About P4SP

Partnerships for Social Protection (P4SP) is an Australian Government initiative to develop formal social protection systems in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and Timor-Leste. We partner with governments to design and strengthen national social protection systems and support networking, learning and knowledge sharing on social protection grounded in experience and evidence from countries in the region.

P4SP supports governments to strengthen social protection systems by:

  • Deploying long or short-term advisors to work alongside partner governments
  • Providing specialist on-call technical assistance to advise on social protection issues
  • Undertaking research and analysis to help build a deeper understanding of the role of social protection in the region
  • Financing cash transfers, funding pilots or helping procure and implement solutions to improve the delivery of social protection programs
  • Supporting partnerships, advocacy and policy dialogue with partner governments, civil society organisations and other development partners
  • Delivering training, learning and networking opportunities, in-country and across the region.
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What is social protection?

Social Protection systems seek to address risk, vulnerability, inequality and poverty through a system of transfers to people in cash, or 'in kind' for example in the form of food assistance. Programs aim to reach people during vulnerable times in their lives, such as during early childhood or old age, provide support for people with disabilities or who have lost work, or focus on poor families. They can also reach people who need help during times of economic crisis and in the wake of disasters.

Social protection systems enable growth, and contribute to equality and stability. Social protection investments build human capital and increase labour participation, while helping individuals, families and communities manage the impacts of life shocks and minimise loss to productivity. In these ways, social protection programs can drive demand and economic activity, foster social cohesion, reduce inequality and promote economic growth. Strong social protection systems are also shock-responsive and can support faster and better humanitarian responses to disasters.

Why is there a need to strengthen social protection systems in the Pacific and Timor-Leste?

Hardship and inequality are widespread in Pacific Island countries (PICs) and Timor-Leste, with migration, urbanisation, disasters and climate change compounding these issues. Before COVID-19, two-thirds of eligible people in the Pacific were not covered by any form of social protection.

In recent years, responding to disasters and the economic shock caused by COVID-19, many Pacific countries have established or adapted national social protection schemes to provide cash and other forms of assistance to reach people who need assistance. These complement the strong community, church and family networks that traditionally support people in times of need.

As the region looks towards economic recovery, prepared for future disasters and pursues sustainable development, P4SP will support partner governments to design and strengthen national safety nets that can help people through hardship, vulnerability and crisis and build resilience to future shocks. Strengthened national social protection systems offer important benefits that can complement traditional Pacific safety nets by:

  • Protecting vulnerable groups from the worst impacts of poverty and hardship, by meeting household income and consumption needs
  • Directly reaching the most vulnerable groups, including women and girls, the elderly and, people with disabilities, and enhancing women's empowerment and social inclusion
  • Supporting human development by helping families, maintain nutrition, and access health and education services and livelihood opportunities, which in turn contribute to productivity, economic growth and prosperity
  • Promoting stability and resilience by building systems that generate trust in state institutions, strengthen state legitimacy and improve social cohesion
  • Enhancing Pacific countries' resilience to future shocks, which is important in a region facing increased frequency of disasters and vulnerability to climate change.