Video: Side event Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030

The video of the virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” is now online. The side event on the Theme Austerity & Social Protection was co-hosted by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) and it was held during the Global People’s Assembly on 22 September, 2021.

Panel participants

Read more: the concept note, the speakers bios, the invitation, Global People’s Assembly.

Declaration

The Declaration of the Global People’s Assembly 2021 “The COVID-19 Wake Up Call: We The People Resist Being Left Behind” is available here.

The chapter on Social Protection is below.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the decrepit state of existing social protection systems. Decades of broken promises, policies that prioritise profits over people and planet, and austerity programmes have gutted social protection, emergency safety nets and essential public services.

While emergency programmes provide relief in times of crisis, they are stopgap measures. The international community and national governments must create a comprehensive, social protection system if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved and bring the ideas of “Leave No One Behind” and “A Life of Dignity for All” to life.

Social protection systems are a proven, direct and fast-acting mechanism to end poverty and reduce inequalities. They unleash individual creativity and capacities, provide resilience in the face of ‘natural’ calamities, pandemics and economic crises, and are an investment in the long-term economic and social growth of countries and communities. Social protection is a universal public good and a human right!

Our Demands

Create and ensure a Universal Social Protection Floor for all, which ensures:

  • Access to quality, essential health care, including maternity care
  • Income security for children, including access to quality education and nutrition
  • Cash transfers for people who are unable to earn sufficient income, including the unemployed, people with disabilities and individuals on parental leave.
  • Pension payments for older persons

To realise a Universal Social Protection Floor, the international community must:

  • Recommit to achieving SDG 1.3. Countries must “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable”. Indicators to measure the achievement of SDG 1.3 include disaggregated data showing the proportion of various sectors of the population, including women, children, older persons and vulnerable, covered by social protection systems.
  • Establish a Global Fund for Social Protection to provide the technical, advisory and financial resources that low-income countries need to establish and maintain Social Protection Floors. The fund will also support capacity building within and between nations so that countries can learn from each other and put in place sustainable systems that are resilient against external shocks. More details in this Civil Society Call for a Global Fund for Social Protection.

While international funding and technical support is important, it does not replace the responsibility of national and local governments to establish and finance rights-based, national social protection floors.

Governments must:

  • Recognise that social protection is a right and public good that must not be politicised.
  • Put cash into the hands of people who need it the most, including excluded and marginalised communities, migrants and refugees, older persons, parents on parental leave, people with disabilities, those living in rural areas, indigenous populations, those unable to work and individuals who face gender, ethnical, racial or other forms of discrimination.
  • Allocate the resources needed to strengthen existing entitlement programmes and establish a sustainable social protection floor with sustainable financing.
  • Remove bureaucratic hurdles to access social protection and prioritise accountability from the bottom up.
  • Ensure Decent Work and living wages for workers to reduce inequalities; recognise and deliver social protection to informal workers; establish a benchmark for unpaid care labour.
  • Ensure access to education by providing internet connectivity for low-income families and marginalised communities and scholarships for individuals who face discrimination based on work and descent.

The Gender Dimension: The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that developing and resourcing gender-responsive social protection systems is central to combating poverty among women and girls. Social protection systems must cover informal sector workers, including those in unpaid care work. Social protection health schemes must include and cover services specific to the needs of women and girls, in all their diversity, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH), maternal and infant health services, sexual and gender- based violence services and safe abortion care.

Age: Social protection is essential to reduce vulnerabilities in old age. In many countries, older women are more likely to be impoverished than men, a result of lower wages, unpaid care work and longer life expectancy . . . Youth must be provided opportunities to be partners, as well as beneficiaries, in the development of policies and processes that affect their lives.

Marginalisation: Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent face intergenerational discrimination, exclusion from public resources and entitlements, and are routinely segregated despite constitutional and legal protective measures. Individuals from these communities are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty. Cultural practices, child slavery and trafficking deny millions their right to quality education. Marginalised communities, including persons with disabilities, must be represented in local governments to ensure that their voices are heard and right to social protection realised.

Global People’s Assembly, 21 – 23 September 2021
Co-hosted by the following partners:
Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD), Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSD), Asia Civil Society Partnership on Sustainable Development (APSD), Asia Dalits Rights Forum, Asia Development Alliance (ADA), Bread for the World, Germany, Bridging Ventures, CBM, CIVICUS, Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UNWN), CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), Democracy Without Borders, EURODAD, No Profit on Pandemic, FORUS, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), GESTOS, Global Forum of Communities of DWD (GFoD), Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Global Policy Forum, Gray Panthers, Latindadd, My World Mexico, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), SDG Watch Europe, Women Engaged for a Common Future (WECF), Women’s Major Group , TAP Network, Trust Africa.