SASPEN Conference Review – 18&19 October 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa
Themed: “Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030: Comprehensive Social Protection in the SADC”.
Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Zambia, held the Southern African Social Protection Experts Network Conference with the Bishop Emeritus Zephania Kameeta, (Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare in Namibia) opening the conference with an encouraging and thought provoking speech. Highlighting the importance of social protection as an integral part of sustainable development, emphasising that poverty continues to plague the southern African region and that concerted efforts from all regional actors is necessary to fight the war against poverty.
The conference discussions looked at comprehensive social protection systems, comprehensive social policies and comprehensive vulnerability analysis. With a particular emphasis on how to build social protection systems in the frameworks of the Agenda 2063 and the Agenda 2030 that brings together social insurance, social assistance, and social services in a rights-based, harmonised and coherent framework. In addition to this, the conference presentations interrogated ways of identifying, analysing and strengthening the linkages between social protection policies and other policy fields such as education, agriculture, inclusive growth, gender equality, conflict resolution, climate change and sustainable development.
Crucial to the conference proceedings was the discussion around tracing vulnerable individuals, population groups, particularly vulnerability profiles through the different parts of social protection systems.
The #SADCBIGCampaign engagement at the conference provided us with an opportunity to exchange and engage with experts of the network and foster the public discourse on social protection with representatives of international and national bodies, including the government, employers, trade unions, civil society, academia from across the globe and other stakeholders.
We believe that our continued engagement with SASPEN will propel the rooted-advocacy efforts of the SADC BIG Campaign in ensuring there is popular support for the roll-out of a universal SADC Basic Income Grant to all SADC residents including refugees, and asylum seekers by 2020.