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Subjective well- being of Chinese elderly: a comparative analysis among Urban China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

23 Sep 2016 11:12:25 GMT

This paper investigates the relative importance of living arrangement and social participation for the elderly’s subjective well-being (happiness) in three Chinese societies (Hong Kong, urban China and Taiwan) with different levels of development. Based on comparable survey data, the authors find that co-residence with children is less closely associated with the elderly’s psychological well-being in the more developed society. The elderly in Hong Kong who live independently with a spouse are in a significantly better emotional state than those living with adult children and grandchildren. Social participation has a greater positive effect on subjective well-being among the aged in Hong Kong than among those in urban China and Taiwan.

Furthermore, elderly women may benefit more from independent living and social engagement than their male counterparts. These findings suggest that encourageing social participation among the elderly may be an effective way to enhance their well-being and achieve active ageing.

Climate change, vulnerability, food security and human health in rural Pakistan: a gender perspective

22 Sep 2016 04:59:35 GMT

Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries in the South Asian region given still overwhelming dependence of its population on agriculture which in turn mainly depends on the Indus Basin River System. The intensity and frequency of extreme climate events have increased in Pakistan during the recent decades.

In rural Pakistan, women and elderly are likely to suffer the most from adverse impacts of climate change as majority of them are engaged in/dependent on agriculture which is highly climate sensitive. Women and children are already an underpaid, overworked and exploited resource‘ and climate change will further increase this workload and accentuate their vulnerability. Yet, the gender vulnerability is one of the most ignored areas in the climate research.

This research explores the impact of climate change and gender differentiated socio-economic factors on household vulnerability. The study is based on the Climate Change Impact Survey (CCIS), 2013 data collected from 3430 farm households located in 16 districts of Pakistan representing all the major cropping systems and various categories of farms by tenancy and size of operational holding.

The results regarding health vulnerability regression model are suggestive that family composition by gender and age as well as literacy among females are important determinants of health vulnerability. It is observed that the households with higher number of younger family members are more health vulnerable. The farm households which have higher female ratio in their families are found to be more health vulnerable; whereas the households with greater ratio of educated females in the family are less health vulnerable. Finally, the results suggest that almost all climatic factors except Rabi season deviation of precipitation are important determinant of the health vulnerability and all the climatic variables enhance household level health vulnerability except the long run norm of the Kharif precipitation and Rabi-temperature which reduces health vulnerability.

The results of binary logit model estimated for food security are suggestive that family size and literacy among female members of the household are important determinants of the food security both affecting it positively and significantly. However, the composition of family by gender (female ratio) is not an important determinant of household food security. Finally, deviation of Rabi temperature from the long run norm and that of Rabi precipitation and Kharif precipitation have statistically significant effect on food security. The deviation in Rabi temperature has the adverse impact on food security as it affects wheat productivity, a staple food in Pakistan. The precipitation deviations in both the seasons have a positive impact on food security.

Means testing vs. universal targeting: assumptions of efficiency and affordability

20 Sep 2016 02:37:21 GMT

Whether social protection benefits should be assigned to all (universal) or kept only for those who meet certain criteria (targeting) remains one of the most contentious questions in social policy research. The purpose of this brief is to revisit two social policy assumptions around basic concerns of efficiency, affordability and sustainability of universal social pensions. Contrary to what many international organisations and scholars have argued, this brief forwards that universal social pensions are economically viable and efficient strategies to produce welfare and alleviate older-age income deprivations. The world clearly has the resources to implement basic social pensions on a global scale; the question is if there is also the political will to do it.

Key messages:

  • seventy-nine countries would be economically able to shift from targeted non-contributory pensions to basic universal non-contributory pensions with less than 1.2 per cent of the respective national GDPs
  • sixteen countries have means-tested/regional-tested non-contributory pensions more expensive than a hypothetical basic universal pension
  • an arbitrary threshold of “economic development” is not a limitation for implementing social pensions. At least 16 countries with a relatively low economic development have successfully implemented social pensions without targeting beneficiaries by means
  • universal social pensions are politically and economically viable and are efficient strategies to alleviate income poverty

Exploring the determinants of welfare distribution in Tunisia and Egypt using a welfare generation model

08 Sep 2016 11:59:54 GMT

The Tunisian revolution quickly sparked a wave of major uprisings in the region, starting from Egypt and spreading to other countries, such as Libya and Syria among others. Not surprisingly, the fuel of uprisings in these countries finds its main sources in inequality, in its various dimensions. Still, inequality patterns in the region are also different.

Countries such as Morocco and Tuni sia show relatively high inequality levels, while others, such as Egypt, show moderate to low inequality levels. Despite this, little is known about the sources of the differences in household welfare distribution across the MENA region countries.
The present paper intends to identify the main driving factors of the distribution of welfare in Tunisia and Egypt. The authors present a regression-based method to compare the labour market and demographic characteristics in both countries, as well as their impact on the distribution of consumption expenditures. For this, they develop a welfare generation model to generate estimates for the contribution of different demographics and labour characteristics for each country to welfare. This allows the authors to capture differences in both returns in employment and demographic characteristics. This paper presents the welfare generation model and its estimation results. These suggest that the most relevant factors in explaining the distribution of welfare are similar in Tunisia and Egypt. Some specific characteristics, such as education and regional characteristics have a different impact in each country.

Welfare impacts of climate shocks: evidence from Tanzania

31 Aug 2016 12:45:27 GMT

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the world’s most food-insecure region characterized by high levels of child mortality and poverty and low levels of human and physical capital (FAO, 2009). Countries in SSA, including Tanzania, heavily depend on a smallholder-based agricultural sector, which makes their welfare and food security particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The goal of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the impact of weather risk on rural households’ welfare in Tanzania using nationally representative household panel data together with a set of novel weather variation indicators based on interpolated gridded and re-analysis weather data that capture the peculiar features of short term and long term variations in rainfall and temperature. In particular, we estimate the impact of weather shocks on a rich set of welfare indicators (including total income, total expenditure, food expenditure and its share in total expenditure and calorie intake) and investigate whether and how they vary by different definitions of shocks - capturing changes in levels and variations over different time periods.

The authors find that both rainfall and maximum temperature variability exert a negative impact on welfare (i.e. no consumption smoothing) and that households that have adopted SLM practices are able to achieve income-smoothing. We also find that the most vulnerable rural households are much more affected by a rainfall deficit compared to the households in the top income quantile. Results underline the key role extension services play in enhancing adaptive capacity to reduce vulnerability to adverse weather conditions, as well as the importance of targeting the most vulnerable households in policy interventions to improve food security in the face of weather shocks.

MGNREGS in Odisha: the path

25 Aug 2016 11:19:35 GMT

Over the last eight years, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) bas become an important instrument for equitable growth, livelihood support, gender parity and social security in the country. In Odisha, the Scheme has been a strong pillar of support for the rural area in their quest for livelihood security. Today, more and more beneficiaries have come forward to regard the Scheme as a means of gainful employment. It has effectively targeted the most marginalized sections of society, including women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Now the State is moving towards increasing the scheme coverage, creating quality assets at the ground etc. It is strongly felt that a focused approach on implementation of MGNREGS will contribute towards the common and shared goals of empowerment of marginalized communities, and alleviation of rural poverty through creation of sustainable and productive assets. Hence the Department has brought out “MGNREGS in Odisha: The Path”
with the support of OMEGA (a DFID UK and Government of Odisha Partnership Initiative). The force field analysis made in this document to address the constraining forces in a logical way presents an interesting mosaic of different hues that would definitely provide a new flavour to MGNREGS implementation in the State.

‘Tomorrow Will Not Be Like Yesterday ’ Sahariya Tribals emerge from the shadows

19 Aug 2016 04:23:52 GMT

This edition in the series of Critical Stories of Change presents the story of Sahariya tribals categorized as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). They reside in contiguous areas of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Historically, they practiced shifting cultivation, hunting, gathering, pastoralism, and sometimes also adopted a nomadic life. Over time they were displaced out of their traditional habitats under the pretext offorest conservation and development projects resulting in loss of identity, culture, tradition, and livelihood.

