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Strengthen and ensure convergence and interoperability for digital social protection

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Judith Zimmermann

The Convergence Initiative is a joint effort by USP2030 members, governments, development partners, civil society and the private sector aimed at creating integrated and interoperable social protection information systems. The Initiative, founded by GIZ, ILO, and the World Bank, is aiming at the creation of an open, transparent and virtual community working to build a global consensus around standards and guidelines for social protection information systems.

Challenges

Even though social protection programmes follow a common set of processes, fragmented social protection information systems are often unable to communicate with other programmes or wider government systems. This lack of harmonisation and interoperability not only impacts on social protection outcomes but can also lead to a waste of public expenditure.

Our approach

The project’s goal is to reach a consensus on standards and guidelines for interoperability to thus foster an ecosystem for innovation in which technology solution providers can build products that are interoperable. This will also reduce the time and cost of developing solutions, and design systems that are prepared for future demands, beyond the current level of maturity of policy and information systems. In the end, this enables programmes to mix and match interoperable components from various vendors.

We want the Convergence Initiative to be open and transparent and invite all interested experts and organisations to follow its journey on social media and to join the discussion on the discourse platform. Please visit the Convergence Initiative’s website for more information.

Outcomes

True convergence needs meaningful dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders. The initiative’s approach involves setting up a range of working groups to define standards, consolidating existing efforts across institutions and countries. The following four working groups are currently active:

  • Principles
  • Process standards
  • Data standards
  • Technical standards

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