The video of the virtual side event “Building Roofs and Raising Floors Through Inclusive Digital Technologies and A Global Fund for Social Protection”, co-organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), is now online.
The virtual event was organised by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP). High level speakers from Governments, United Nations, civil society and academia tackled the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and homelessness, how digital technology can extend social protection ﬂoors to those who are living without roofs and the value and urgency of the Global Fund for Social Protection to deliver to all the right to social protection.
The side event took place at the UN Commission for Social Development 2021 (CSocD59) and was held on Friday 12 February, 2021.
Moderator: Magdalena Sepulveda - Executive Director, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)
Keynote speaker: Olivier De Schutter - Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, United Nations
Meryame Kitir - Minister of Development Cooperation and Urban Policy, Government of Belgium
Saila Ruuth - State Secretary to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Government of Finland
Rob Robinson - Partner for Dignity and Rights, Institute for Global Homelessness
Samuel Obara – Programme Manager, Africa Platform for Social Protection
Roshni K. Nuggehalli – Global Call to Action Against Poverty Co-Convenor, WadaNaTodo Abhiyan(WNTA), GCAP India and Executive Director, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA)
Sulistri Afrileston – Deputy President in charge of Social Protection, All Indonesian Trade Union Confederation
Nicola Wiebe - Social Protection Policy Specialist, Bread for the World; Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
Shahra Razavi - Director of Social Protection Department, The International Labour Organisation
Paul Ladd – Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
The speaker bios are here.
Download the main talking points of the speakers here.
In the words of Minister Kitir ‘A global fund for social protection, properly funded and managed, might be the tool we need. Because we are all in this together.’
Covid 19 has put the spotlight on social protection. All speakers reflected on the impact that Covid-19 is having on wellbeing and human rights, and the numbers affected. Minister Kitir reflected ‘Due to COVID, worldwide, we do not progress on social development. It’s the complete opposite, we are facing social regression.’ Covid 19 has negatively affected women to a greater extent, with crosscutting impacts according to age, disability, race, ethnicity and social class. Behind each statistic is a person with untold lives affected. People experiencing homelessness were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because they had no homes in which to safely shelter.
Covid-19 has placed social protection right back at the centre of the debate of wellbeing and social progress; it will not however be the last crisis that the world faces, and requires international collaboration on a grand scale. Olivier de Schutter pointed out that we have a ‘ unique moment, an opportunity not to be missed’ and that ‘ SDGs call for international solidarity and enhanced development cooperation in the field of social protection’. Social protection measures have been ramped up in many countries, especially in High Income Countries and Middle Income Countries, including in countries with right-wing / conservative governments; but it is easier to roll out enhanced social protection effectively in countries with already comprehensive and universal systems than in countries where new measures need to be put in place. Shara Razavi pointed out that while domestic resource mobilisation must be the basis of national social protection systems, international support for developing countries is critical, especially in the current context of falling commodity prices, disruptions in export revenues and dwindling remittances. While Covid-19 is undoubtedly a tragedy, it presents a political opportunity and economic rationale to make progress with a system that we know works. It also underlines the need to make a shift from ad hoc temporary schemes and porous safety nets to building nationally defined solid social protection systems with predictable means of financing along the lines of ILO-Recommendation 202 of 2012 and, the key principles of the 2011 Bachelet report on social protection floors and of SDG goal 1 target 1.3.
Global Fund for Social Protection
All panellists welcomed the idea of a Global Fund for Social Protection. Olivier de Schutter addressed some of its misconceptions and misunderstandings, not least because previous ‘vertical funds’ have a mixed reputation, especially when they have been top-down and instilled ‘donorship’ rather than ownership and have had non-inclusive governance and imposed conditionality. It is not intended that rich countries provide support in poorer countries as a permanent device, or that taxpayers from rich countries contribute indefinitely to social protection in low-income countries, but that it be a temporary bridge support to incentivize and mobilize mechanisms to invest in social protection systems that are rights based and require predictability in financing. Furthermore the Fund will be a stimulus to invest effectively in social development, legal entitlements (202) and in human capital. It offers the opportunity to be built from the bottom-up, with the participation of local groups and civil society actors, workers’ and employers’ organisations who give voice to those who would otherwise not be heard. They can push for greater accountability by decision-makers and greater transparency of policy processes – the essential basis of inclusive national dialogue to inform the formulation, implementation, financing and monitoring of universal social protection policies.
Current expenditure levels on social protection are insufficient to close the persistent coverage gaps that leave more than half of the global population without any access to social protection, despite large – yet unequal – resource mobilization during COVID-19 crisis. The financing gap for social protection in low income settings is estimated to be half of development assistance provided by OECD countries in 2019. Financing is a constraint, but political will is also a barrier. ODA is likely to go down because of domestic priorities in donor countries. A broader view of financing – including tax evasion and avoidance, and debt relief is needed. Research and evidence from civil society that makes the case for social protection and how it can be effectively delivered in low income situations is still necessary, together with continued advocacy in all fora.