Declared as encroachers over their own land and unable to cope up with the modern monetized society forced them to mortgage their land and compelled them into debt, and bonded labour. But what kept them there was the scale and severity of oppression by the upper caste that remained unchecked for decades. The Sahariya women were even further marginalized by the stranglehold of caste oppression, poverty and patriarchy.
This paper tells readers about the efforts of Manavadhikar Forum-a platform of 5 civil society groups who decided to take on the issues of the state of fear, chronic hunger and exploitation of the Sahariyas through their own organisation called Sahariya Jan Gatbandhan (SAJAG).
SAJAG’s efforts over the last decade have resulted in, freedom from fear, greater food security, improved access to government schemes , universal coverage of antodaya ration card, health-card and other social security schemes, release of bonded labourers and participation in governance structures of the village. Women have united under the banner of Jagrat Mahila Sangathan (JMS) and have addressed cases relating to domestic violence, atrocities and rape and have started challenging patriarchy within the community.

Identifying livelihood promotion strategies for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups under NRLM

19 Aug 2016 03:46:40 GMT

The National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), the flagship programme of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India (GoI), is keen to promote the development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) on a priority basis.

This report suggests suitable methodologies and analytical tools for making such assessments. It also presents certain broad principles and strategies which can be used while working with PVTGs.

Developing livelihoods and socio-economic conditions of PVTGs is a priority area for NRLM. Given the special characteristics of PVTGs, NRLM recognizes the need to evolve separate strategies for their development. Further, it recognizes the need to be flexible in approach and support those agencies which have been working closely with PVTGs or which have developed rapport with them.

The exercise covered in this report - organizing regional consultations in four states which have a substantial number of PVTGs -  proved to be productive and useful in a number of ways. It helped in identifying issues that are critical for the development of PVTGs. It also helped to throw light on some interesting ideas and initiatives taking place at the grassroots level. Finally it helped to bring together a number of resource persons, activists, and resource institutions keenly engaged and interested
in the development of PVTGs.

Some of the important conclusions of the consultations can be summarized as:
  • the importance of ‘right to habitat’ as a pre-condition for the rehabilitation and development of PVTGs
  • the need for state investment in basic infrastructure such as access roads, local haats, primary healthcare centres, schools, and anganwadis
  • urgent need to address health related problems and the need to set up a primary healthcare system that leverages indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants
  • designing interventions taking into account the present scenario resulting from the state of traditional habitats, the extent of isolation, and the extent of migration/displacement of PVTGs
  • need to spend considerable time in building rapport with the community and addressing felt-needs before moving on to livelihood augmentation
  • designing interventions only after learning about the culture of the PVTG in question and acknowledging, respecting, and leveraging indigenous knowledge about local biodiversity. Also, building upon the strengths of traditional institutions to manage natural resources on a sustainable basis
  • ensuring that the ‘honour and freedom’ of the PVTGs is preserved and not compromised in any way throughout the development process

Integrating disaster response and climate resilience in social protection programs in the Pacific Island Countries

18 Aug 2016 04:08:42 GMT

The Pacific i sland countries (PICs) are some of the most exposed to frequent natural disasters and climate shocks, and their vulnerability is increasing due to mounting effects of climate change as well as demographic and economic forces. Natural disasters hit the poorest hardest and have long -term consequences for human development. Social protection programs and systems have an important role in helping poor and vulnerable populations cope with the impacts of shocks as well as build long -term resilience. This paper discusses the potential role of social protection for disaster and climate risk reduction and management in PICs . It presents evidence and lessons from other regions, providing examples of tools and entry points for the develo pment of climate - and disaster- respons ive social protection interventions and context-specific recommendations for PICs.

This paper discusses the potential role of social protection for disaster and climate risk reduction and management in the PICs and intends to serve as a primer for World Bank engagement in social protection in the region. The study presents evidence and lessons from other countries and regions with the goal of providing examples of tools and entry points for the development of climate - and disaster - responsive social protection interventions.
However, given the Pacific region specific context and the characteristics of each country’s social protection (SP), climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) sector, it is important to keep in mind that some of these lessons will need to be extrapolated to other settings with due caution.

Increasing people’s resilience through social protection

12 Aug 2016 05:01:31 GMT

Climate-related shocks and stresses are posing significant obstacles to poverty reduction. Climate change could result in an additional 100 million people living in extreme poverty by 2030, unless climate-informed development interventions prevent some of its disastrous consequences.
This paper from BRACED draws from existing evidence to highlight how social protection programmes and systems can contribute to building the anticipatory, adaptive and absorptive capacity of vulnerable people who are exposed to climate shocks and disasters.
Key messages:
  • the increasing prevalence of climate-related extreme events is becoming an additional factor that exacerbates vulnerability and undermines efforts to reduce poverty. Social protection is a key policy tool to help people manage a range of risks to their livelihoods and wellbeing, including climate shocks
  • social protection can build anticipatory capacity by linking social safety nets with mechanisms to prepare and plan for
    climate extremes and disasters. It provides beneficiaries with the capacity to absorb shocks and meet their basic needs in times of hardship. If future risks are accounted for and adequate support is provided, social protection can play a role in building adaptive capacity in the long-term through sustainablelivelihood promotion
  • to ensure programmes can effectively reduce vulnerability to climate risks several factors need to be considered to make it ‘adaptive’ or ‘shock-responsive’. These relate to designing flexible and scalable programmes, ensuring the support provided reduces current as well as future vulnerability, and putting in place targeting, financing and coordination mechanisms that facilitate cross-sector responses to different types of risks

Statistical profile of scheduled tribes in India 2013

12 Aug 2016 03:01:26 GMT

The Government of India acknowledges the importance of a good database to deal with Scheduled Tribes’ affairs.This document contains information relating to some key characteristics pertaining to Scheduled Tribe population such as, trend analysis of their demographic profile, education, health, and employment status along with their proportions having basic amenities like, drinking water, electricity, and bank account etc. It also includes data on status of ST women, provision of various health infrastructure facilities, and poverty together with social and environmental statistics.

Tribal profile at a glance 2014

12 Aug 2016 02:54:50 GMT

Statistical Profile of Scheduled Tribes. This is done through collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of data and information on various facets of tribals and their socio-economic development  from different sources - Census, NSSO, NFHS, SRS, AIES, Government Departments, Budget Documents, Government Schemes (both State and Central level),  Special Component Plan for SCs/ STs, Nodal and Line Ministries (Rural Development, Human Resource Development, Women & Child Development, etc.).


What is the association between absolute child poverty, poor governance, and natural disasters? A global comparison of some of the realities of climate change

11 Aug 2016 11:18:19 GMT

The paper explores the degree to which exposure to natural disasters and poor governance (quality of governance) is associated with absolute child poverty in sixty-seven middle- and low-income countries. The data is representative for about 2.8 billion of the world ́s population. Institutionalist tend to argue that many of society’s ills, including poverty,
derive from fragile or inefficient institutions. However, our findings show that although increasing quality of government tends to be associated with less poverty, the negative effects of natural disasters on child poverty are independent of a country ́s institutional efficiency. Increasing disaster victims (killed and affected) is associated with higher rates of child poverty. A child ́s estimated odds ratio to be in a state of absolute poverty increases by about a factor of 5.7 [95% CI: 1.7 to 18.7] when the average yearly toll of disasters in the child ́s country increases by one on a log-10 scale. Better governance correlates with less child poverty, but it does not modify the correlation between child poverty and natural disasters.

The results are based on hierarchical regression models that partition the variance into three parts: child, household, and country. The models were cross-sectional and based on observational data from the Demographic Health Survey and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, which were collected at the beginning of the twenty-first millennium. The Sustainable Development Goals are a principle declaration to halt climate change, but they lack a clear plan on how the burden of this change should be shared by the global community. Based on our results, we suggest that the development agencies should take
this into account and to articulate more equitable global policies to protect the most vulnerable, specifically children.

