Policy Briefs

Kateryna Bornukova|Uladzimir Valetka|Jose Cuesta| Gleb Shymanovich| 29.12.2020

UNICEF Policy Brief: Commitment To Equity For Children: Redistributive Effects And Efficiency Of Social Assistance To Households With Children In Belarus

The poverty rate in Belarus is among the lowest in Eastern Europe, and public social assistance focuses specifically on families and children. In 2016, 1.9 per cent of national GDP was spent on child-related benefits: 46 per cent of children receive some kind of benefit, with children aged up to three almost universally served by the system. The state offers a range of social protections, from lump-sum benefits in pregnancy, maternity aid and a childcare allowance, through to targeted social assistance, education and healthcare.

However, the national measure of child poverty in Belarus increased to 11.3 per cent in 2017, compared to 5.9 per cent for the population as a whole. Families with three or more children aged between 6 and 13, especially single-parent households, and families living in small cities and rural areas, are the most adversely affected. The distribution of benefits appears to favour some households more than others, suggesting a social policy bias and shortfalls in support for the most vulnerable.

A research report funded by UNICEF and the World Bank simulates changes in benefits and subsidies that will make social protection for the most vulnerable children in Belarus more equitable and efficient, and estimates the costs of achieving the SDG target of halving child poverty.

The report is showcased as "Best of UNICEF Research and Evaluation 2020" with a high potential for impact on policies and programmes that benefit children.