Europe and Central Asia Knowledge Brief

67 items available

Permanent URI for this collection

This is a regular series of notes highlighting recent analyses, good practices, and lessons learned from the development work program of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Thumbnail Image
    Social Safety Nets in Europe and Central Asia : Preparing for Crisis, Adapting to Demographic Change, and Promoting Employability
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-04) Williams, Penny ; Larrison, Jennica ; Strokova, Victoria ; Lindert, Kathy
    Social safety nets in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region responded to protect people's incomes during the global recession, especially in countries where systems were developed before the crisis. As population's age and labor forces shrink, the elderly will increasingly rely on general revenues to supplement contributory pensions, competing with assistance for other vulnerable groups. Social safety nets that link to employment and other services can help people transition from reliance on social transfers to employability. Countries should not wait to confront these challenges. To further strengthen social safety nets, governments in ECA should consolidate and harmonize benefits, invest in systems improvements for greater efficiency, link social assistance and employment services, and actively communicate these reforms to their populations.
  • Thumbnail Image
    Social Protection Responses to the Global Economic Crisis in ECA
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-03) Lindert, Kathy ; Schwarz, Anita
    Besides affecting the private sector, the current global economic downturn will likely have a far-reaching impact on government revenues around the world. As country budgets are squeezed tight, social programs which directly help poor and vulnerable people will become pressure points for reducing government spending. In many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA), two years of rising food prices, high energy costs and the global economic downturn have combined with other shocks like natural disasters and political instability. The impacts of these crises could reduce government revenues and affect social spending and pension systems, even as the need for unemployment and benefits increases. In the short run, ECA countries may call on the World Bank to provide financial or technical support to help with the immediate impacts of the crises. Rapid support could include: (a) helping countries finance temporary scaling-up of well-targeted safety nets, either in beneficiary coverage or with a topping-up of benefits values; and (b) supporting actions to protect the budgets of well-targeted programs and other crucial spending on education and health. Governments and the Bank need to be prepared to respond more adeptly in the future; safety nets are important not only in times of crises but, in the long-run, they help to protect the poor and allow governments to avoid other, more costly or inefficient policies.