The Report on the World Social Situation 2018

Promoting Inclusion Through Social Protection

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This report discusses the contribution of social protection to social inclusion focusing, in particular, on the extent to which such groups are effectively covered by existing social protection measures. An overall assessment of the impact of social protection on the reduction of poverty and inequality frames the report’s analysis. The report focuses on six social groups: children, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, and international migrants. It considers how gender and socioeconomic status intersect with other group attributes and affect the barriers some groups face. The 2030 Agenda draws attention to these bases of disadvantage when it emphasizes that all should be included “irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status”. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda also commits to providing appropriate social protection to all, including the vulnerable, persons with disabilities, indigenous persons, children, youth and older persons. Each of these groups is at high risk of poverty and exclusion and barriers to their rights. The report assesses the contribution of social protection measures to enhancing opportunities and promoting respect for the rights of the five groups selected.



Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities: Marginalization is the norm

There is no internationally agreed definition of what constitute indigenous peoples or ethnic minorities. An ethnic group generally shares a common sense of identity and common characteristics such as language, religion, tribe, nationality, race or a combination thereof. The term “ethnic minority” generally refers to ethnic or racial groups in a given country in which they are in a non-dominant position vis-à-vis the dominant ethnic population. In this report, the term refers to a group of people in a nation State that meets one or more of the following criteria: it is numerically smaller than the rest of the population; it is not in a dominant position; it has a culture, language, religion or race that is distinct from that of the majority; and its members have a will to preserve those characteristics (Foa, 2015). Some minorities are made up of the descendants of migrants or of groups brought to a country by force. In other cases, indigenous peoples became minorities as a result of the settlement and colonization of their native territories by other peoples.


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