GCSPF at the session “Financing Universal Social Protection in Developing Countries”

A panel on “Financing Universal Social Protection in Developing Countries” was held at the Civil Society Forum at the Annual Meetings of IMF and World Bank Group on October 11, 2017. Rachel Moussié spoke on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors.

Download here the pdf version. Visit here the report of the session.

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors is a network of almost 100 NGOs and trade unions, representing millions of people around the world. The coalition engages with the ILO, the UN Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B)and other relevant organizations as well as supporting national and regional initiatives to promote SPFs.

For most countries a national SPF that guarantees that all residents and children can take part in society and have access to essential health care is within short-term reach:

In the medium term

In the longer term

For 13 countries, a SPF does not seem achievable with domestic resources alone, as more than 10 percent of GDP would be required – most of these are low income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Here international support will play a critical role.

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors is:

  1. Calling out the contradictions between the stated commitments made by international financial institutions towards the SDGs, and their technical advice to national governments. The policies promoted by the IMF and the World Bank are working against efforts to build universal social protection floors.a. The IMF and the World Bank officially support the SDGs, but continue to promote a social safety net approach that runs counter to SDGs targets on social protection floors.[5]
    b. On domestic revenue mobilisation, both IMF and World Bank policy advice has promoted declining corporate tax rates, and the World Bank has encouraged the use of tax incentives to attract FDI. IMF data shows a declining trend in statutory corporate tax rates in emerging and low-income countries since the mid-1990s to 2007, from about 31 percent to 26 percent.  In Africa, the Fund suggests that there has been a narrowing of the tax base – due to harmful tax exemptions – rather than broadening the tax base.[6]
    c. The ILO review of IMF country reports for the 2016-2020 period show that 68 countries in the global South will be revising and scaling down spending on safety nets and welfare benefits (Ortiz et al. 2015). Yet, raising resources through social security contributions can help to finance social protection floors and is redistributive.
  2. The coalition also strongly opposes the proxy-means-tested approaches in social protection not least because rights to social protection should not be discriminatory, but because proxy-means-tested approaches are inherently unfit for purpose, however well intentioned. Cutting corners cuts out millions of those in need.[7]

The IEO report warns that the World Bank approach to social protection may be evolving due to their support to the ILO Social Protection Floors and that this may “complicate” the strong collaboration we see today between the IMF and the Bank in promoting social safety nets.  As per the recommendations in the IEO report, we encourage the IMF to rethink their approach to social protection and consult with ILO, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and civil society when it comes to the formulation of a new Social Protection Strategy.

Collaboration with CSOs must become a more open, deliberative, and conclusive process to not only inform financing strategies at the national and international level, but also to work with CSOs to promote awareness of technical processes which affect the lives of those the IMF and World Bank are ultimately meant to help. There is a need to demonstrate how consultative processes[8] have informed financing policy to ensure that CSOs and the interests they protect are taken seriously. More concrete actions are needed to ensure that civil society is able to be effectively integrated at the level of other stakeholders.

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors is ready to discuss and contribute to the development of a new IMF strategy for Social Protection that will support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Rachel Moussie (WIEGO) participated on behalf of the GCSPF in the panel “Financing Universal Social Protection in Developing Countries” A Session at the Civil Society Forum at the Annual Meetings of IMF and World Bank. The session was held on October 11, 2017.


[1] http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/09/21/world-bank-ilo-announce-new-push-for-universal-social-protection - 21 September 2016

[2] Berg, Andrew G. and Jonathan D. Ostry, 2011, “Inequality and Unsustainable Growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin?” Staff Discussion Note No. 11/08 (Washington: International MonetaryFund).

[3] The Index measures the amount of resources that a country would have to allocate to social transfers and health services in order to achieve the minimum level of income security and health security that is demanded by the Recommendation R. 202 on national social protection floors.

[4] The SPF Index can be calculated for 129 countries when $1.9 and $3.1 a day in 2011 PPP are used as minimum income criteria

[5] In target 1.3, the SDGs require to “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.”

[6] http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/world-bank-must-stop-encouraging-harmful-tax-competition/

[7] Exclusion by design: An assessment of the effectiveness of the proxy means test poverty targeting mechanism / Kidd, Stephen; Gelders, Bjorn; Bailey-Athias, Diloá; International Labour Office, Social Protection Department (SOCPRO). Geneva: ILO, 2017

[8] Such as Assessment Based National Dialogue’s (ABNDs) and Development Finance Assessments (DFAs).

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

Subscribe to our newsletter: 

@2024 Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram