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Harnessing the role of rural organizations in social protection. An inventory of prActices.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome

Directed by Igor Vinci, 2017

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Summary :

Framed within global commitments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,social protection (SP) is recognized by governments and partners as a strategy to fight inequality and injustice, end extreme poverty, and contribute to sustainable development. FAO considers SP as one of the instruments for achieving its mission of eradicating hunger and ending rural poverty, and also as an integral component of resilience building (FAO, 2017). Increasing evidence of the mutually reinforcing links between SP and agricultural interventions (FAO, 2015), and the effectiveness of social assistance linked to livelihood promotion (HLPE, 2012), support the Organization’s commitments.

(…)Although social protection is increasingly recognized as an investment and poverty reduction strategy, there are still many challenges that prevent governments from scaling up and progressively moving towards universal coverage. One is the challenge of identifying suitable financing options and fiscal space; another,and particularly relevant to the rural sector, is that there exist normative, legal and administrative barriers that prevent non-formal workers, including farmers, from accessing existing social protection schemes. In such circumstances, the guarantee of extensive social protection is far from being achieved, particularly for the rural poor.

In this context, FAO recognizes that rural organizations can play an important role in addressing these challenges and gaps. The development and strengthening of social protection systems therefore requires a strong recognition of existing non- governmental structures (DFID, 2011). International agencies, NGOs, charities and rural organizations are already providing social protection and social services to the rural poor. In certain circumstances, member-based rural organizations can be well-suited to support governments in providing similar services, as these organizations are familiar with the social and cultural dynamics of rural communities and the issues and needs of community members (Krivelyova et al, 2013). The move towards decentralization across regions provides an opportunity for new actors to be formally integrated in the provision of SP.