Chapter 1: Introduction to the Handbook on Social Protection Systems
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This introductory chapter familiarizes any newcomer to social protection with the main objective and key components of social protection, which it defines as “the entirety of policies and programmes that protect people against poverty and risks to their livelihoods and well-being.” It teases out the divergences among scholars when it comes to defining the primary goals of social protection, the appropriate providers and core instruments, the risks to be covered, the financing methods and the basis of claims for benefits. At the same time, it also highlights the emerging consensus among social protection experts regarding the strive for universal social protection, the agreement on common standards while leaving room for contextualization, the social contract lens to motivating and assessing social protection and last but not least the importance of a system’s approach to social protection, calling for social protection to be synchronized, inclusive and equitable, transparent and accountable as well state-anchored.