Social Protection Floors as Key Tool for Eradicating Poverty: Best Practices and Strategies for the Future


The side event “Social Protection Floors as Key Tool for Eradicating Poverty: Best Practices and Strategies for the Future” was held last February 2, 2018 in the framework of the 56th Commission for Social Development.

The moderator of the event was Peter Bakvis, Director, International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC/Global Unions, Washington Office.

The speakers were:

  1. Régis De Muylder, Project Coordinator, International Movement ATD Fourth World in Haiti
  2. Isabel Ortiz, Director, Social Protection Department, International Labour Office
  3. Hanta Fida Cyrille Klein, Counselor, Permanent Mission of Madagascar to the United Nations
  4. Héctor Cárdenas, Minister of Social Action Secretariat (Ministry of Social Affairs), Government of Paraguay

The key messages discussed during the side event were the need to extend social protection coverage to all people — including those left furthest behind. The speakers highlighted the importance of providing social protection through a rights-based approach where communities, especially the marginalized ones, are at the centre. Their needs and voices must be integrated through meaningful participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of social protection schemes that directly affect their lives. At the policy level, further global commitments should be taken by governments to increase levels of social protection around the world. Adopting a specific resolution on social protection at the next Commission on Social Development in 2019 could be an opportunity to further encourage Member States in their commitment to protect their citizens from various setbacks and shocks throughout their lives.

Poverty eradication strategies/social policy recommendations/commitments/initiatives: 

  • Social Protection Floors are defined as a series of universal guarantees for all citizens, across the life cycle, including support for people with disabilities and old-age It is a universal right for all, including those living in poverty. Though the ILO mandate on Social Protection Floors has been approved, coverage gaps are massive. Only 45% of the world population are effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit. As presented by the Mission  of Madagascar, a human-rights approach to social protection systems, including floors, is essential to cover the needs of the poorest.
  • A UN Resolution would be a key step forward in raising the importance of Universal Social Protection as a human right. Though financial obstacles exist because of competing demands, fiscal space has been estimated in even the poorest countries. Social Protection Floor benefits would only cost between 1 to 9% of GDP. The ILO encourages all to contribute to open, national dialogues on this topic in each country.
  • The importance of participation of those furthest behind: as highlighted by the case study from Paraguay where its Secretariat for Social Action has put vigorous effort in developing a pertinent approach in the communities, the recognition and implementation of the right to Prior, Free and Informed Consultation, for the indigenous communities to be seen as rights holders, is essential for their specific inclusion to the Social Protection
  • An innovative strategy to eradicate poverty through access to health care: through an integrated and grassroots approach, ATD Fourth World Haiti and its local partner started an innovative micro-insurance system that guarantees access to healthcare for the most vulnerable families. Through this system, impoverishment from medical expenses in the area has been eliminated.

Read the invitation here and for a more detailed summary of the side event, please click here.