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New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence

14 Oct 2016 03:22:41 GMT

Improving children and young people’s (CYP) wellbeing, and recognising the role they can play in creating a more sustainable world will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This timely report provides insights into how ESRC-DFID funded research has provided new knowledge that can inform and strengthen policy making in relation to CYP issues and help meet global development ambitions.

Key research findings:

  • recognising young people’s agency and the role they can play in research and policy making around the issues that matter to them most is critical
  • enhanced participation and community engagement programmes amongst the most marginalised can contribute to reduction in inequalities of new born survival rates
  • religion can have a significant impact on child wellbeing outcomes in India
  • CYP’s psychological wellbeing is positively associated with staying in school and negatively associated with entering the labour market in China. However for CYP in Tanzania there is often a clash between their perceptions of the long term gain of education and the more immediate benefits of employment
  • marriage is often viewed by both CYP and their families as a key livelihood strategy
  • young people are using mobile technologies to access services and build up social capital. They also have concerns around mobile phones and the potential negative impact on their personal safety and wellbeing

New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence

14 Oct 2016 03:12:58 GMT

This report synthesises insights on children and young people (CYP) from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. It identifies the major contributions the scheme has made to knowledge on CYP in low- and middle-income countries and on effective policies for promoting CYP wellbeing. It situates learning from scheme-funded research within the wider field of CYP-oriented international development research and reflects on the ways in which findings relate to contemporary
development policy agendas for CYP. The report is based on a thorough review of all available documentation and outputs related to the 126 grants funded at the start of the review period and on conversations and interviews with current grant-holders.

  • 44 grants (35% of all scheme-funded research) generated insights on children and young people. Of these two-thirds had a strong or moderate focus on CYP. Insights are diverse, with no two grants examining the same issue
  • most new knowledge has been generated on education and health, followed by livelihoods issues, transitions to marriage and sexual relationships and violence against children and young people
  • 55% of grants provide insights into the effectiveness of particular policies and programmes. Many studies address current policy dilemmas; others probe the impact of significant development trends on children and young people
  • there was a strong youth focus in these grants with 73% of grants producing knowledge on young people aged 15 and over, or on key policy issues affecting them
  • a third of research projects had achieved positive impacts on children and young people or are expected to do so



Poverty & death: disaster and mortality 1996-2015

13 Oct 2016 10:55:24 GMT

The period 1996 to 2015 saw 7,056 disasters recorded worldwide by EM-DAT, the Emergency Events Database. The frequency of geophysical disasters (primarily earthquakes, including tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions) remained broadly constant throughout this period but there was a sustained rise in climate- and weather-related events (floods, storms and heatwaves in particular) which accounted for the majority of disaster deaths in most years.

Of the 1.35 million people killed by natural hazards over the past 20 years, more than half died in earthquakes, with the remainder due to weather- and climate-related hazards. The overwhelming majority of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The poorest nations paid the highest price in terms of the numbers killed per disaster and per 100,000 population.

The global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by all UN member States in March 2015, sets a target for a substantial reduction in global disaster mortality; the statistics in this report point towards several major conclusions with implications for achieving this target:

  • the high death tolls from earthquakes, including tsunamis, over the last 20 years is a deeply troubling trend given the pace of urbanization around the world in many seismic zones. This underlines the need to promote the mainstreaming of disaster risk assessments into land-use policy development and implementation, including urban planning, building codes and investing in earthquake-resistant infrastructure, notably housing, schools, health facilities and work places. The private sector, and the construction industry in particular, need to be partners in this endeavour
  • while better data is needed on overall disaster mortality, particularly in relation to weather- and climate-related hazards in low-income and lower-middle-income countries, it is clear that there needs to be more focus on alleviating the impact of climate change on countries which contribute least to greenhouse gas emissions but which suffer disproportionate losses of life because of extreme weather events exacerbated by rising sea levels and the warming of the land and sea

Pushed aside: displaced for "development" in India

10 Oct 2016 11:41:35 GMT

By providing a first-hand account of development projects and business activities that have caused displacement across India, this report documents and analyses the scale, process and impacts of this phenomenon. It contributes to the existing body of evidence on this type of displacement and aims to raise awareness among policy-makers, business elites, academics, NGOs and operational decision-makers at the national and international level.

The report examines nine cases of displacement caused by development in the states of Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala and the national capital territory of Delhi. They reveal failed regulation, inadequate enforcement and harm to communities that extend to other cases elsewhere in India. They show that land acquisitions have pushed people aside with no regard for their rights or needs for decades. They are the result of government indifference and a failure to monitor the human rights impacts of projects and establish accountability mechanisms to address them.

