Towards an inclusive social protection system in Georgia

Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Shea McClanahan, Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways and lead author of the report talks about an inclusive social protection system in Georgia. Photo: ILO
Shea McClanahan, Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways and lead author of the report talks about an inclusive social protection system in Georgia. Photo: ILO

The International Labour Organization (ILO) in partnership with UN Women organized a sensitization seminar online on the findings of a newly prepared joint social protection assessment on Wednesday, 29 July 2020. The seminar provided the national and international partners with an overview of the current social protection system in Georgia, bringing together representatives from the Government of Georgia - including the Human Rights Secretariat and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs - as well as other relevant stakeholders representing the international agencies and the non-governmental sector.

The seminar provided a comprehensive overview of the new ILO/UN Women joint assessment on social protection floors in light of the ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102). At the same time, the analysis also examined the standards as outlined in the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183).

Shea McClanahan, Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways and lead author of the report, has noted that “Georgia’s system already performs relatively well, particularly the old-age pension. However, key gaps in social protection provision remain, particularly for children and people of working age. The current crisis shows us the value of investing in inclusive, lifecycle social protection … that better protects Georgia’s workers and families - the key forces driving economic growth and development.”

Overall, the assessment takes a forward-looking approach, providing an analysis of the social protection system through relevant lifecycle situations. In the lifecycle approach, individuals - not households - are entitled to receive benefits, and the priority is to cover all persons for their key lifecycle risks. Such an approach has also proved to be an effective strategy for addressing and preventing poverty. As the analysis confirms, universally designed lifecycle benefits reach more vulnerable persons than the so-called “poverty relief” schemes.

Eventually, the lifecycle approach allows vulnerable groups to build resilience to shocks, such as the socioeconomic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis itself provides an opportunity for the Government of Georgia to focus on the gaps and search for policy options to address them. As such, the assessment serves as an important input on the journey towards more inclusive and effective social protection in the country.

The assessment is implemented in the framework of the ILO project “Inclusive Labour Market for Job Creation in Georgia”, financed by the Government of Denmark, and the UN Women regional project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus”, financed by the Governments of Austria and Switzerland.