Brussels, 07 December 2010

Launch of the ERD on Social Protection for Inclusive Development – A new perspective in EU co-operation with Africa.

The European Report on Development 2010 was officially launched in Brussels in the context of the European Development Days , 07 December 2010.

Françoise Moreau, acting director for of the EU Development Policy at the European Commission Development-Directorate General, introduced the event and Giorgia Giovannetti, Professor of Economics and ERD Research Team Leader, presented the main findings and recommendations of the Report. She stressed that social protection is a “crucial missing piece in the development puzzle”, indispensable for achieving resilient pro-poor growth and the Millennium Development Goals. Prof. Giovannetti claimed that the time is ripe for social protection to become a distinctive feature of the EU’s development agenda. She concluded affirming that social protection is feasible and affordable also in Sub-Saharan African low income countries. With more and better engagement, the EU can play an important role in supporting domestically owned social protection strategies.

Anthony Smith of the UK’s Department for International Development and Georges Serres of France’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs welcomed the Report, highlighting that it comes at a time when the momentum for social protection is increasingly rising at the regional and international level, as showed for instance by recent initiatives led by the United Nations, the Africa Union and the G-20.

In commenting the report, Michael Cichon, director of the Social Security Department at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), pointed out the common ground between ERD and ILO findings and recommendations. He insisted again that investing in social protection is crucial for poor societies.

François Bourguignon, Director of the Paris School of Economics and Scientific Advisor for the ERD initiative, acknowledged the important role of social protection – among other policy instruments for promoting growth and development in poor countries- in ensuring that people are not left behind. But he warned that social protection should not become another development “fad”: commitment should be sustained in the long-term.