The case studies for this report contribute to the global evidence base on displacement caused by development. The detrimental impacts of development projects in India highlight the need to address the issue in key policy agendas and discussions. Despite IDPs’ awareness of their rights and resistance to their eviction and displacement, they will not escape poverty without significant external support and systemic changes to social and economic policies.

Global development agendas should ensure that while development projects may alleviate poverty for some, they should not at the same time create new poor or heighten the existing economic vulnerabilities of those evicted. Neglecting those evicted and displaced would undermine the achievement of global development goals. The timescale for planning and implementing projects provides ample opportunity to avoid or minimise  displacement, and to put measures in place to ensure that those who are displaced achieve durable solutions.

The State of African Cities 2014: re-imagining sustainable urban transitions urban transitions

07 Oct 2016 03:42:44 GMT

The overarching challenge for Africa in the decades to come is massive population growth in a context of wide-spread poverty that, in combination, generate complex and inter-related threats to the human habitat. The main premise of this report is that successfully and effectively addressing the vulnerabilities and risks to which the African populations are increasingly being exposed may, perhaps, require a complete re-thinking of current urban development trajectories if sustainable transitions are to be achieved. This report is the third in The State of African Cities series.
It is not only Africa’s largest urban population concentrations that are becoming more prone to vulnerabilities and risks; these are actually increasing for all African settlements. This will add to the already significant social, economic and political hazards associated with Africa’s still pervasive urban poverty. The
combination of demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, environmental and climate change now appear to reinforce a host of negative urban externalities.
Ubiquitous urban poverty and urban slum proliferation, so characteristic of Africa’s large cities, is likely to become an even more widespread phenomenon under current urban development trajectories, especially given the continuing and significant shortfalls in urban institutional capacities. Since the bulk of the urban population increases are now being absorbed by Africa’s secondary and smaller cities, the sheer lack of urban governance capacities in these settlements is likely to cause slum proliferation processes that replicate those of Africa’s larger cities.
This report argues for a radical re-imagination of African approaches to urbanism, both to strengthen the positive impacts of Africa’s current multiple transitions and to improve urban living and working conditions. Africa’s population is still well below the 50 per cent urban threshold. This implies that a major  reconceptualization of its approaches to urban development can still be undertaken. Given the rapidly changing global conditions, especially those associated with environmental and climate change, looming resources scarcity and the dire need to move towards greener and more sustainable development options, Africa has the opportunity to take a global lead in innovations towards greener, healthier and more sustainable urban societies

Aligning social protection and climate resilience: a case study of WBCIS and MGNREGA in Rajasthan

07 Oct 2016 01:03:12 GMT

Social protection and climate change programmes are two public policy responses that governments use to address the challenges of poverty, climate vulnerability and gender inequality. Social protection programmes provide a safety net for households by providing cash/asset transfers and labour market instruments to address the immediate and underlying socio-economic risks facing the poor. Climate change programmes use a  range of policy, financial, technological and capacity-strengthening measures to address
climate change vulnerability. Despite the fact that most countries have comprehensive strategies for both social protection and climate change, there have been few attempts to align the two to develop more durable pathways out of poverty and climate vulnerability.

This paper is the second of two case studies that examine how aligning social protection and climate change interventions could help households manage the risks they face, and set them on a path out of poverty and into climate-resilient livelihoods. It presents a case study of the Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in India, based on fieldwork in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

Realising income security in old age: A study into the feasibility of a universal old age pension in Malawi

04 Oct 2016 12:15:51 GMT

Many governments in developing countries are setting up non-contributory programs to assist older people, most of whom are not covered by formal pension schemes. Malawi is no stranger to the international advancement of social security and social protection. That said, further analysis on the implementation and the role of social pensions in tackling old-age poverty was needed to inform government policy and practice.

The aim of the study was to address the knowledge gap of social pension reforms in Malawi. The study examined what has been learned from the programs operating in different African countries, and highlights the key policy and budgetary issues that arise. The study has concluded that social pensions represent an important component of an institutional foundation for old-age social protection.

There are affordable options for Malawi to begin expanding a universal pension in the coming years. Various scenarios exist for universal pensions costing a fraction of GDP, which could be financed through wider efforts to increase revenue for social protection spending. Malawi could then seek to
increase the coverage and adequacy of a universal pension as more revenue can be secured, and as the economy grows.

