Invitation Side Event at the LDC5 Civil Society Forum

The side event "Progress through Social Protection - Current initiatives and financing at national and international level" will take place on Monday, March 6th from 5 to 6:30 pm at Civil Society Forum of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).

Moderator: Martha Bekele, Development Initiatives


Social Protection: An investment we cannot afford not to make
Massimiliano La Marca, Senior Economist ILO

Tanzania – expansion of health insurance
Elibariki Msengi, Christian Council of Tanzania

Domestic and international financing: Global Fund for Social Protection embedded in the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection
Priscilla Gavi, GCSPF and Chair of the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP)

National and International Perspectives on Universal Social Protection

This side event offers civil society perspectives on national initiatives to social protection – exemplified by social health protection systems in Tanzania and Rwanda. In addition, recent international funding initiatives will be presented and discussed. A particular focus will be on the proposal for a “Global Fund for Social Protection” whose establishment is called for by both the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. This Fund could become an important complement to the “Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection for a Just Transition” which has been initiated by the UN Secretary General.


National Floors of Social Protection – i.e., the provision of access to basic health care and a minimum level of income security –  is the first step towards fulfilling the human right to social security. This human right is recognized in numerous international human rights treaties and recently highlighted once again by the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security. However, social protection floors are not only based in human rights, they are also one of the core goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Evidence shows that it is an indispensable instrument in the fight against poverty (SDG 1) – and in this respect at the same time the basis for adequate health, food security and housing, especially for the most vulnerable population groups. Moreover, social protection systems serve to promote social cohesion and to provide a basis for more gender equality. Last but not least, they also make an important contribution to increase domestic demand and thus contribute to economic stabilization and resilience.

Still, most people in the world do not have access to social protection, especially in Least Developed Countries. For some countries it is very difficult – not to say impossible – to raise the necessary funds entirely from their own resources. Therefore, there have been calls for international financing mechanisms to provide the required initial funding for the establishment of cash transfer and other social protection programs.

The importance of universal social protection systems is emphasized throughout the Doha Programme for Action, including two important targets:

- Achieve a sustainable increase in coverage of nationally appropriate comprehensive and universal social protection systems and measures, including floors, for all in the least developed countries. (Para 38.)

- Ensure adequate domestic and international support to strengthen inclusive social protection systems in the least developed countries, to address current poverty and vulnerability and future shocks. (Para 202.)

This event is co-organised by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP), Development Initiatives, Christian Council of Tanzania, Act Church of Sweden, Brot für die Welt.

Download the concept note (pdf version).

Civil Society Call for a Global Fund for Social Protection

Civil society organizations and trade unions unite to call for a Global Fund for Social Protection to protect the most vulnerable.

Social Security for All

Civil society organizations and trade unions call governments and international financial institutions to make a commitment to create social security systems that enable everyone to realize their rights. Governments and financial institutions should end policies that have been failing millions of people.

SP&PFM Programme

The programme Improving Synergies Between Social Protection and Public Finance Management provided medium-term support to multiple countries aiming to strengthen their social protection systems at a national level and ensure sustainable financing. The programme aimed to support countries in their efforts towards achieving universal social protection coverage.
This initiative was implemented jointly by the ILO, Unicef, and the GCSPF.

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