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Institutional Frameworks for Social Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean

image of Institutional Frameworks for Social Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean

The world is going through a period of change. Volatile economic growth, climate change, the technological revolution, migration and the demographic transition all reflect this, as do the impacts these changes are having on society and the challenges they pose for public policies. Continuing the social progress made in Latin America and the Caribbean, ensuring no ground is lost and attaining the Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while ensuring that no one is left behind will require new and greater public policy efforts to enhance coverage and quality. An essential part of this is to have institutions capable of meeting current and future challenges, securing viable and sustainable achievements and guaranteeing the universal exercise of rights. This book reviews elements of the institutional framework for social policies in the region, particularly those focused on social protection. It thus discusses the leading concepts and the progress made at the regional and national level within a framework of four complementary analytical dimensions: the legal and regulatory dimension, the organizational dimension, the technical and operational dimension and the financing dimension.

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Social development and social protection institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview and challenges

In view of the dimensions identified in the first chapter, this one describes the key features, achievements and challenges faced by Latin American and Caribbean countries in developing an institutional framework that delivers a high-quality social policy (one that is effective, efficient, sustainable and transparent), with a view to overcoming poverty and achieving social development and inclusion. The first part of the chapter provides an overview of the legal and regulatory frameworks that characterize the region. It offers both an international and a national perspective, to develop a scenario beyond national frameworks and to describe the differences and similarities between individual countries. It also highlights the particularities of the region in terms of the State commitments assumed under various international legal instruments of major importance for social development and progress made in guaranteeing rights. Secondly, it studies the organizational dimension of social policy institutions, by considering the key features of regional forums dedicated to social development, and also the organizational characteristics and key social authorities at the national level. It describes the mandates and features of ministries of social inclusion and development, along with the governmental mechanisms in charge of certain key segments of the population and the institutional affiliation of conditional cash transfer and social pension programmes. This twin approach highlights how a social agenda has been built at the regional level, with a number of recurring themes, in the form of a dialogue in various forums between the national and regional levels. It also points up some common difficulties in terms of coordination. Thirdly, this chapter provides an overview of the region’s main policy and management instruments within the social sector, with a view to showcasing both the advances of recent decades and the challenges that remain. Fourthly, it considers the financing of social policy institutions, focusing on total social spending, broken down into its main functions and the budget of the ministries of social inclusion and development in the region as a share of total public expenditure, to give an idea of the budgetary importance of such entities. The closing section offers comments and reflections on the preceding discussion.

English

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