The path chosen will depend on the political will of the government, but a potential option would be:


  • make a start but introducing a relatively low cost scheme, such as benefit of MWK 3,720 to over 70s (a cost of 0.4 per cent of GDP). This would be in line with current levels of fiscal space, and would also allow for administrative systems to be developed gradually before rolling out to national level
  • as soon as possible, expand the scheme to all older people aged 60 years and over. This would recognise the relatively short life expectancy in Malawi, and that many of the challenges of old age can kick in relatively early
  • in the longer run, move towards a benefit level at the level of the national poverty line (approximately MWK 8,750 in 2016 prices), to ensure that no older person lives in poverty. This higher level of adequacy can be achieved both through growth of the economy, and also by devoting increased revenue to the scheme

Evidence and examples to build resilient livelihoods in the South Sudan Context

29 Sep 2016 12:07:56 GMT

Building resilience to weather and conflict shocks in South Sudan requires investing inside and outside the agriculture sector in order to promote sustainable livelihoods development and income diversification. This includes strengthening productive sectors, improving basic social services, and establishing productive safety nets. Establishing productive safety nets involves providing predictable income sources to vulnerable households through cash transfers, food transfers, or paid labour within a public works programme. Furthermore,
climate change adaptation should be an integral part of the conflict prevention and food-security strategies, partly because climate change is expected to significantly increase the likelihood of future conflict.
DFID South Sudan is preparing a business case for the second phase of the Building Resilience through Asset Creation and Enhancement (BRACE) Programme in South Sudan. This phase is expected to start in August 2015 in order that there will be a smooth transition from phase 1. Building on learning from phase 1, phase 2 will focus more on climate adaptation and conflict sensitivity. Resilience in South Sudan mainly revolves around
food security. Phase 1 was focused on food for assets, phase 2 is looking to scaling up cash for assets; but this will need to be handled in a sensitive way given risks in the operational context.
To this end, the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) was invited by Evidence on Demand to undertake a rapid desk-based study to provide evidence and examples to build resilient livelihoods in the South Sudan context.


Mongolia: enhancing policies and practices for Ger area development in Ulaanbaatar

29 Sep 2016 03:35:54 GMT

The sustainable development of ger areas in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital city of Mongolia, is one of the critical development issues facing the country. The transition to a market economy and a series of severe winters (called zud) have resulted in the large-scale migration of low-income families into the ger areas of UB. The city represents 39 percent of the nation’s population and generates more than 60 percent of Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Basic services are very limited or even non-existent in ger areas. Nearly 85 percent of ger residents use wood or coal-burning stoves for heating, in contrast to apartment buildings, which are connected to the central heating system. Ger residents must purchase water at public water kiosks, while apartment residents enjoy reliable supplies of piped-in drinking and hot water. The low density of ger areas, coupled with the extremely cold climate makes the provision of these basic public services very costly. Poor urban services have also led to environment degradation, including the pollution of air and soil, which poses such health risks as respiratory diseases and hepatitis.
Clearer policy directions, such as the “Compact City” concept of the UB Master Plan 2030, have emerged in recent years to control spatial expansion and promote high-density development for the ger areas. However, the government’s practices have been inconsistent. These practices are, in part, a result of limited awareness and  understanding by the general public, as well as by policy makers, of the public costs of their actions on land management. Also, many supporting mechanisms, including land valuation and taxation, have not yet been properly developed.
The intent of this report is to clarify the costs and benefits of different development paths. These paths include (i) conversion of ger areas into apartment building complexes; (ii) gradual improvement of urban services for existing ger areas; and (iii) further expansion of ger areas at the fringe of the city.

The Funded Pension Scheme and economic growth in Nigeria

27 Sep 2016 04:57:12 GMT

In Nigeria however, life after retirement is dreaded by most workers. The fears of facing the future after retirement create an ambiance of disturbance among employees. Retirement is seen by workers as a transition that could lead to psychological, physiological and economic problems.

This study provided evidence on the effect of the operation of the funded pension scheme since its inception in 2004 on economic growth in Nigeria using error correction mechanism (ECM) and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) methodologies.

Findings revealed that the pension fund contributions from both private and public sectors in Nigeria increased greatly and constituted a huge investment fund in the capital and money markets. This increased liquidity in the economy and created employment opportunities as well as improvement in the investment climate.

The study concluded that with good risk and portfolio management by pension fund administrators and custodians, the contributory pension has the capacity to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria and very convenient to retirees compared to the previous defined benefit scheme.

The study however recommended the removal of delay payment, administrative bottlenecks and corruption in the management of the pension fund in order to boost economic growth in Nigeria.

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 develo[...]

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.