The contribution of low-carbon cities to South Africa's greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals: briefing on urban energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

11 Aug 2016 04:30:36 GMT

South Africa is ranked among the world’s top 12 largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters, largely due to dependence on plentiful coal for electricity generation and an energy-intensive industrial and mining sector. Under the Copenhagen Accord, South Africa committed to cut emissions by 34% from business as usual (BAU) by 2020, and by 42% by 2025. These targets represented a relative, not absolute, decline in emissions and are conditional on international support. They follow a “peak, plateau, decline” (PPD) trajectory, where GHG emissions should peak by 2020, plateau until 2030 and begin to decline after 2030.South Africa faces many challenges: the economy is largely energy inefficient and resource-intensive, human development indices remain low, and inequality and unemployment are high. Energy- and other resource use patterns need to be addressed in order to move towards a sustainable, low-carbon and equitable country in a resource-constrained future.This paper aims to identify opportunities for urban emissions reduction in South Africa.  The key findings illustrate cities’ important role in reducing emissions in South Africa, including:c: The 18 major metropolitan areas and secondary cities in South Africa consume about 37% of the country’s energy, making them key drivers of change and players in South Africa’s economyities are key influencers of energy useenergy consumption per capita is decreasing at the same time as the economy is growing: Over a 10-year period, South Africa’s metro areas have experienced positive shifts in their energy and emissions profiles. While energy consumption has increased in absolute terms (which is expected for a developing country and is linked to population and economic growth), per-capita electricity consumption has been decreasing since 2007city actions are likely making an impact: Although it is not possible to state conclusively that these changes are due to abatement measures undertaken by municipal policy-makers, it is clear that the mitigation measures to expand renewable energy, improve energy access and promote energy efficiency currently underway in urban areas are reducing emissionsdespite recent efforts, emission reductions from transport sector are limited: The transport sector is the dominant energy- consuming sector in most cities across the country. In spite of several important public transport interventions, urban transport is still characterized by inefficient, congested roads and a dependence on private vehicles. While a few urban areas have progressive spatial planning frameworks, the urban form has not changed significantly.national government action is needed to enable urban abatement: There is a substantial opportunity for emissions and energy reduction to be achieved at the city level in South Africa. Many cities have already implemented key strategies, but these need to be implemented to scale with greater vertical alignment and support from national governmentmitigation measures must help accelerate integration and access to social and economic resources: to realize the full potential from urban action, the next step will be to move the work and approaches from a slightly marginal concept of emissions reduction to the heart of the city’s planning engine: squarely promoting an urban infrastructure, economy and form that accelerates integration and access to social and economic resources while ensuring sustainability and developing a low-carbon economy. This may entail shifts between the spheres of government whereby national government enables local government to assume additional powers relating to electricity generation and their revenue models. It requires strong partnerships between business[...]

Climate extremes and resilient poverty reduction

08 Aug 2016 03:58:48 GMT

Building resilience to climate extremes and disasters will help ensure the success of global efforts to eliminate extreme poverty. Reaching and sustaining zero extreme poverty, the first of the SDGs, requires a collective effort to manage the risks of current
climate extremes and projected climate change.
This report explores the relationships between climate change and poverty, focusing on climate extremes, on the basis that these manifestations of climate change will most affect our attempts to reduce poverty over the next 15 to 25 years. Framed by a wider analysis, three detailed studies – on drought risk in Mali, heatwaves in India and typhoons in the Philippines – illustrate the relationship between climate change, climate extremes, disasters and poverty impacts.
All three case studies show the disproportionate impact of climate extremes on those living below the poverty line and those who suffer from non-income dimensions of poverty. Immediate impacts on poor households include loss of life (and associated loss of household earnings), illness, and loss of crops and other assets. Longer-term effects include increases in the price of staple foods, a reduction in food security, malnourishment, malnutrition and stunting in children, as well as lower educational attainment.
The report calls for improved resilience to climate extremes as a requisite for achieving poverty reduction targets. To achieve this, planners and policy makers will need to support the strengthening of the absorptive, anticipatory and adaptive capacities of communities and societies. New ways of working are required to link institutions that have previously been poorly connected, with new criteria for decision-making, such as considering the best solutions across different possible climate futures. The scale of the challenge suggests more transformative actions may be necessary, including through the use of new risk financing mechanisms.

“If you have only dust in your hands, then friends are far; when they are full, they come closer”: an examination of the impacts of Zambia’s Katete universal pension

21 Jul 2016 12:10:27 GMT

For the past 10 years or so, Zambia has been experimenting with a universal old age pension in the district of Katete, in the east of the country. It has provided a regular pension to 4,500 older people aged over 60 years, 63% of whom were women. The recipients of the pension belong to the Chewa tribe. In 2010, the author undertook a study of the pension and, at the time, it provided people with a regular transfer of 120,0001 Kwacha (around US$23.50) per month. The pension was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare.

The Katete pension has had a transformative impact on the lives of older people, as well as on their wider communities. It has also helped address discrepancies between the ideal and reality with regard to how older people view themselves and how they are viewed by society. It enables older people to delay the inevitable decline into dependency on others and enables them to retain their humanity – as expressed in Chewa ideals – for as long as they can. By maintaining active mutual sharing and caring relations, they keep kinship and love alive. The pension has particularly positive benefits for those that have been marginalised in old age to re-incorporate themselves within intimate communities, which offer them care, respect and support, which they, because of their possession of cash, can reciprocate.Moving towards a much simpler universal pension, as in Katete, would make a lot of sense. The vast majority of older people in Zambia live in poverty and attempting to exclude the richest appears to add little – if any – value, in particular when they cannot be accurately identified. Furthermore, it would be preferable to provide the benefit as an individual entitlement so that households with more than one older person can receive multiple benefits. If not, households may be encouraged to split while particularly vulnerable households – with more than one older person (or person with a severe disability) – could receive a higher income, which they surely need.

Community-based social protection in the dry zone

14 Jul 2016 01:57:44 GMT

HelpAge International (Myanmar Country Office), with funding from LIFT donor consortium, has embarked on a three-year project to expand social protection to vulnerable households in Myanmar’s central dry zone. The project seeks to strengthen community and government capacity to protect vulnerable groups such as disabled and older people, and will deliver cash benefits to vulnerable households. As part of the project, HelpAge also seeks to enhance informal and community‐based systems and practices that are already working to provide support and assistance in the dry zone. To inform project activities and  discussions of social protection generally, this research was undertaken to investigate community‐based mechanisms, structures, and practices in dry zone villages that might be providing forms of social protection for vulnerable people living in these communities.


  • there is real need in dry zone communities that is not being met through current informal and community‐based practices. Cash transfers will reduce vulnerability and, if administered sensitively, should strengthen existing informal systems
  • principles of social hierarchy will structure villagers’ interpretations of cash benefits: these are likely to be treated as a form of patronage, perhaps entailing return obligations
  • to select beneficiaries, it would be most straightforward to rely on categories that villagers have already identified as people deserving of assistance: the elderly and those with disabilities. Poverty targeting is not recommended, at least not until villagers become more familiar with the principles of social protection
  • high‐status individuals should be advisors for the program. Perhaps the village administrator and/or the sayadaw (senior monk) could make case‐by‐case decisions about extending grants to those in situations of extreme vulnerability or destitution, assuming the role of patron. They already play that role to some extent
  • expanding the amounts and extending the repayment periods for no‐interest loans would be helpful for vulnerable people who are afraid to take loans because they cannot repay. I do not recommend setting up more revolving loan funds, as these seem to encourage indebtedness



Integrated Urban Development Framework and Implementation Plan

12 Jul 2016 03:13:45 GMT

In 2009, the number of people living in urban areas surpassed the number living in rural areas, announcing the 21st century as the urban century. The world’s attention is on the pivotal role of cities and identifying  alternative pathways for urban development that address poverty reduction and sustainable development. South Africa is firmly in this debate: by 2030, almost three-quarters (71.3%) of the country’s population will be living in urban areas.

The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) is government’s policy position to guide the future growth and management of urban areas. In the economic history of humanity, urbanisation has always been an accelerator of growth and development, bringing about enormous changes in the spatial distribution of people and resources, and in the use and consumption of land. Supporting policies and frameworks are therefore needed that can leverage the urbanisation process for increased development gains and sustainability.

