Social Security Sector Development Program
sector: Finance, Public Sector Management | country: Mongolia
Targeting. Social welfare reform is a sensitive and protracted process. The Social Security Sector Development Program (SSSDP) pioneered new concepts and approaches at a critical time in the country s history, but the reforms it initiated are not complete. The progress made by the program in developing a new vision for social welfare was undermined by the introduction of universal benefits. New efforts at introducing proxy means test (PMT) under the Food and Nutrition Social Welfare Program and Project (FNSWPP), are attempting to help ensure that the reform agenda is sustained. The Draft Social Welfare Law of 2010 will be another measure of how far the reforms are accepted.
Livelihood support councils. As part of the reforms pioneered by the project, the government introduced livelihood support councils. The councils clearly have an important contribution to make and have the legal mandate to do so. However, there is uncertainty as to how effective they are nationally and what is the full range of their responsibilities. A national assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the councils is urgently needed.
Updating the social security sector strategy paper. The Social Security Sector Strategy Paper (SSSSP) was a major milestone and the document is still a valuable guide for the sector. There is a need to update it, and this should be a priority once key decisions have been made regarding the proposed consolidation and targeting of benefits.
Use of information, education, and communication. The SSSDP conducted an intensive information, education, and communication campaign to garner support among the public and politicians for the reforms. As Mongolia enters a new period of reform that may result in the introduction of a national PMT, it is vital that a new information, education, and communication campaign is put in place and sustained.
Increasing roles for nongovernment organizations. The SSSDP brought civil society into social welfare provision for the first time in Mongolia. The role of nongovernment organizations (NGOs) can be expanded in the areas of monitoring of policy implementation, service, and advocacy for reforms.
Civil registration. The SSSDP failed to explicitly address a fundamental weakness in the social welfare system: the systematic exclusion of unregistered households. Efforts to overcome this flaw need to be accelerated.
Creating incentives at vocational training centers. The investment in training and workshop equipment has helped the vocational training centers to generate income. This income could provide a sustainable fund for equipment replacement and student scholarships.
Improving the impact of business incubation centers. The impact of the centers could be furthered by (i) providing start-up loans and performance-based support, (ii) providing better outreach to remote areas, and (iii) developing business incubation center packages that better target the livestock development needs of herders.
Social insurance. The State Social Insurance General Office (SSIGO) made considerable progress in improving its technical capacity under the project. It is likely that even greater progress would have been made had the office been given greater autonomy and more involvement in policy making.
Monitoring and evaluation. The project did not have an adequate monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system. Analysis on gender and socioeconomic impacts are not available because of a lack of collection and disaggregation of data. The limited capacity of the M&E unit needs to be addressed if the impacts of future reform initiatives are to be properly assessed.