Costa Rica’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection aims to address the inequalities faced by women and girls. The JP will strengthen the social protection system and accelerate SDG achievement through concrete changes in local initiatives and institutional arrangements. Models will be implemented in three remote cantons to reduce women’s unemployment, increase productivity and reduce poverty at the local level, ultimately building a clear set of indicators and a common monitoring system to facilitate replication around the country.
The JP has implemented activities in several areas over the first six months. Meetings have been held with key institutions to identify priority actions to facilitate women’s economic autonomy through social protection services. Intra- and inter-agency consultation and consensus-building has taken place to design and implement financial mechanisms for women. Additional funding was secured to enhance the National Information System and Unique Registry of Beneficiaries (SINIRUBE), thereby reinforcing the JP’s intent to advance catalytic policy and coordinated interventions. Technical support has also been provided to continue to integrate multi-sectoral gender and environmental sustainability perspectives into the agenda.
The JP has repurposed up to 20% of funding to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the most vulnerable. Strengthening SINIRUBE, as mentioned above, has been particularly helpful in this area. An adaptation of the Buy from Women tool into an e-commerce platform was assessed and approved by UN Women’s ICT Commission; the timeline for this activity was expedited by 2 months from the original plan so as to assist with the response to COVID-19. Thus, in spite of a global health crisis and competing priorities, the JP in Costa Rica has achieved exciting progress towards its ultimate objective.