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Supporting welfare state expansion in the Global South: What role for development aid?

Many countries in the Global South are in the process of expanding their social security systems, including access to pensions and various other cash transfer programmes. Social security (also called social protection) plays a key role in reducing poverty and inequality.

The JUST SOCIETY programme at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), together with the Danish organisation Research & Action for Income Security (RAISE) brought together about 40 representatives from the Danish civil society, the academic community and political parties for a half-day seminar to discuss how Danish development aid can better support expansion of welfare programmes in the Global South.

The seminar included presentations by four experts, with each presentation followed by questions and discussions, as well as a final panel debate on the question of what role Danish development aid could play in ensuring access to social security in low- and middle-income countries.

The seminar was a starting point for opening up a debate on social protection in Danish development aid, which has until now been curiously absent.

Seminar programme

09.30 – 09.35


Rasmus Schjødt, Programme Director, RAISE

09.35 – 09.45

Welcome and introduction to the topic of the seminar

Christian Friis Bach, MP, Radikale Venstre (The Danish Social-Liberal Party)

09.45 – 10.10

What is social protection and how could Denmark contribute to welfare state development?

Marianne Sandvad Ulriksen, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark

10.10 – 10.35

Supporting social security reforms: the case of Jordan.

Sara Utaibi, Senior Advisor, Shamil Programme, Jordan

10.35 – 10.50

Coffee break


10.50 – 11.15

Fighting for the human right to social security: the role of civil society

Gunnel Axelsson Nycander, Policy Advisor, Act Church of Sweden (Act Svenska Kyrkan)

11.15 – 11.40

Financing social protection: what could existing ODA cover in Uganda?

Jacob Ulrich, Roskilde University

11.40 – 12.30

Panel debate:

What role for Danish development aid in ensuring access to social security in low- and middle-income countries?

Chair: Marianne Sandvad Ulriksen, University of Southern Denmark


  • Lars Engberg-Pedersen, Senior Researcher, DIIS
  • Sara Utaibi, Senior Advisor, Shamil Programme, Jordan
  • Gunnel Axelsson Nycander, Act Church of Sweden (Act Svenska Kyrkan)
  • Lars Koch, Secretary General, Oxfam Denmark
  • Christian Friis Bach, MP Radikale Venstre


SDU just society and RAISE logos
seminar report here

Read the full seminar report here

Group picture of presentors

Last Updated 14.05.2024