The IUDF’s overall outcome – spatial transformation – marks a New Deal for South African cities and towns, by steering urban growth towards a sustainable growth model of compact, connected and coordinated cities and towns. Informed by this outcome and the NDP’s vision for urban South Africa, the IUDF aims to guide the development of inclusive, resilient and liveable urban settlements, while directly addressing the unique conditions and challenges facing South Africa’s cities and towns. Importantly, this vision for South Africa’s urban areas recognises that the country has different types of cities and towns, each with different roles and requirements. As such, the vision has to be interpreted and pursued in differentiated and locally relevant ways. To achieve this transformative vision, four overall strategic goals are introduced:

  • spatial integration: To forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas
  • inclusion and access: To ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices
  • growth: To harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development
  • governance: To enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work together to achieve spatial and social integration

Ageing in the Caribbean and the human rights of older persons: Twin imperatives for action

12 Jul 2016 01:15:54 GMT

Over the next twenty years, the Caribbean will see a rapid and dramatic ageing of its population. Over this period, the number of older persons will double: the number of persons aged 60 and over will increase from 1.1 million (or 13 per cent of the population) in 2015 to 2 million (or 22 per cent) in 2035.

The number of people aged 70 and over will increase from 500,000 (or 6 per cent) to 1 million (or 11 per
cent). The population will continue to age after 2035 albeit at a slowly diminishing rate. Over the next twenty years and beyond, all Caribbean countries and territories will see rapid ageing and significant increases in the proportion of older persons in their respective populations.
This study addresses the ageing of the Caribbean population and the situation with respect to the human
rights of older persons. It considers the implications for public policy of these ‘twin imperatives for action’. The first chapter describes and explains the changing age structure of the Caribbean population. Important features of the ageing dynamic, such as differential regional and national trends and the growing number of ‘older old’ persons, are also analysed.

The study then describes the progress that has been made in advancing and clarifying the human rights of older persons in international law. The core of the study then consists of an assessment of the current situation of older persons in the Caribbean and the extent to which their human rights are realised in practice. The thematic areas of economic security, health, and enabling environments – which roughly correspond to the three priority areas of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing – are each addressed in individual chapters. These chapters evaluate national policies and  programmes for older persons and make public policy recommendations
intended to protect and fulfil the human rights of older persons. The report concludes by summarising
the priorities for future action both through the establishment of new international human rights
instruments as well as national policies and programmes.

Labor market effects of pension reform: an overlapping generations general equilibrium model applied to Tunisia

08 Jul 2016 12:16:47 GMT

The problem of the sustainability of pay-as-you-go systems is becoming a serious concern for developing countries characterised by rapid demographic transitions and this problem will grow exponentially if nothing is done in the near future. Tunisia is a good example since its pension system has been in deficit since 2000 for the public sector fund and 2002 for the private one. According to the Tunisian National Statistical Institute (2009), the share of retirees in the population will increase from 10% in 2010 to 20% in 2034 due to the rapid ageing of the population. The increase in the dependency rate puts a heavy pressure on the financial viability of the social security system. This issue is becoming highly sensitive in the Tunisian public debate.
This paper develops an overlapping general equilibrium framework to capture the interactions among pension reform, labour market and inter-generational distribution issues in Tunisia. The impact on the labour market is addressed at the aggregate level but also by distinguishing different age categories. The three reform scenarios implemented to reduce the social security deficit consist in increasing social security contributions, reducing the replacement rate and postponing the retirement age.
The main result obtained is that increasing contribution rates is the worst solution in terms of welfare and unemployment, particularly for the youth. The best option is postponing the retirement age. Contrary to the traditional wisdom, it does not entail an increase of youth unemployment. For the two scenarios where aggregate welfare increases, the middle -aged are those that benefit the most from the reforms.

Social Protection and Climate Resilience

30 Jun 2016 06:42:06 GMT

This learning resource identifies lessons from a range of DFID programmes on how social protection builds climate resilience. It also contains a detailed list of current best reads. It was compiled as a result of consultations with DFID staff and draws on relevant DFID case studies to provide insights into:

•The working conceptual framework for defining climate resilience

•Climate responsiveness of social protection programming

•Key issues to consider when designing climate resilient social protection programmes - targeting, scalable and flexible shock responsive mechanisms, fragile states, long term and holistic resilience approaches, monitoring and learning.

The state of the World's children 2016: a fair chance for every child

28 Jun 2016 03:17:09 GMT

Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children 2016 argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children is not only a moral, but also a strategic imperative. Stakeholders have a clear choice to make: invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided world by 2030.

The report begins with the most glaring inequity of all – disparities in child survival – and goes on to explore the underlying determinants of preventable child mortality. It argues that to meet the 2030 child survival target, we must urgently address persistent disparities in maternal health, the availability of  skilled birth attendants, adequate nutrition and access to basic services, as well as other factors such as discrimination, exclusion and a lack of knowledge about child feeding and the role of safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene in preventing childhood disease.

The discussion continues with a look at one of the most effective drivers of development and the greatest equalizer of opportunity: education. Without quality education, disadvantaged children are far more likely to be trapped as adults in low-skilled, poorly paid and insecure employment, preventing them from breaking intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. But a greater focus on early childhood development, on increasing education access and quality, and on providing education in emergencies will yield cascading benefits for both this generation and the next.

Having discussed two of the most glaring deprivations children face, this report then examines child poverty in all its dimensions – and the role social protection programmes play in reducing it. Arguing that child poverty is about more than income, it presents a case for combining measures to reduce income poverty with integrated solutions to the many deprivations experienced by children living in poverty.

Finally, as a call to action, the report concludes with a set of principles to guide more equity-focused policy, planning and public spending. These broad principles include expanding information about who is being left behind and why; improving integration to tackle the multiple dimensions of deprivation; fostering and fuelling Innovation to reach the hardest-to-reach children; increasing investment in equity-focused programmes; and driving involvement by communities and citizens around the world.



Social protection for sustainable development: dialogues between Africa and Brazil

24 Jun 2016 02:32:47 GMT

Social protection programmes are among the most successful development experiences the world has seen in recent years. They have proven to be key in developing countries’ efforts to fight poverty and hunger, as demonstrated by the substantial progress countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia and Senegal have made in poverty reduction through the adoption and expansion of social protection schemes. These and other examples clearly show that social protection has the potential to contribute significantly to long-term sustainable development, especially when built under a broader, more integrated framework.

The International Seminar on Social Protection in Africa held in April 2015 in Dakar, Senegal created an important space for sharing such experiences and for promoting a social protection agenda as a key building block for human development. This Social Protection for Sustainable Development (SD4SD) report is based on the contributions and  recommendations of the International Seminar.

The convergence in the technical debate and the repercussion of the discussions in Dakar on high-level political forums within the African Union show that there are exceptional opportunities for cooperation between Brazil
and African countries and, more importantly, within Africa.

Social security reform and economic modeling capacity building in Indonesia

21 Jun 2016 02:13:22 GMT

Since 1999, economic growth and the rise of the services sector in urban areas have contributed to reducing poverty in Indonesia. While official poverty is relatively low at 12% (30 million persons), an additional 27% of the population (65 million persons) live just above the poverty line and small shocks can drive them back into poverty. These poor and vulnerable people face high food price risks (especially for rice); are highly exposed to health shocks; and are either unemployed or employed in low-skilled, low- productivity sectors. However, many individuals, mostly in the vulnerable category, have inadequate or no access to social protection services.

