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Employment, Social Inclusion and Social Protection

People need protection against the risks and shocks that can drive them into poverty. Social protection enables people to consume, acquire assets and make investments. This should  include, or be accompanied by active employment policies to enable people to find decent jobs.. Social protection also provides vital support to poor and vulnerable members of society who are unable to participate in economic activity .

Individuals and households most often move out of poverty because of improvements related to their employment situation. However, in developing countries most jobs are characterised by low average earnings, a lack of adequate social protection and productivity, violations of labour rights, and unsafe or difficult working conditions. The big challenge is therefore, not necessarily how to create more jobs, but how to create better jobs. 

Strengthening employment policies, efficient Technical Education and Vocational Training (TVET) and improving social protection systems, are high in both EU and international development and cooperation policy priorities.

Picture: Social Protection 

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  SOCIEUX - Social Protection European Union Expertise

SOCIEUX is a technical assistance instrument which has been set up by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation -EuropeAid- in order to support the efforts of partner countries to better design and manage their social protection systems.

  Strengthening social protection in the EU development cooperation

The Commission presented the first ever Commission Communication on social protection in international development. It outlines how future EU aid should work to help putting in place social protection policies and systems.

  Visit us in our Public Group on Employment and Social Protection in Capacity4Dev

Capacity4Dev is an online community for development practitioners. This interactive platform was set up by EuropeAid to enhance knowledge through the exchange of practices on effective international cooperation. The Public Group on Employment and Social Protection serves as a platform for knowledge sharing, discussions and publication of all relevant materials on our areas. The group offers a "blog" where members can post new items and start reflexions/discussions, a "library" where we upload and classify documents and an "events" page to share relevant events. We hope to see you there soon!


Available EU funding for activities at both national and regional levels for the period 2007-2013 is from:

Geographical instruments

The European Development Fund (in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries), the Development Co-operation Instrument (for Latin America, Asia and South Africa), and the European Neighbourhood & Partnership Instrument (for the EU's neighbouring regions),

Thematic programmes

  • Investing in people, which supports actions in the area of human and social development. Through this programme, we work in two main areas:
    • Technical Vocational Education and Training – TVET, under the strand Education, knowledge and skills (5% of the budget for Investing in People is allocated to vocational education and training). Demand-driven technical and vocational education and training plays a key role in giving people an opportunity to gain access to jobs. As such, it is an important factor in reducing poverty. In order to develop a solid framework for delivery of vocational education and training connected to the rest of the education system, a strong partnership is needed between representatives of the private sector, the government and the educational institutions.
    • Social cohesion, employment and decent work, under the strand "Other areas of human and social development" (8% of the entire budget): The programme concentrates on developing methods to monitor and assess progress on employment, decent work and social cohesion in partner countries, identifying good practices and supporting a global policy dialogue between governments, social partners and other relevant stakeholders operating in this area.
  • The EC is currently preparing new actions under the 2013 Annual Action Programme.

Background information

Employment and decent work for all are key elements in reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs. "Achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people" has recently been included as a target under the first MDGs.

The European Consensus on Development clearly indicates employment as a crucial factor to achieve high level of social cohesion. The EC adopted has gradually adopted a number of key policy documents which porpose  stronger and more coherent future EU commitments to address employment, social protection and decent work for all and to contribute to the social dimension of globalization pdf - 153 KB [153 KB] . In the EC communication, "an Agenda for Change", the EC commits itself to inclusive growth, characterised by people’s ability to participate in, and benefit from, wealth and job creation.

In this field, the EU supports national and local development strategies and interventions aimed at enabling the most vulnerable population groups to emerge from poverty and insecurity, i.e. improving employability through vocational training.

The EU has a strategic partnership with the ILO pdf - 321 KB [321 KB] to ensure the effective uptake of decent work and related issues at all levels.

The social dimension of Globalisation, Employment and Decent Work is one of the policy areas where the EU is committed to pursuing policy coherence for development.

Last update: 02/08/2013 | Top