Finland considers housing to be a basic human right, where it is the government’s duty to act, and has had a focus on homelessness since the mid 1980s. It is on track to eradicate it by 2027. Housing First is a model that can be adopted universally and involves community in tracking who and where the homeless are. It is rooted in the commitment to the wider context of social protection and universal social and health services. Temporary shelter, introduced by some countries during the crisis, is not the answer. Without a working model over the longer term these measures may be rolled back as soon the crisis recedes. Universal cash benefits can play an important role in safeguarding individual autonomy by providing means to proper housing for those who would lack sufficient resources otherwise. Experience points to the need for housing to be integrated into social protection systems that are universal, comprehensive, integrated and addressed across sectors and issues holistically. They need to be predictable, adaptive and accompany people throughout their lives, and be there and operative when people don’t need it, as well as when they do. People dip in and out of needing support.
State Secretary Saila Ruuth said ‘In the light of Covid-19, it is very timely to reintroduce proposals, such as the Global Social Protection Fund, in order to meet the global challenges in the field of social protection.’
Digital solutions should be built on trust, be inclusive and have data security, data privacy and high ethics. At the same time the benefits of new technologies have to be balanced with the risks around privacy and misuse of data by public and private bodies. By putting people at the centre, accessibility and quality of services are improved and well-being can be promoted, including through economic efficacy and tools to act against climate change. Experience from Africa is showing huge opportunities for new digital technologies to improve social protection systems; supporting people across the life course to access entitlements more quickly and efficiently, and with the potential to reduce costs, mismanagement and corruption. The digital divide in infrastructure, skills and access still excludes many in vulnerable situations, exacerbated by age, gender, disability, ethnicity, location and social class. A call was made for digital public goods through digital cooperation and innovation at the global level; indispensable for sustainable development and to promote human agency, human rights and the rules-based international system.
Further information at UNDESA: “Inclusive Digital Technologies and a Global Fund for Social Protection”
List of relevant ILO materials related to the topics of the side event and in particular Shahra Razavi’s intervention.
The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors calls on the G20 to launch an initiative to establish a Global Fund for Social Protection. Read here the advocacy letter or donwload a pdf version.
9 February, 2021
In 2021, several important decisions will be taken at the international level as the world community strives to find ways out of the COVID 19 crisis. The focus will be on the vaccination efforts that are now beginning in many countries. An essential complement to that is to overcome the devastating social and economic consequences of the pandemic and build resilience going forward. To that end, and in advance of the G20 Employment Working Group meeting on February 15–17, we call on the G20 to launch an initiative to establish a Global Fund for Social Protection.
We write to you on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a group of over 100 national and international non-governmental organizations promoting the right of all people to social security.1
The crisis has not only created unprecedented demand on national healthcare systems, but it has also decimated jobs and workers’ livelihoods, and it has fuelled greater poverty and inequalities. In order to support those affected, as well as better prevent comparable crisis situations in the future, well-functioning social protection systems are needed. In many parts of the world, however, such systems are not in place. According to the International Labour Organisation, even before the crisis less than one half of the world’s population had access to any form of social protection, and more than two-thirds of the world’s population were unable to count on a comprehensive set of protections set out in international labour standards2. In many cases, it is not the political will that is lacking, but sufficient financial resources, especially in low-income countries. To support those countries lacking fiscal space in setting up appropriate social protection systems, a broad, solidarity-based and well-coordinated initiative by the international community is therefore needed.
This is why Magdalena Sepúlveda, former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, and Olivier de Schutter, current UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, have called for the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection.3 This call is supported by the government of France4, a number of civil society organisations and trade unions.5 The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors strongly backs this initiative and has published a global call for the establishment of a Global Fund.6
A Global Fund for Social Protection would provide technical assistance for governments to offer a set of benefits that would guarantee a minimum income security for all over the lifecycle. It would also provide temporary matching funds to low-income countries.
This year’s G20 is a critical opportunity for the world’s largest economies to come together and coordinate a response to overcome the consequences of the pandemic. We therefore urge you to use your political means within the framework of the G20 to advocate for such a Fund. Such an act of international solidarity would unite the world on the path towards an equitable recovery from this pandemic.
We look forward to an opportunity to talk to you about our call. For your commitment, we thank you very much.
Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
List of member organisations:
Act Church of Sweden
Action Contre la Faim - France
Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP)
Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC)
Brot für die Welt
Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC)
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
Dullah Omar Institue, University of the Western Cape
Free Trade Union Development Center (FTUDC)
Friends of the Disabled Association (FDA)
Global Social Justice
International Movement ATD Fourth World
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary Loreto Generalate
International Presentation Association (IPA)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Labour Education Foundation (LEF)
Olive Community Development Initiatives(OCDI) Nigeria
Olof Palme International Center
Save the Children UK
Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Center (SMRC)
Social Justice in Global Development
World Federalist Movement – Canada
WSM (We Social Movements)
Markus Kaltenborn (Germany)
Michael Cichon (Germany)
3 https://reliefweb.int/report/world/underwriting-poor-global-fund-social-protection-briefing-note-special-rapporteur-right; https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/global-fund-social-protection.aspx. A similar proposal has been made by Michael Cichon, former Director of the ILO Social Security Department, see https://www.unrisd.org/road-to-addis-cichon
The virtual side event “Building Roofs and Raising Floors Through Inclusive Digital Technologies and A Global Fund for Social Protection”, co-organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) with bring together speakers from the Governments of Finland and Belgium, the United Nations, civil society, academia, and lived experience. Speakers will explore the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and homelessness, and discuss why the Global Fund for Social Protection is necessary to ensure that all have the right to social protection. Speakers will specifically consider how digital technology can extend social protection floors to those who are living without roofs.