Key points:

  • the right to social security for all is enshrined in the Constitution since 2002. However, the social security system has had limited coverage, especially of the poor and the informal sector.
  • in 2004, Law No. 40 on National Social Security System (SJSN Law) mandated the extension of social security coverage to the entire population. In 2011, Law No. 24 regarding Social Security Administrators (BPJS Law) stipulated two administrative bodies to implement social security programs. BPJS Health became effective in 2014, and BPJS Employment in July 2015.
  • over the last decade, ADB has facilitated social security reform through support for developing laws and regulations, design of the health and pension, old-age savings, and death benefit programs, and analysis for improving fiscal sustainability of the reform
  • social security reform is a long-term and ongoing process. The government has made significant progress, but there are several challenges to be addressed—e.g., increasing informal sector participation; improved fiscal and financial management; and integrated M&E systems


The impact of fiscal subsidy on China's new rural pension system: a natural experiment

21 Jun 2016 02:02:54 GMT

The China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) has rapidly expanded since its first implementation in 2009,
and has covered all counties of China since 2012.
This paper studied the impact of fiscal subsidies on the participation rate and contributions of the rural residents in the China’s New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) program, where the fiscal subsidies include the incentive pension and the matching subsidy. The results showed that incentive Pension can significantly improve the rural residents' participation rates, but participation rate of young residents are less than the older residents. The authors also showed that matching subsidy does not affect the rural residents' participation significantly. Results suggestthat the current fiscal subsidies play an important role in the establishment and expansion of the NRPS program, but have not increased the participation rate of younger people, which was one of the initial goals of NRPS.

Demographic change and fiscal sustainability in Asia

14 Jun 2016 10:59:03 GMT

Changes in the population age structure can have a significant effect on fiscal sustainability since they can affect both government revenues and expenditures. For example, population ageing will increase expenditures on the elderly while reducing potential growth and hence revenues.

In this paper, the authors project government revenue, expenditure, and fiscal balance in developing Asia up to 2050. Using a simple stylized model and the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) data set, they simulate the effect of both demographic changes and economic growth. Rapidly ageing countries like Korea, Japan, and Taipei, China, are likely to suffer a tangible deterioration of fiscal sustainability under their current tax and expenditure system.

On the other hand, rapid economic growth can improve fiscal health in poorer countries with relatively young populations and still-growing working-age populations. Overall, our simulation results indicate that Asia'€™s population ageing will adversely affect its fiscal sustainability, pointing to a need for Asian countries to further examine the impact of demographic shifts on their fiscal health.

Socio-economic inequalities in maternity care under political instability: evidence From Egypt, Jordan and Yemen

14 Jun 2016 01:15:48 GMT

Medical care during pregnancy is crucial for protecting women from health risks during and after pregnancy, and has been consistently linked to better child health outcomes. Improving maternal health is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This paper examines the socio-economic inequalities in maternity care utilisation in Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen after the Arab Spring, using the most recent rounds of the National Demographic and Health Survey. Concentration curves and concentration indices are used to examine the demographic and socio-economic correlates of maternity care utilisation, and to assess the situation under the political instability that followed the Arab Spring.

In addition, the authors investigate the underlying factors that generate the socio-economic inequalities in maternity care utilisation by decomposing the concentration index into its determinants. The analysis yields that the degree of the socio-economic inequalities in maternity care utilisation varies largely within the Arab world. The level of inequality is severe in Yemen, moderate in Egypt, and minor in Jordan. Results of the decomposition analysis show that socio-economic disparities in maternity care utilisation are mainly due to the lack of economic resources and its correlates among the poor. The political instability in the region did not hinder Egypt and Jordan from improving the maternal health indicators at the national level.

Increasing women education, especially among the poor, and poverty reduction measures focusing on rural communities could help narrow the inequalities in maternity care and hence improves population health outcomes.

Zambia's Multiple Category Targeting Grant: 24-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:48:12 GMT

This report provides the 24-month follow-up results for the Multiple Category Targeting Grant (MCTG) impact evaluation. In 2011, the government of the Republic of Zambia—through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH)—began implementing the MCTG in two districts: Luwingu and Serenje. American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia to design and implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for a three-year impact evaluation of the program, and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting. This report presents findings from the 24-month follow-up study, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, resilience, children, adolescents, and women’s empowerment.

Overall, the MCTG has had an impact across an impressive range of indicators covering consumption and food security as well as livelihoods and schooling. In other words, the MCTG has achieved the twin objectives of mitigating food insecurity and consumption deficits in the present, and laying the base for breaking the inter-generational transmission of poverty by strengthening livelihoods and increasing human capital investment.

Zambia's Multiple Category Grant: 36-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:35:17 GMT

In 2011, the government of the Republic of Zambia—through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH)—began implementing the MCTG in two districts: Luwingu and Serenje. American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia to design and implement a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for a three-year impact evaluation of the program, and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This report presents findings from the 36-month follow-up study, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, resilience, children, adolescents, and women’s empowerment.

The overall impacts at 36 months are similar in pattern and magnitude to those found in earlier rounds. Moreover, the overall impacts of the program sum to a value that is greater than the transfer size. The program was originally designed with the transfer size equal to roughly one additional meal a day for the average family for 1 month. However, this report finds that in addition to eating more meals and being more food secure, families are also improving their housing conditions, buying more livestock, buying necessities for children, reducing their debt, and investing in productive activities. Monetizing and aggregating these consumption and nonconsumption spending impacts of the MCTG gives an estimated multiplier of 1.68. In other words, each Kwacha transferred is now providing an additional 0.68, or almost 70 percent more, in terms of net benefit to the household. These multiplier effects are derived in part through increased productive activity, including diversification of income sources into off-farm wage labour, investment in livestock, and nonfarm enterprise, with the latter being managed primarily by women. The 1.68 multiplier estimate is based on program impacts and accounts for changes in the control group, thus can be entirely attributed to the MCTG.

The results from the collection of evaluation reports over the 3-year period of 2011–2014 demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions about cash transfers—that they are a hand-out and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption,—are not true in Zambia.

Zambia's Child Grant Program: 48-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:15:27 GMT

In 2010, the government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCD MCH), began implementing the Child Grant cash transfer program (CGP) in three districts: Kaputa, Kalabo, and Shangombo. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia in 2010 to design and implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for a 4-year impact evaluation of the program and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This report presents findings from the 48-month follow-up study, updating results from the 24-month and 36-month impact reports, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, living conditions, children, women, and productivity.

The overall results from the collection of evaluation reports over the 4-year period of 2010–2014 demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions a bout cash transfers—that they are a hand-out and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption, or induce fertility—are not true in Zambia. The 1.49 multiplier effect, which is driven by productive activity, speaks directly to the response by poor, rural households in Zambia to use and manage the cash productively to improve their overall standard of living. Labour supply to off-farm work has
increased among CGP households, as has work in family enterprise. At no point during the 4-year evaluation have there been any positive impact s on alcohol and tobacco consumption, nor has there been any impact on fertility during the lengthy evaluation period. In short, this unconditional cash transfer has proven to be an effective approach to alleviating extreme poverty and empowering households to improve their standard
of living in a way that is most appropriate for them, based on their own choices. 

What causes inequity in access to publicly funded health services that are supposedly free at the point of use? A case of user fee exemptions for older people in Senegal

09 Jun 2016 10:37:46 GMT

Plan Sésame (PS) was launched in 2006 to provide free access to health services to Senegalese citizens aged 60 and over. As in many countries, this user fee exemption is marred by inequitable implementation. This study seeks to identify underlying causal mechanisms to explain how and why some people were
relatively less likely to have access to publicly funded health care. Explanations identified in focus group and interview data are organised into four themes:

  • PS as a poorly implemented and accessed “right” to health care;
  • PS as a “privilege” reserved for elites
  • PS as a “favour” or moral obligation to friends or family members of health workers; and
  • PS as a “curse” caused by adverse incorporation

 These results are analysed through critical realist and social constructivist epistemological lenses, in order to reflect on different interpretations of causality. Within the critical realist interpretation, the results point to a process of social exclusion. However, this interpretation, with its emphasis on objective reality, is contradicted by some local, subjective experiences of inequality and corruption. An alternative social constructionist interpretation of the results is therefore explored; it is argued this may be needed to prevent relatively powerful actors’ versions of the truth from prevailing.

No country for old men: an investment motive for downward inter-generational transfers in rural China

09 Jun 2016 10:20:51 GMT

Tens of millions of older Chinese have been struggling with poverty and loneliness as their children  flee villages to cities.  Sharp demographic changes such as rapid aging and increasing dependency ratio due to the one-child policy,  as well as the recent trend of rural-to-urban migration as a result of urbanisation
have frayed the ties that once bound the nation's families together.  The left-behind elders have to live off their labour and remittances from their migrant children.

