GCSPF at the 2023 UN's Development Cooperation Forum

Barry Herman made an intervention on behalf of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, a member of the GCSPF and also on behalf of the GCSPF at the UN's Development Cooperation Forum. His intervention (see here) was part of the interactive discussion that followed the panel presentation.

The UN's Development Cooperation Forum that met at ministerial level on 14-15 March 2023 in New York, included a session on "Building momentum for effective social protection measures." See the programme here.

Contributing to the debate on national social protection measures were Mr. Alexei Buzu, Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Moldova; Mrs. Fatou Gueye Diane, Minister of Women, Family and Child Protection of Senegal; Ms. Marta Eugenia Esquivel Rodriguez, Executive President of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund; and Ms. Sarah Lynne S. Daway-Ducanes, Assistant Secretary, National Economic Development Authority of the Philippines.

International cooperation on social protection, in particular "circular" cooperation among developing countries, was the focus of discussion by Mr. Mariano Berro González, Executive Director of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation, Mrs. Arunee Hiam, Deputy Director-General of the Thailand International Cooperation Agency; and Ambassador Paula Narváez Ojeda, the Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations, joined by ambassador Agustín Santos Maraver, Permanent Representative of Spain and Ms. Beate Andrees, Special Representative and Director of the International Labor Organization Office at the UN.

A recording of the discussion is available here.

Statement in the Development Cooperation Forum on behalf of
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
United Nations, New York, 15 March 2023

Madam President,

My name is Barry Herman, and I make this statement on behalf of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, a member of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development in New York, a substantive committee of the Conference of NGOs, and on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a network of over 100 NGOs and labour organizations that advocates for enhanced social protection around the world. We all share a keen interest in this morning’s discussion.

The NGO Committee and the Global Coalition regard social protection as a human right. An adequate package of social protection programs would help ameliorate the inherent risks of daily life from conception to old age. It would help empower people to contribute more to society and lead lives of dignity. However, social protection must have an adequate standing in every country’s fiscal accounts.

Governments should want adequate, effective, efficient, universal and sustainable social protection systems. In many countries—rich, poor, and in between—governments are overly influenced by the rich and the companies they control. They would rather starve social protection of needed funds than accept their fiscal responsibility to society.

NGOs, such as the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, are hard pressed to fill the gap. In fact, they cannot marshal the resources needed. It must be a government responsibility.

How does international cooperation fit into this picture?

First, donor governments and international institutions can use their voices to strengthen the global call for adequate and universal social protection systems.

Second, they can help governments develop these systems when requested.

The development community works in this direction, but it has to do more.

Further policy and cultural reforms are warranted.

One example is the policy on social spending that the International Monetary Fund adopted in 2019. The new policy encourages IMF to engage with UN agencies as well as with the World Bank on social spending. It furthermore recognizes the value of taking into consideration the expertise of civil society in the countries its missions visit.

 In fact, we see greater IMF cooperation with UN agencies and civil society. However, austerity pressures seem to still come down too hard on developing economies. We still struggle to ring fence social spending during austerity drives and then adequately expand it and the taxation it requires.

It is nonetheless good to hear the progress that countries are reporting here today.

Civil society recognizes that advancing social protection is an inevitable struggle at domestic and international levels. It is a struggle that we fully embrace.

Thank you, Madam President

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