The GCSPF at the Civil Society Meeting – FfD in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

Nicola Wiebe spoke on behalf of the GCSPF at the Civil Society Meeting “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” held by the UN Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General with civil society on 2 November 2020. She spoke about the rationale and need for the Global Fund for Social Protection, details of the civil society call for this were shared and responded to in the meeting and the GCSPF SPF film was shown in the course of the meeting. The video of her intervention on Social Protection is here and below and the PDF version is available here. Members of the Global Coalition also participated at the High-level meeting.

On 28 May 2020, the Prime Ministers of Canada, Jamaica and the Secretary-General convened a High-Level Event on “Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” to join forces with Heads of State and Government, international organizations, and other key partners to enable discussions of concrete financing solutions to the COVID-19 health and development emergency, guided by the roadmap set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Six Member States-led Discussion Groups, including civil society representatives, produced a comprehensive and bold menu of policy options to survive and build back better from this crisis, which were presented to Finance Ministers at a High-Level Meeting on 8 September and to Heads of State and Government at a Leaders’ Meeting at 29 September.

The Civil Society FfD Group actively contributed to all stages of this process and provided inputs to all six discussion groups and all High-Level meetings (find them here). In this context, the UN Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General convened a meeting with civil society to provide the opportunity to comment on the menu of options, strategize on how to strengthen the role of the United Nations in economic governance and explore how to keep the momentum for FfD in the coming period. This process was also triggered by the Open Letter that was prepared by the CS FfD Group and widely endorsed in the lead-up to the Heads of State meeting.

On 2 November 2020, the UN Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General held a meeting with civil society to provide the opportunity to comment on the menu of options, strategize on how to strengthen the role of the United Nations in economic governance and explore how to keep the momentum for FfD in the coming period. The agenda is here.

Link to video recording of the event.

Nicola Wiebe spoke on behalf of the GCSPF, her intervention on Social Protection is below, the video is here and the PDF version is available here.

Members of the Global Coalition also participated at the High-level meeting. See the information below.

Dialogue 1 – Climate: The UN role in promoting a Just Transition
David Boys, Deputy General Secretary, Public Services International

Dialogue 2 – Fiscal Consolidation/Austerity and Privatization of Public Services
Magdalena Sepulveda, Executive Director, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)

Open Dialogue with interventions from the floor
Helen Saldanha, VIVAT International on behalf of the NGO Committee on FfD

Interlude 3 – Video on Social Protection Floors

Closing Segment
Peter Kamalingin, Pan Africa Program Director, Oxfam International

Source: Civil Society Financing for Development (FfD) Group.

CIVIL SOCIETY MEETING

Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond
Monday, 2 November 2020

Dialogue 2 – Social Protection

The PDF version is available here and the video is here.

Nicola Wiebe, Social Protection Advisor
Bread for the World and Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors

Thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors – a global network of civil society organizations, trade unions and think tanks.

Millions of people have fallen into poverty due to the health and socioeconomic crisis caused by COVID-19. The global pandemic illustrates more drastically than ever that there is an urgent need to set up Universal Social Protection Systems, starting from Social Protection Floors (SPFs).

SPFs guarantee access to essential health care and provide minimum income security, hence protecting the human right to social protection of each individual. At the same time, they also protect society as a whole. Among many beneficial effects, social protection reduces the duration of economic downturns by means of counter-cyclical spending. This is why governments and social partners in the aftermath of the global financial crisis unanimously adopted the ILO Social Protection Floor Recommendation 202.

In principle, States bear the overall responsibility to establish and sustain SPFs. Yet, there is an important role for the international community of nations, as backed by extraterritorial state obligations agreed upon in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

There is an international responsibility to enable countries to collect due taxes that presently escape their fiscal systems. There is also a human rights obligation to protect social protection spending from imposed austerity measures. The obligation to protect human beings from hardship has precedence over debt obligations.

Beyond this, an international, solidarity-based financing mechanism for social protection is urgently required. In most countries, it is a matter of priorities to allocate resources for SPFs. But, there is the legal and moral obligation to support the few countries that cannot finance their social protection systems yet.

A Global Fund for Social Protection should be endowed with resources according to the financial capacity of states and disbursed according to social needs. Decisions regarding design and implementation have to be taken by the government of the recipient country, based on national dialogues with social partners and civil society.

The UN and its specialised agencies need to play a leading role in setting up and governing a Global Fund for Social Protection.

Social protection floors for all are affordable now. 0.05 percent of GDP of high-income countries or 1.4 percent of illicit financial flows would suffice to close the financial gaps.

Social protection is a key instrument for the successful implementation of Agenda 2030 and for confronting this pandemic and future crises.