In fighting for the exacerbated old-age poverty in the rural areas, China launched the New Rural Pension Program (NRPP) in 2009, covered more than 300 million Chinese by the end of 2012. Unlike the pension programs in the developed areas, the NRPP could be considered as a conditional cash transfer program, where the conditions are minimal:  being registered as rural residents, and age 60 or above.

This article focuses on answering the following questions: 

  • does the public cash transfer program (NRPP) crowd out the private transfers that the rural elders have been receiving?
  • how does the NRPP affect the spending patterns of the rural elders in transfers sent to others, consumption, investment in productive assets and  nancial assets?  What could be the motivation behind the behavioral responses to such a cash transfer program?

Using a regression discontinuity design with the program policy and a rich rural survey dataset, this research  nds that the NRPP decreases both the probability and the amount of private transfers received by the rural elders, which indicates a strong crowding-out effect. Also, the NRPP has no signi cant impact on the rural elders' consumption, investment in assets, loans and debts.  However, the NRPP significantly increases the amount of transfers sent to children from the elders, and at the same time, the amount of transfers sent to the elders' siblings decreased.  The results of household and individual  fixed-effect analyses reveal that the elders tend to transfer more to the more educated children, and also to those who migrated to a more distant region with a higher administrative level.  These findings could be reconciled with an investment motive of the Chinese rural elders, who are treating their migrant children as "productive assets" that have higher returns than the productive capitals in the rural areas where the financial inclusion level is low.

Large-scale social transfer and labor market outcomes: the case of the South African pension program

09 Jun 2016 10:03:12 GMT

Social transfer programs in low- and middle-income countries have been increasing. According to World Bank (2015), there are about 20 social safety net programs in an average developing country, and among various types of safety net programs, cash transfers are particularly becoming more prevalent. In Africa, for example, 40 countries, out of 48, offered unconditional cash transfers in 2014. While transfer programs have been proved to have positive e ects and to contribute to poverty reductions, it has often been said that these transfers may discourage work.

This paper evaluates the effects of the South African old age pension program, the largest cash transfer program in the country, on labour supply and employment of the elderly and prime-aged individuals. During 2008-2010 a policy change decreased the eligible ages for men from 65 to 60. Exploiting this change as a natural experiment,
the paper finds that the pension significantly discourages the elderly to work. The intention-treat-effects estimated based on three different, independent datasets imply that the labour force participation rate of men aged 60{64 significantly decreased by 5.81% points, 9.63% points, and 9.72% points, depending on the datasets used. Corre-
spondingly, the probability to be employed decreased by 4.15{9.89% points. Besides, the local average treatment e ects estimated suggest that once elderly people started receiving the benefit, the the probability to participate in the labour force and to be employed decreased by 29.2% points and 30.76% points, respectively, although these
estimates are not statistically signifcant. In contrast, the paper fails to provide clear evidence of the effects on prime-aged individuals.

Cash for women's empowerment? A mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia' s Child Grant Programme

09 Jun 2016 02:35:21 GMT

The empowerment of women, broadly defined, is an often-cited objective and benefit of social cash transfer programmes in developing countries. Despite the promise and potential of cash transfers to empower women, the evidence supporting this outcome is mixed. In addition, there is little evidence from programmes that have gone to scale in sub-Saharan Africa.

This paper reports findings from a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. The quantitative component was a four-year longitudinal clustered randomized control trial in three rural districts, and the qualitative component was a one-time data collection involving in-depth interviews with women and their partners, stratified on marital status and programme participation.

The study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole and joint decisions (across five domains); however, impacts translated into relatively modest increases of an additional 0.34
of a decision made across nine domains on average. Qualitatively, it was found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household
and primary decision-makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer did increase overall household well-being because they felt increased financial empowerment and were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies.

The paper highlights methodological challenges in using intrahousehold decision-making as the primaryindicator to measure empowerment. Despite this, the results show potential for national, poverty-targeted, unconditional, government-run programmes in Africa, to improve the well-being of female beneficiaries.

Strengthening public pension systems in Asia: Proceedings of the 2015 ADB—PPI conference on public pension systems

03 Jun 2016 02:24:18 GMT

While Asia remains a key driver of global economic growth, the outlook for the region anticipates slow marginal growth for 2015 before rebounding in 2016 and remaining stronger for the next 2 years. India’s growth and the increased demand from the United States of America (US) will offset slower growth in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Looking at longer-term trends, rapidly ageing Asian populations and socio-cultural changes in the informal, family-based, old-age support mechanisms have created a rising demand for income and support services for the elderly and the poor. Therefore, governments and their populations are rightfully concerned about the long-term sustainability of their social security and fiscal health.
Public pension systems must find ways to cope with these pressures while many already struggle with structural challenges such as early retirement ages, diverging replacement rates under different systems, liberal withdrawal policies, and limited coverage. These factors are further exacerbated by restrictive investment mandates, which significantly curtail the ability of many developing pension systems to seek higher returns through a more diversified investment portfolio.
These conference proceeding include the following papers:
  • Southeast Asia’s Demographic Challenges: Changes and Liabilities
  • Lessons and Best Practices from Europe, Implications for Asia
  • Pension System Design: A Broad Approach to Best Practice
  • Public Pension Systems in Emerging Asia: Challenges to Fairness and Sustainability, and Reform Efforts
  • Spotlight: Learning from Korea’s National Pension System Reform

Establishing comprehensive national old age pension systems

03 Jun 2016 02:07:49 GMT

The world is ageing rapidly. Older people currently comprise 12.2% of the world’s population, with 67% living in developing countries.1 By 2050, the proportion globally will reach 21.2%, with 80% in developing countries. As the world ages, ensuringincome security in old age becomes an  increasingly important policy issue.

However, only 48% of the world’s older people have access to a pension and, unless major reforms are undertaken across developing countries, this proportion is likely to fall. The absence of pensions causes significant challenges for older people and society. Despite growing frailty, many older people are obliged to continue working in old age, often in insecure and low paid employment. As they become less able to work, their families are expected to care for them. Yet, many families taking on this responsibility have to reduce their investments in their own children and income generating activities, while many carers of older people have to withdraw from the labour force.

This paper discusses the policy options available to developing countries committed to offering universal pension coverage and maximising the incomes of older people. It presents a basic model of a pension system comprising up to three tiers that can be adapted to the circumstances of all countries. The model is based on evidence from both developed and developing countries.

Lessons from India’s Basic Services for the Urban Poor programme

31 May 2016 12:23:40 GMT

Over the past decade, policy and programming commitments in India have investigated how to improve the lives of the urban poor. In 2005, the Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) component of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was launched, eventually covering 67 cities.
BSUP was introduced in response to the growing need in India, where the urban population increased from 286 million in 2001 to 377 million in 2011. Between 18 and 25 percent of the urban population now live in informal settlements without basic amenities; there is a shortfall of 18.78 million dwelling units (DUs), 95 percent of which are required for people on low incomes.
This policy brief draws on findings from BSUP as well as a wider set of primary and secondary research. Researchers from the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre at the University of  Manchester (UK) studied five cities where BSUP has been implemented: Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Pune, Patna and Visakhapatnam. These cities were selected for their geographical spread and varying levels of urbanisation.
Key findings:
  • India’s Basic Services for the Urban Poor programme has failed to address urban poverty, due to shortcomings in design, such as: insufficient attention to tenure; lack of emphasis on the universalisation of basic services; low levels of participation by the urban poor; and unaffordability
  • disproportionately low funding has limited the programme’s scale and led to poor performance. A very small proportion of slum households are covered, and thousands of built dwelling units remain unoccupied
  • planning documents are of poor quality and often prepared without consulting the urban poor, as there are no institutional mechanisms for community participation
  • there is low satisfaction among beneficiaries, due to: high costs; inconvenient sites for relocation; poor quality and design of construction; and a lack of provision for operation and maintenance
  • there are exceptions to these findings: there was community participation in Bhubaneswar and Pune (though it was institutionalised only in Pune); and progress and delivery of the projects was better in Pune and Visakhapatnam, due to higher capacity of municipal officials

The challenge of creating inclusive cities

31 May 2016 04:40:00 GMT

Cities across the globe are becoming increasingly unequal, and the gap is
widening between the rich and the poor in terms of incomes, and access to services, opportunities, and State institutions. As economic growth does not always translate to the common good, a critical policy objective for a country aiming to be inclusive must be to make societies cohesive. Such inclusiveness is about building a collective stake in the city's planning, resources, and sustainability. After all, people who participate make powerful change agents; they think, interpret, and choose appropriately. The act of participation builds shared values and a common purpose.

