Statement of the GCSPF to the Conference USP2030

Download here the pdf version of this Statement.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to this conference and to share some thoughts on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors.

The Global Coalition is a network of over 100 civil society organizations, trade unions and think tanks from all continents – all committed to advocate for and support the development and implementation of universal social protection.

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) highly welcomes the global call to action: “TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL SOCIAL PROTECTION BY 2030”.

More than half of the world’s population is still denied a life in dignity and the human right to social protection. To deliver on the commitment to universal social protection is a legal, moral, political and economic imperative. Social protection is a key instrument for the successful implementation of Agenda 2030, for eradicating poverty and for reducing inequality. Social protection is a human right, not charity for the poorest.

What we want to take from this conference is the commitment to take concrete steps towards the implementation of universal social protection systems which are rights-based and gender-responsive, providing adequate benefits for all contingencies over the lifecycle.

We highly welcome the focus on a universal approach designed to overcome exclusion, targeting and fragmentation of programs. We want social protection policies that leave no one behind and contribute to solidarity and cohesive societies.

We very much value the commitment of different stakeholders to this joint initiative, marking their collective willingness to deliver universal social protection. We wish to see this initiative flourish with the broad participation of all countries around the world.

It will come as no surprise that we offer and also ask for the effective participation of civil society and trade unions in dialogues on social protection, at national, regional and global level. There are a few good reasons for this specific demand, since civil society and trade unions play an important transformative role in realizing the right to social protection.

CSO’s and trade unions support the organization of women and men and their communities, often being able to successfully include disadvantaged groups. This enables these organisations to understand their perspectives and needs.
Civil Society organisations develop concrete and specific social protection services, demonstrating that it is possible to reach otherwise excluded groups. These experiences can serve as pilots or good practice and should be taken into account and become part of comprehensive public social protection systems.

Civil Society organizations and trade unions also raise awareness and empower people to demand the extension and transformation of social protection systems.
Finally, involving civil society and trade unions structurally and effectively in the effort of realizing universal social protection is a matter of democratic and inclusive governance, generating broad-based support and strengthening the social contract.

We heard today here in the discussion, and we also know from the work of our members in many countries, that capacity building and access to knowledge exchange are a felt need on all levels. Therefore we would like to see joint learning at the core of the initiative.

But we would also like to insist on sustainable financing. Social protection is affordable, everywhere. Not in some distant better future. It is affordable now.

Today we heard inspiring country examples showing innovative ways to extend fiscal space for social protection. Fiscal space has to be created in national budgets.

However, when we talk about “Together to Achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030”, we also have to talk about the international responsibility to support countries to create and protect the fiscal space.

We need international cooperation to reduce tax evasion, and to avoid excessive tax competition.
We also need to protect the budget for social protection in times of crises and disasters – which would include adequately provisioning social protection spending during austerity periods. Further work needs to be done to develop a global solidarity mechanism that can provide that kind of support.

Just 0.23% of global GDP would suffice to provide social protection floors for the entire world’s population. The fact that global society cannot muster the solidarity to finance that level of national and international redistribution is a violation of human rights. We need to act now. There are only 11 years to 2030. We have much work to do.

To summarise what we have heard here today, we can say there is so much experience and expertise and so many good ideas how to work on this together. There is an important momentum for joint global action to reach Universal Social Protection by 2030. We should not let it go, nobody should stay behind.

Thank you very much!
Geneva, 5 February 2019

Download here the pdf version of this Statement.

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