The GCSPF inputs to the Summit of the Future

In December 2023 the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) submitted its inputs for the preparation of the Zero Draft of the Pact for the Future.

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Chapeau

The right to Social Protection for all underpins the vision of the 2030 Agenda, the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the ambition of the Summit of the Future. This right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in several international human rights conventions.[1] However, four billion people worldwide, over half the global population, still live without adequate social protection.[2] Those denied social protection lack important means of escaping extreme poverty, ensuring sufficient food security for themselves and their families and accessing essential health and other services. Without effective social protection, inequalities within societies and between countries are increased – in particular, women and girls, people with disabilities and older persons are severely disadvantaged.

Therefore, it is right that target 3 of SDG 1 calls for social protection and social protection floors and that they are recognized as essential for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – above all for the "leave no one behind" principle on which the entire Agenda is based.

Social protection floors, which should guarantee basic income and health protection over the life course[3], must be designed for the long term, as they must cover childhood and youth, working life and old age. Social protection must also be in place for future generations as those born today will not be able to lead a dignified life without it. All of this requires a solid financial basis underpinned by political will and inclusive and fairly designed governance structures – not only in the countries themselves, but also at the global level. Thus, social protection is a topic that relates to several chapters of the Pact for the Future, mainly chapters I, IV and V.

We therefore urge, that the Pact for the Future will include a specific commitment in its chapeau to universal social protection and to demonstrable tangible progress on social protection floors by 2030.

Chapter I. Sustainable development and financing for development

Without adequate social protection, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, the fight against poverty, the reduction of inequalities within and between societies, adequate food supply and health care, regular school attendance for children and the elimination of gender discrimination are goals that are inextricably linked to target 1.3 of the 2030 Agenda. Human rights for all are the foundation of the 2030 Agenda and yet the right to social protection is being denied to over half the global population. Some countries have succeeded in generating adequate domestic resources to ensure rights-based and sustainably financed social protection systems for the entire population. Other countries, however, do not yet have sufficient financial resources nor the political will to fully guarantee their population this protection. It is therefore essential and urgent that the international community both calls for universal social protection in all countries and supports the system building, rollout and the financing of social protection floors worldwide. With the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection proposed by the UN Secretary-General[4], global solutions to these problems are currently being sought. But financial and technical support can, and must be, significantly expanded[5], otherwise it will not be possible in many parts of the world to successfully implement social protection floors – the basis for achieving some of the key objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

Chapter II. International peace and security

Social protection plays a fundamental role in the prevention of conflicts when and where poverty and inequality are associated with other root causes of conflict. As countries reconstruct and communities regroup after conflict and disruption social protection is essential to support access to health and education, work and small scale investment. The potential benefit of ensuring the right to social protection for all to reduce and counter marginalization, radicalization, and extremism that fuel conflict should be acknowledged in the Summit conclusions and the language of the Pact.

Chapter III. Science, technology and innovation and digital cooperation

System building to deliver social protection requires up-to-date technology and data accuracy. Advances in this field significantly enhance governmental accountability and can support citizen inclusion in development. They are an important contribution to ensuring that social protection measures can also be expanded to the most vulnerable groups of society. Cooperation between countries and UN agencies on digital innovation for social protection is an exciting development which is supporting the building of robust governmental institutions, essential for SDG achievement.

Chapter IV. Youth and future generations

All countries are ageing, with life expectancy on the rise in the over 70’s age group, especially in the countries of the global south. Social protection protects all people from the cradle to the grave and ensures that older people can support their dependent family members and that young people can develop their future prospects in a safe social and economically stable environment, essential to counter the noxious effects of poverty on child development. This is why target 1.3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (“Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable”) must be achieved. This applies a fortiori to future generations. Sustainable social protection will enable improved life conditions and create pathways to equitable life chances; future generations will not be able to enjoy decent lives unless adequate social protection is sustainably guaranteed for them. It is also important that the educational and employment rights of the youth related to social protection are guaranteed.

Chapter V. Transforming global governance

Global governance structures must be designed in such a way that all states – regardless of their economic and financial strength – can influence multilateral decisions on an equal basis. If international funds are set up to deal with global problems (e.g., in the areas of climate protection, health and food security or social protection), contributors and recipients must have equal rights in the decision-making process.[6] It is also important that the affected civilian population is adequately represented in these processes.

Building age and gender inclusive social protection systems should engage national populations and be a participatory process, which demonstrates good governance and robust national institutions. Putting in place financial and technical cooperation for universal social protection will demonstrate global commitment to inclusive, participatory and knowledge sharing processes from the local level to those at national, regional, and global levels.

International tax reform is needed globally to address lost revenues that must be recaptured for domestic government expenditure and international funds. We urge member countries to advance towards a UN Convention on Taxes that allows to fight tax evasion and illicit financial flows and thus generate the domestic resources indispensable for social protection.

Notes:

[1] Article 9 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Art. 5e iv International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Art. 11, para 1e Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Art. 26 Convention on the Rights of the Child; Art. 27 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; Art. 28 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

[2] ILO (2021), World Social Protection Report 2020–22: Social protection at the crossroads – in pursuit of a better future, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_protect/@soc_sec/documents/publication/wcms_817572.pdf.

[3] Social Protection Floors Recommendation (ILO R 202, 2012).

[4] https://unglobalaccelerator.org/.

[5] In June 2021, the International Labour Conference (ILC) called on the International Labour Organization (ILO) to “initiate and engage in discussions on concrete proposals for a new international financing mechanism, such as a Global Social Protection Fund, which could complement and support domestic resource mobilization efforts in order to achieve universal social protection“, ILC.109/Resolution III. See in this context also UN Human Rights Council (2021), Global fund for social protection: international solidarity in the service of poverty eradication, Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, A/HRC/47/36, 22.4.2021, https://www.ohchr.org/en/documents/thematic-reports/ahrc4736-global-fund-social-protection-international-solidarity-service; and Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (2022), Civil Society Call for a Global Fund for Social Protection to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and to build a better future, https://www.socialprotectionfloorscoalition.org/civil-society-call/.

[6] If the Global Public Investment (GPI) approach is used, according to which all states involved in a financing mechanism pay contributions into the fund based on a fair share calculation (https://globalpublicinvestment.org/), an equal distribution between the groups of net contributors and net recipients must be ensured during voting.

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

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