This paper aims to address the challenges in building inclusiveness, in the context of the low-income communities who have been part of development projects organised by the NGO, CURE (Center for Urban and Regional Excellence).

Extending social insurance to informal workers

31 May 2016 01:32:34 GMT

Informal workers face high levels of risks yet the majority are not covered by social insurance. Meanwhile, women informal workers face specific and heightened risks, yet more women than men are excluded from insurance schemes. Increasingly a number of countries are extending social insurance to informal workers, but, with only some exceptions, most policies remain gender-blind or gender-neutral.
This paper concentrates on the extension of social insurance coverage to female informal workers. The focus was chosen because in many countries women are overrepresented in the informal workforce, and in almost all countries they are overrepresented in the worst, and most invisible, forms of informal work. Meanwhile, a higher proportion of women relative to men are excluded from social insurance programmes and face gender-related risks that exclude them from participating in and benefiting equally from social insurance programmes. Social
insurance is seen as a particularly important instrument to provide protection from risks, given fiscal restrictions on the widespread coverage of social assistance and the need to design and implement contributory schemes to cover an informal workforce that, in most low-and middle-income countries, makes up the majority of the working-age population.
Gender-responsive reforms can ensure increased coverage of women, including of female informal workers, to address the risks they face. These include
  • legislation in the labour market
  • recognition of the care economy
  • innovative policy design in payment options and simplified administrative processes; and
  • investment in gender-sensitive delivery capacity

Social Protection for the elderly as a development strategy: a case study of Kenya's old persons cash transfer programme

27 May 2016 12:47:44 GMT

Kenya has made progressive investments in social protection forthe ageing, providing lessons and existing opportunities for similar programmes. In Kenya, there has been a paradigm shift from universal social protection schemes targeted at formal employees to inclusive schemes including both formal and informal sectors, corporations and individuals. Additionally, the Kenya Government priorities mapped out under the Vision 2030 development blue print includes the social pillaramong other initiatives.
This paper discusses a cash transfer programme for social protection as a development strategy for the ageing in Kenya using a political economy approach within an environment of increasingly policy institutional support. The paper further proposes a transformative thinking for planning social protection for the elderly by targeting the youth.
The main recommendations are that there is need for comprehensive approaches on SP to include; informal sectors’ investment schemes, private sector engagement as seen in emerging social insurance schemes, guaranteeing old age safety in terms of basics and recreational facilities. There is also need to nurture SP efforts amongst younger generations through targeted programs, continued sensitization and support mechanisms and further move from poverty alleviation to transformative social policies, from conventional safety nets to social livelihood transformations.

The paper concludes that Social protection development strategies are contributing to poverty reduction and achievement of MDGs. These strategies should be pegged on national economic performance and further be designed to cushion beneficiaries by inculcating elements of transformative social transfers to address challenges in design and implementation. The design should minimize possible dependency and other undesired outcomes. There is also need for evidence-based policy dialogue and research, continuously collect and collate data on impact of existing programs.

Income security for all Ugandans in old age

27 May 2016 04:13:33 GMT

Uganda has a rich tradition of care and respect for the elderly. But, as in all societies, this informal system of support – while still functioning for some – is, for many others, beginning to weaken as a result of poverty, migration, urbanisation and the impact of HIV and AIDs. In response, the government of Uganda – with support from the United Kingdom, Ireland and UNICEF – has taken the first steps in building a pension system for every citizen, with the aim of ensuring that no older person has to live in abject poverty. A pilot scheme – known as the Senior Citizens’ Grant (SCG) – is currently being established in 14 Districts to assess the feasibility of providing every older person with a regular and secure cash income. If successful, the government is considering expanding the scheme across Uganda.

This paper will discuss the value of establishing a universal pension in Uganda. It will begin by considering the challenges currently facing the nation’s older citizens, before moving on to an overview of universal pensions in other developing countries. The paper will examine the evidence on the impacts of these pensions, before briefly describing the SCG and assessing its potential benefits and costs if it were to be expanded to all older citizens. Finally, the paper will argue that it is important to ensure that the pension is accessible to all older people and that its implementation would be a popular and welcome initiative.

Poverty, vulnerabiity and inequality in Uganda

27 May 2016 04:04:44 GMT

According to existing survey analysis, Uganda has made steady progress in poverty reduction over the past decade. However, these gains have not been experienced evenly, with large disparities in poverty levels across geographic areas and household characteristics. These disparities persist when poverty is examined across multiple deprivations– such as health, education, sanitation, and housing – rather than only consumption.

This study aims to fill some of the gaps in the current understanding of poverty, vulnerability,and equality in Uganda, with a particular view to informing the on-going policy discussions within the social protection sub-sector. The Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) Report (UBOS 2011) provides an excellent foundation, and this current study takes the opportunity to extend the analysis of poverty and vulnerability further while using a social protection lens.
The report concludes that whilst a focus on the 7.5 million Ugandans living below the basic needs poverty is still essential, a more dynamic understanding of poverty and vulnerability would imply a broader focus for poverty and vulnerability reduction efforts. In particular if the GoU is to build on and consolidate the poverty reduction gains made over the past two decades, policy responses which address the risks and vulnerabilities experienced by high numbers of Uganda’s population are necessary. This clearly implies a role for direct income support in providing the resilience and income security households need to effectively deal with shocks, make productive investments and carve a sustainable path out of poverty.

Africa economic brief - aging population challenges in Africa

13 May 2016 12:12:04 GMT

This brief describes trends in population ageing in Africa relative to those in economically advanced countries. It highlights the key drivers of the phenomenon, both globally and in the African context more specifically.

The brief also analyses country-specific trends and demonstrates the reasons why the proportion of population 65 years and older is growing in many countries across the continent. Ageing is highly correlated with long-term physical and mental disability, and a number of long term chronic conditions and will likely increase personal care requirements.

Furthermore, most socioeconomic indicators for the elderly in Africa are low, and in many countries poverty rates among the elderly are  significantly higher than the national average.

Child Underweight, Land Productivity and Public Services: A District-Level Analysis for India

05 May 2016 11:13:06 GMT

Though India’s rank has improved in the Global Hunger Index, contributed largely by the fall in the underweight rates for children, concerns of high level of undernutrition in predominantly agricultural pockets remain. This study aims at linking child underweight rates to agricultural land productivity, a proxy for agricultural prosperity, and to the provisioning of public services, using district-level data..

The study estimates a three-stage least squares (3SLS) model with a log-linear specification. Unlike many earlier studies, the results indicate a possible positive relationship between agricultural land productivity and child underweight rates. It appears that the district-level analysis is able to capture aspects of agro-climatic conditions, agricultural development and its spillover effects, and public services delivery more effectively when compared to several studies based on household-level survey data.

The results clearly show the importance of public health provisioning in terms of vaccination, administration of oral rehydration salts when there is incidence of diarrhoea, government health facilities in rural areas, public provisioning of food, as also maternal health and women’s education. Though their elasticity was small, the variables were significant and it is clear that they may have a bigger impact on the deprived sections of the population.  For example, a 1 per cent increase in land productivity increases the percentage of nourished children below six years by about .08 per cent. Similarly, use of oral rehydration salts in diarrhoea incidence improves the underweight rate by about 0.08 per cent at the overall district level. In the parts of the country where underweight rates are high, the impact will be more and the overall magnitude of reduction would be high even if the elasticity is low. The study also shows, in an indirect way, the need for a convergence of agricultural development efforts that create on-farm and off-farm employment with public service delivery of health, sanitation and food. The policy implication is that the state governments should strive to achieve administrative convergence of both agricultural development and public provisioning, paying special attention to safe water supply.

