Technical Workshop on Inclusive Social Protection (6-7 July 2015, Geneva, Switzerland)

For two days, specialist from all parts of the world discussed different aspects and developments in the field of social protection for people with disabilities. The workshop - second of this kind this year - was organized in close collaboration between the International Labour Organization and the International Disability Alliance with the aim of:

1) Presenting preliminary findings of an ILO study on disability-inclusion in four national social protection schemes (Argentina, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan and South Africa)

2) Discussing in detail two country cases, presented by DPO representatives from India (advocacy for reforms and streamlining in line with the CRPD) of several existing disability specific schemes) and Philippines (making main poverty assistance schemes inclusive and developing a disability specific scheme)

3) Discussing main elements of thematic report on social protection to be presented by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the UN General Assembly

4) Seeking update on different social protection initiatives from different global stakeholders and discuss next steps on how to advance knowledge on disability-inclusive social protection at global level.

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On June 30th, the World Bank Group and the ILO launched a joint mission and plan of action:  Universal social protection to ensure that no one is left behind.

Universal coverage and access to social protection are central to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, the World Bank Group's twin goals by 2030. Universal social protection coverage is at the core of the ILO’s mandate, guided by its standards including the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, No. 202, adopted by 185 states in 2012.

For the World Bank Group and the ILO, universal social protection refers to the integrated set of policies designed to ensure income security and support to all people across the life cycle – paying particular attention to the poor and the vulnerable.  Anyone who needs social protection should be able to access it.

Since the 2000s, universality has re-entered the development agenda. First it was education: universal primary education became a Millennium Development Goal in 2000. In 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing universal health coverage. Now it is time for universal social protection.

A joint programme of action to increase the number of countries adopting Universal Social Protection: the World Bank Group and the ILO shared objective is to increase the number of countries that provide universal social protection, supporting countries to design and implement universal and sustainable social protection systems. There are many paths towards universal social protection. It belongs to each country to choose its own, and to opt for the means and methods that best suit its circumstances.

Many countries have embarked on expanding social protection coverage and are reporting significant progress. Yet, the vast majority of the world’s population is still far from enjoying adequate protection. It is time to take determined and innovative steps to trigger change on a larger scale.

Read the concept note: The World Bank Group and ILO Universal Social Protection Initiative here.

A newly established web platform on Social Protection and Human Rights ( is now available: it brings together various resources relevant to a rights-based approach to social protection, including expert commentaries, reports and other publications, as well as relevant legal instruments and legal cases at the international, regional and domestic level.

While the fields of social protection and human rights are being driven closer together thanks to increasing awareness of inequality and vulnerability, there are still gaps in designing and implementing effective programmes that provide comprehensive coverage. Although social protection is an internationally recognized right, implementing a rights-based approach to social protection involves a range of overlapping and interdependent rights, which means that assumptions about approaches in both the human rights and social protection fields need to be challenged.

The Social Protection and Human Rights platform was designed to provide policy makers and practitioners with the tools to challenge these assumptions and bridge the gaps: a clear explanation of fundamental principles and relevant instruments, examples of jurisprudence, and an inclusive space for engagement around experiences, best practices and innovative solutions. This is a unique combination of resources that won’t be found elsewhere.

In the next 2 years, a broad coalition of NGOs, Trade Union, Mutual Health Organizations, will lead an advocacy and awareness raising campaign to make universal and comprehensive social protection a policy priority for national governments and the international community. Read more about the campaign here.

Civil Society Call for a Global Fund for Social Protection

Over 200 civil society organizations and trade unions unite to call for a Global Fund for Social Protection to protect the most vulnerable during COVID-19 and beyond.

Read the Call

SP&PFM Programme

The programme Improving Synergies Between Social Protection and Public Finance Management provides medium-term support to multiple countries aiming to strengthen their social protection systems at a national level and ensure sustainable financing. The programme aims to support countries in their efforts towards achieving universal social protection coverage.

This initiative is implemented jointly by the ILO, Unicef, and the GCSPF.

Read more

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