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Social protection expenditure in Pacific Island Countries and Timor-Leste - P4H Network

Social protection expenditure in Pacific Island Countries and Timor-Leste

This paper by Partnerships for Social Protection (P4SP) seeks to support analysis of social protection financing by providing an overview of the size, composition, and historical evolution of social protection expenditure in Pacific Island Countries and Timor-Leste.

How to finance sustained and increased social protection investments in Pacific Island Countries and Timor-Leste is a key question facing policy makers? Following two decades of gradually increasing social protection investment in the region, social protection came to the fore in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic as a core component of fiscal response packages.

The report focuses on long-term social protection schemes for a historical analysis that will provide a reference point for future pathways to sustainable social protection financing. Such information on recurrent expenditure is important for understanding the scale and nature of investments that are already being made while identifying major gaps in coverage. This paper is published with an accompanying set of data tables with different tabulations that can be used and adapted by those seeking to undertake analysis of social protection in individual countries or across the region.

This analysis was undertaken as part of a broader activity under P4SP focused on how Pacific Island Countries and Timor-Leste can find strategic pathways to sustainably finance social protection. The priority countries identified by P4SP are Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, which are also the focus of this brief. While this analysis focuses on these 10 priority countries, it is important to note that there are other countries in the region also making important investments in social protection. For example, Cook Islands and Tokelau, countries not covered in this analysis, have some of the most comprehensive social protection systems in the region.