite a better economic forecast for 2021–2022, the United Nations warns that COVID-19 could drive an additional 8.3 million people into poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with increasing inequality adversely affecting vulnerable groups. As one of the most highly indebted regions in the world, MENA has limited fiscal space to finance the additional spending needed to counteract the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.
August 2021: Financing Social Spending During COVID-19
Report

August 2021: Financing Social Spending During COVID-19

This is the fifth and final monthly update of the Social Spending Monitor publication series, which aims to shed light on social spending during the COVID-19 era.
July 2021: Financing Social Spending during COVID-19
Report

July 2021: Financing Social Spending during COVID-19

This is the fourth monthly update of the Social Spending Monitor publication series, which aims to shed light on social spending during the COVID-19 era.
June 2021: Financing Social Spending in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19
Report

June 2021: Financing Social Spending in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19

This is the third monthly update of the Social Spending Monitor publication series, which aims to shed light on social spending during the COVID-19 era.
May 2021: Financing Social Spending in Lower and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19
Report

May 2021: Financing Social Spending in Lower and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19

This is the second monthly update of the Social Spending Monitor publication series, which aims to shed light on social spending during the COVID-19 era.
April 2021: Financing Social Spending in Lower and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19
Report

April 2021: Financing Social Spending in Lower and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19

This is the first monthly update of the Social Spending Monitor publication series, which aims to shed light on social spending during the COVID-19 era
1 in 8 countries spends more on debt than on education, health and social protection combined
Article

1 in 8 countries spends more on debt than on education, health and social protection combined

FLORENCE/NEW YORK, 1 April 2021 – Around 1 in 8 countries globally spends more on debt than on social services, according to a UNICEF report released today. COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis notes that 25 countries globally – the majority of them already burdened by poverty and deprivation – spent a higher proportion of total government expenditure on debt service in 2019 than they did on education, health and social protection combined. Global efforts are needed to protect social spending, and with it the right of every child to social security, education and health services, says the report.

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