Leaving no one behind - the Social Protection joint programme aims to strengthen social protection systems in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau

Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau are one step closer to ensuring that it leaves no one behind with the completion of comprehensive stock takes and reviews of their social protection systems.

This has resulted in Samoa now having a draft National Social Protection Policy which is being translated into the Samoan language, and Tokelau now also have a draft Social Protection Policy. Samoa’s draft policy is now with the Government of Samoa for its endorsement.

The Cook Islands has used the findings of the review as the basis of discussions to address gaps in strengthening social protection systems in the country, whilst Niue’s results have been submitted to its government for consideration. Tokelau will present its completed review to its key stakeholders next month.

“The Social Protection stock take and review undertaken in Niue provides a basis for our Ministry to further develop social protection measures that specifically target the needs of our people. I am pleased that the findings also highlighted the strong customary and cultural support that exists in our communities, which will complement modern day social protection interventions. I would like to acknowledge UNDP for making this possible,” said Gaylene Tasmania, Director General, Niue Ministry of Social Services.

All these activities have been made possible under the United Nations Social Protection Joint Programme to strengthen the resilience of Pacific Island states through Universal Social Protection. The programme began in 2020 and is expected to be completed later this year and involves five UN agencies in its implementation.

Three stock takes and reviews were done under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and one under UNICEF.

“Social Protection is a key component of our work in the countries that we serve. As we have seen, effective social protection and social safety networks are vital especially in the COVID-19 crisis response. Such efforts can both support national preparedness efforts in strengthening policies, institutional systems and processes for social protection that would reduce the impact of the crisis on vulnerable populations, and respond to income needs during and immediately after the crisis,” said Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Resident Representative.

“Through this joint programme, UNDP continues to support the governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau to strengthen social protection measures. This includes support for the development of social protection-related policies such as food security measures, cash transfers, cash for work and other social safety net measures, the review and strengthening of existing social protection floors and the digitalization of social protection systems.”

The joint programme also saw the completion of the integrated development of gender-responsive social protection mechanisms and initiatives into the overall social protection system for Samoa.

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