The side event will take place at the UN Commission for Social Development 2021 (CSocD59) and will be held on Friday 12 February, 2021; 8:30 am – 9:45 am EST.
Simultaneous translation from English to Spanish and French will be available.
A secure Zoom link will be provided to all registrants. Please register at: https://depaul.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0IkT0ehST1m3e7bysmOQ_w
The speaker bios are here.
Social protection is a human right, and an investment with high social and economic returns – yet more than half the world’s population do not have access to comprehensive social protection. Coverage remains particularly low for marginalized children, people with disabilities, older people, widows, women, people working in the informal economy, migrants, the LGBTQI community, and people who are experiencing homelessness.
COVID-19 has acted as an X-ray to highlight inequalities and as a stress test for access to social protection, basic human rights, income, health security, and such essential goods as housing and food. People who are homeless have been particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, where “staying home” has been the primary strategy for protection against the virus. Social protection is a means of ensuring those without a roof have one, as countries that have tackled homelessness are proving. Many countries are now realizing both the necessity and the long-term benefits of universal, comprehensive and adequate social protection for all, based on sustainable and equitable financing, robust, adapted and tripartite administration and anchored in law. Inclusive digital technologies can help to build roofs and raise floors for the most vulnerable among us and will ensure the sustainability of interventions.
The necessity for guaranteeing, financing and delivering social protection to all including the most hard to reach may require, notably in low income countries, the technical and financial support of a Global Fund for Social Protection, which is being explored by the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. The pandemic is set to push up to 150 million people into extreme poverty1, and 150 million children into multidimensional poverty2, and we can expect that homelessness has also increased worldwide. Homelessness is one of the most visible indicators of failure in any national social protection system, and the cruelest form of social exclusion often of the most marginalized. Yale University estimates “that no less than 150 million people, or about 2 percent of the world’s population, are homeless. However, about 1.6 billion, more than 20 percent of the world’s population, may lack adequate housing.”3 A substantial number of people in the latter group (i.e. more than 20% of the global population) are likely to be permanently vulnerable to homelessness notably in times of crises. The economic impact of COVID- 19 is a driver of housing insecurity and pushing ever more people to the brink of homelessness.
To respond to the socioeconomic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have put in place some social protection responses to support workers, children and families4. However, these are, for the most part, ad hoc measures of short duration, and need to be transformed into sustainable social protection measures. In relation to housing, time-limited eviction moratoriums are beginning to end around the world, putting more people at risk of homelessness.
We know that still one fifth of the world lacks guarantees to social protection and homelessness is linked to this. We know what works, and which countries have made it one of their priorities to deal with homelessness as part of their social protection systems. It is time to build on these experiences to turn short-term measures into long- term solutions for all. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that countries with established social protection systems are in a much better position to address the social and economic fallout of crises faster, more effectively, and more efficiently than countries who have to introduce new schemes on an ad hoc emergency basis.
Communities that can count on inclusive data and technology systems have also been best positioned to respond to the unique needs of those who are homeless and housing insecure during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is more important than ever to make connections between social protection and the ongoing crisis in homelessness, strengthen and scale up social protection systems with digital systems, as the best way not only to cushion the impacts of the crisis on all those who are the most vulnerable, including families and those who are homeless, but to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery for all.
The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty (GCAP) invite you to a 75-minute side event with speakers from Governments, United Nations, civil society and academia. We will tackle the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and homelessness, and consider why the Global Fund for Social Protection is necessary to deliver to all the right to social protection. We will look at how digital technology can extend social protection floors to those who are living without roofs. Examples include the sponsored use of cellphones that ensure a minimum of connectedness and a critical link to society. Insights and conclusions will be inputted into the ongoing work of the Commission of Social Development and the discussions about the Global Fund for Social Protection.
All are welcome. The following provisional program outline is as of 4 February 2021; an updated flier with all confirmed speakers will be circulated closer to the event.
Moderator - Magdalena Sepulveda, Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)
Section 1: Overview of the Topic from Member States and Special Rapporteur
Section 2: Lived Experience and Social Protections for All
Section 3: Action for change: Collaboration between civil society and the United Nations
Conclusions and recommendations
Primary Contact: Lydia Stazen, DePaul University, firstname.lastname@example.org
A secure Zoom link will be provided to all registrants. Please register at:https://depaul.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0IkT0ehST1m3e7bysmOQ_w
|e-GCSPF # 49 - February 2021 - CSocD59|
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.
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.