Social Protection

Building social protection floors and comprehensive social security systems

UN DESA/ILO Project on Achieving SDGs and ending poverty through Universal Social Protection

The main objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of the government in Cambodia and Pakistan to formulate, implement, monitor and evaluate national social security schemes, and contribute to the global knowledge base to promote experience‐sharing and learning. The project will make good use of all the efforts supported through previous and ongoing technical cooperation to improve the governance of social protection in these two countries. There is a growing need for awareness‐raising at the global level, as well as for the sharing of knowledge and the development of practical guidance for the governance of social security systems. Thus, this project will have an important role in bridging the gap in developing a comprehensive overview of the best practices, tools and communication mechanisms for the good governance in the social protection systems.

The project will be jointly implemented by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) and the International Labour Office (ILO) Social Protection Department (SOCPRO) in the framework of ILO’s Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All. DISD/DESA will bridge the normative policy guidance of the intergovernmental process and country level implementation by jointly producing tools for advocacy and implementation, organizing regional workshops to promote awareness of norms and policy guidance set by intergovernmental bodies and South‐South cooperation, as well as bringing country examples into supporting evidence‐based policy making at the inter‐governmental level. Working in close collaboration with DISD/DESA, the ILO will provide technical support to strengthen the governance capacities of the governments and social protection agencies in Cambodia and Pakistan, so that they can effectively extend coverage to more people with improved services. China's succesful experience in extending social security to all, including through improved coordination between central and provincial levels, social protection one stop shops, improved management information systems, and using inspection systems to increase compliance, is very relevant for both Cambodia and Pakistan. Based on the experiences, new practical tools will be developed and shared with more countries through South‐South and Triangular Cooperation.



The Global component will centre on awareness‐raising and building knowledge to share with other countries in similar state of development of their social protection systems as Cambodia and Pakistan and the lessons‐learned from the experience of China. It will combine four approaches to further support the implementation of social protection in other countries:

  •  Knowledge development: The project will invest in independent research, compile innovative country experiences, and build expertise and knowledge on the governance of social security systems with emphasis on coordination, database and enforcement of compliance.
  •  Knowledge sharing: The project will share data, knowledge, and country experiences through project activities including the international conference on Universal Social Protection (USP 2030) with a particular emphasis on the decisive role of social security governance in extending social protection to all.
  •  Multiplier effect: The project will take advantage of the partnerships built by the ILO at country level in Cambodia and Pakistan as well as at the global level through the Flagship Programme to widen its outreach. A multi‐stakeholder partnership for Universal Social Protection (USP) was progressively developed with participation from the UN system, development partners, major nongovernmental organizations, workers’ and employers’ confederations, regional bodies (ASEAN), universities, and the private sector through the Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors. This project is a part of the South‐South exchanges support the implementation of SPFs.
  •  Promotion: Communication activities will be used to educate policy‐makers and other stakeholders on good governance principles and mechanisms. The project will foster multi‐stakeholder partnership and promote universal social protection among developing countries, building on the extensive Chinese experience in the field of social protection governance, as well as on recent cases of Cambodia and Pakistan.


In Cambodia, the project will contribute to UNDAF 2019‐2023 Outcome 1 which states that “By 2023, women and men in Cambodia, in particular marginalized and vulnerable populations, have their basic (economic and social) needs addressed equitably as they benefit from and utilize expanded quality social services and social protection in a more resilient, fairer and sustainable society”.

The project will be implemented in the context of broader support delivered by the ILO to Cambodia in the area of Social Protection in partnership with national stakeholders, but also involving other UN Agencies (UNCEF and WHO); the UN Resident Coordinators’ Office (for high level policy dialogue) and development partners such as GIZ or USAID.

The Project will seek to involve various groups of national stakeholders including various Government departments and social partners. It will combine a set of activities that include:

  •  Direct technical support: Legal and policy advice on the design of the Pensions system and support to the National Social Security Fund in its modernization process..
  •  South-South partnership: Study tours to enable national experts to witness directly how other countries are developing and implementing their social protection systems and programmes.
  •  Capacity development: Trainings for a wide number of national stakeholders to create and strengthen their capacity to implement the technical advice provided and incorporate it in nationally‐owned policies and strategies.


In Pakistan, The project will contribute to Outcome 10 on Social Protection within the recently signed United Nations Sustainable Development Framework for Pakistan (UNSDF) Pakistan One United Nations Programme III (OP III) 2018‐2022. It seeks to achieve as result that “By 2022, improved and effective social protection systems will be available for all, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.”

The Project will adopt a mixed approach for various objectives at different levels, i.e., Federal and Provincial levels. Partnerships have been developed with Government and social partners and development agencies e.g., GIZ, and UN Agencies, to jointly implement project interventions. The project will combine a set of activities that include:

  •  Direct technical support: Technical advice on the development of a coordination mechanism for social security schemes and the design of a social protection scheme.
  •  South-South partnership: Study tours to enable national experts to witness directly how other countries are developing and implementing their social protection systems and programmes.
  •  Capacity development: Trainings for a wide number of national stakeholders to create and strengthen their capacity to implement the technical advice provided and incorporate it in nationally‐owned policies and strategies.

Contact information


  •  Oleg Serezhin. Chief, Capacity Development and Partnerships Cooperation Section
  •  Wenyan Yang. Chief, Global Dialogue for Social Development Branch

ILO, Global Operations

  •  Valérie Schmitt. Deputy Director, ILO Social Protection Department, Geneva
  •  Karuna Pal. Head, Programming, Partnerships and Knowledge-Sharing Unit, ILO Social Protection Department, Geneva

ILO, Cambodia

  •  Nuno Cunha. Senior Social Protection Specialist, ILO DWT Bangkok
  •  Malika Ok. National Programme Officer, CO-Bangkok

ILO, Pakistan


This project acknowledges the support received from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub‐Fund under the UN Peace and Development Fund.