2016 Aid tansparency index

28 Apr 2016 12:43:44 GMT

2015 was an important year for international development, with governments agreeing to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next fifteen years. It was also a critical year for aid transparency. Back in 2011, leading donors committed in Busan to make their aid transparent by the end of 2015.The 2016 Aid Transparency Index demonstrates whether that commitment has been met. Five years after the first Aid Transparency Index, and five years after the Busan commitment, it shows us how transparent major donors are as we begin the first year of the implementation of the SDGs.The results find that ten donors of varied types and sizes, accounting for 25% of total aid, have met the commitment to aid transparency made in Busan. Over half of the organisations included in the 2016 Index publish data to the IATI Registry at least quarterly. However, most of the organisations covered fall into the lowest three categories, scoring below 60% and demonstrating that the publication of timely, comparable and disaggregated information about their development projects to the IATI Registry is far from complete. The Index also finds that over half of the organisations included do not publish budget information for the next one to three years – a key demand of partner countries.The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) tops the Index for the second time with an excellent score of 93.3%, the only organisation to score above 90%. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is placed second, performing well once again, and UNICEF enters the ‘very good’ category for the first time, jumping into third place. The ‘very good’ category also includes the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UK-DFID), the Global Fund, the World Bank-International Development Association (WB-IDA), the Inter- American Development Bank (IADB), the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), the government of Sweden and the African Development Bank (AfDB).At the other end of the scale, some important donors are performing poorly. France, Italy and Japan have agencies in a group of twelve donors in the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a new addition in 2016, and China come last in the Index ranking. The largest number of donors is grouped under the ‘fair’ category, including some of the most important ones as categorised by aid budget such as USAID and Japan-JICA. Many of these donors are well established and have the structures in place to perform better.[...]

Social protection and women's empowerment

28 Apr 2016 12:39:55 GMT

Many social protection programmes, including cash transfers, safety-net oriented public works programmes and asset transfers, target women as main beneficiaries. As such, extending social protection to rural populations has great potential for fostering rural women’s economic empowerment. However, to tap into this potential, more needs to be done. There is much scope for making social protection policies and programmes more gender sensitive and for better aligning them with agricultural and rural development policies to address gender inequalities and foster sustainable poverty reduction.

What does the evidence say? Impact evaluations of cash transfer (CT) programmes indicate these:

  • help promote women’s economic advancement in agriculture, such as in Kenya and Malawi where CT programmes are helping women acquire productive assets such as small livestock
  • help women gain access to both formal and informal credit when they receive benefits in regular payments
  • increase women’s decision-making power and control over income, particularly in managing the extra cash, as shown by evidence from, e.g., Brazil, Mexico, and Kenya, and
  • improve financial literacy among women, as well as their access to financial services, especially when cash transfers are paid into bank accounts

Qualitative research on women's economic empowerment and social protection - a research guide

28 Apr 2016 12:32:05 GMT

The FAO's Social Protection and Rural Women's Economic Empowerment research programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of th e United Nations (FAO) falls under FAO's Strategic Objective 3 of Reducing Rural Poverty and is delivered through two flagship initiatives: the Rural Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative (RWEE) and the From Protection to Production (PtoP) programme. The research seeks to gain a better understanding of how social protection policies and programmes can be improved to enhance impacts on rural women's empowerment. The programme also aims at identifying ways in which social protection schemes or systems can be strengthened with regard to reducing gender inequalities and improving rural women'€™s economic and social empowerment, actions which can lead to more sustainable pathways out of poverty.

A number of case studies will analyse the impact of social protection programmes on rural women's economic empowerment, particularly in two domains: economic advancement and power and agency. The case studies will also assess the impact of programme design on these two domains, as well as the degree to which gender equality and women's empowerment are mainstreamed in programme design and implementation. Finally, to a lesser extent, the programme will assess the synergies that these programmes have with rural services and other livelihoods interventions.

Based on previous experience from the PtoP, the case studies are conducted using a mixed - method approach that combines qualitative and quantitative methods. To achieve comparability and enable cross - country analysis, the research methods are being implemented systematically across countries. This Qualitative Research Guide describes in detail the sequencing, timing and methodology of the research process to be implemented in each country of study: training, fieldwork preparation, a simple and clear fieldwork roadmap, the theory of change hypotheses for the studies, guiding questions and research tools. The Guide will be used for conducting qualitative research as part of this programme and will also serve as a basis for future FAO research on women's empowerment and agriculure

Research on rural women's economic empowerment and social protection The impacts of Rwanda's Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP)

28 Apr 2016 12:16:31 GMT

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation s has started a policy-oriented research programme on Social Protection and Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment which aims to:

  • gain a better understanding of how social protection policies and programmes can promote rural women’s empowerment as a strategy for rural poverty reduction
  • identify good practices in social protection policies and programmes to ensure that both women and men have access to social protection benefits; and
  • identify good practices in the design and implementation of social protection programmes that reduce gender inequalities in rural areas and promote rural women’ s economic empowerment.

The research is undertaken under the From Protection to Production (PtoP) programme based at FAO which carries out impact evaluations of cash transfers in sub - Saharan Africa, as well as policy research and support on social protection and agriculture. The project is a collaborative effort between FAO, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office and the governments of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The PtoP programme is also part o f the larger Transfer Project in which FAO has joined UNICEF, Save the Children UK and the University of North Carolina in supporting the design, implementation and impact evaluation of cash transfers in sub - Saharan Africa.

This report summarises findings of the first PtoP case study on rural women’s economic empowerment and focuses on the public works component of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) – the Government of Rwanda’s flagship programme for poverty reduction providing countrywide social protection. The research was based on a mixed method approach comprising in-depth qualitative methods and quantitative surveys conducted in Rwanda during the autumn of 2014.

Do dreams come true? Aspirations and educational attainments of Ethiopian boys and girls

22 Apr 2016 04:26:51 GMT

Most economic decisions that individuals take are forward-looking and are therefore shaped by the desire or ambition to achieve a goal. And yet, little is known about how aspirations shape decision-making. This paper partially addresses this gap using a rich longitudinal dataset following a cohort of children in Ethiopia for over a decade between the age of 8 and 19. We investigate the role of early aspirations for human capital investments in a context of poverty, traditional social expectations and gender roles. More specifically, the focus is on three related questions. First, the author investigates the relation between aspirations and boys’ and girls’ educational attainment, as an indicator of cumulative investments in education. Second, the paper look at how parents and children form their aspirations and at the transmission of aspirations from one generation to the other. Third, the paper explores the gender-based bias in aspirations and we investigate whether an initial pro-boys aspiration bias might constitute a source of gender inequality perpetuation particularly in a context of extreme poverty.

The author finds that:

  • aspirations have a strong predictive power for later educational attainment particularly for boys, who are more likely to drop out of school after the age of 15
  • there is a substantial gender gap in aspirations and steep gradient in aspirations across wealth
  • parents ground their aspirations on the expectations they have about their children’s future when they are 12 years old
  • children’s aspirations mirror parental aspirations
  • initial low aspirations might be a mechanism of perpetration of gender inequality among the poorest segment of the population
  • parents and children revise their aspirations over time adapting to external circumstance and social expectations, so that after the age of 15 the pro-boys gender bias in aspirations is reverted.

Income changes and their determinants over the lifecycle

21 Apr 2016 12:10:51 GMT

What explains the variation in how income changes as people age? Using household panel data, the authors investigate the contribution of different time-varying factors in explaining variation in income changes over prime working-age life (between 35-44 and 50-59). They find that demographic changes, such as acquiring or losing a partner and the entry or exit of children to and from the household, account for a larger share of the variation in household income changes than shifts in employment status or occupation. This is particularly true for women, for whom demographic changes explain 82% of expost predictable variation in household income changes, compared to only 12% explained by employment status and occupation. 

The authors find a similar result when looking at the transition into retirement (between 50-59 and 66-75). These results illustrate an important limitation of the extensive literature examining consumption and savings behaviour over the lifecycle: focusing on earnings and income whilst ignoring changes in household composition excludes the largest source of ex-post predictable variation in income changes.