Virtual Side Event: On the Road to 2025: A New Social Contract with Universal Social Protection and Full Employment and Decent Work for all

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Time: 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm EST (Confirm your local time here)

Please register at: http://bit.ly/3D3Dek7

The side event will be in English. French and Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF). Co-organized by Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Gray Panthers, African Platform for Social Protection (APSP), Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Concept Note

Download pdf file.

The Virtual Side Event: On the Road to 2025: A New Social Contract with Universal Social Protection and Full Employment and Decent Work for all will take place during the 61st Session of the Commission for Social Development CSocD61.

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, and the LGBTQI community.

COVID-19 has highlighted inequalities and served as a stress test for access to social protection, basic human rights, income, health security, and such essential goods as housing and food. People living in poverty have been particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many countries have realized 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 anchored in law. The necessity for guaranteeing, financing and delivering social protection to all, including the hardest to reach may require, notably in low-income countries, the technical and financial support of a Global Fund for Social Protection.

To respond to the recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have put in place some social protection responses to support workers, children, and families1. However, these are, for the most part, ad hoc measures of short duration, and need to be transformed into sustainable social protection.

Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all is integral to an ethical and moral vision. However, the informality of work appears to be growing worldwide and becoming the new normal, with over sixty percent of the global workforce supporting themselves in this way- hoping to meet their basic daily needs without health coverage, social insurance, or access to maternity or sick leave. In Africa, this figure can be as high as eighty percent. Further, these informal workers do not have voice and representation for their interests and are often prohibited from unionizing.

While this has been the norm in emerging economies, today the trend is on the rise in more developed and globalized economies, in the form of deregulation, outsourcing, and flex and temp work. All of this erodes the dignity of the person and violates human rights and opportunities for decent work conditions. The globalized nature of finance, investment and business ventures is facilitating this erosion with exploitative practices against people and the planet itself2.

It is more important than ever to make connections between social protection and the ongoing crisis, strengthen and scale up social protection systems and for that a renewed social contract is needed to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery for all.

The Global Coalition of Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) invites you to a 105-minute side event with speakers from Governments, United Nations, and civil society.

We will tackle the diverse and interconnecting perspectives on social protection and the urgency of a “renewed” social contract anchored in human rights for a new era and consider why the Global Fund for Social Protection is necessary to deliver to all the right to social protection.

Insights and conclusions will be inputted into the ongoing work of the Commission for Social Development and the discussions about the Global Fund for Social Protection.

Read here the position paper of the GCSPF at the the 61st Session of the Commission on Social Development: ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’

Details of the virtual side event

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Time: 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm EST (Confirm your local time here)

Please register at: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqf-qtrT8iGtekNIJL1OnNxMmYOcuopcwA

The side event will be in English. French and Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Moderator: Dr. Paul Ladd, Executive Director UNRISD

Session 1: Welcome and overview of the topic

• Ms. Hanna Sarkkinen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland - The road to the Social Summit 2025, the urgency of a “renewed” social contract to ensure full implementation of the right to social protection.

• Dr. Veronika Wodsak, ILO/USP2030 - Priority Theme - decent work, SPF; evidence of SP impact

• Priscilla Gavi, Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) – Charting progress on the right of all Citizens of Africa to Social Protection.

Session 2: Action for Change: collaboration between civil society and the United Nations

• Laura Alfers, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) - Ensuring the informal sector have the right to social protection.

• Dr. Abiola Tilley-Gyado, Board Chair, Society for Family and Social Protection in Nigeria, board member of Nigeria Network of NGOs/GCAP Nigeria; Experience and call for action of those who are Left Behind

• Nicola Wiebe, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors; Financing gaps and role of the Global Fund

Conclusions and Recommendations

• Dr. Paul Ladd, Executive Director UNRISD

Notes:

2 Statement submitted by Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd to the Commission for Social Development Sixty-First Session 6-15 February 2023.

The slide presentation and the webinar's recording of the webinar the “Work Bank, IMF and Universal Social Protection following COVID-19: The Good, the Bad and the Unclear” are now available. The webinar took place on 20 October, 2022.

In the webinar World Bank, IMF and Universal Social Protection following COVID-19: The Good, the Bad and the Unclear, representatives from different CSOs, unions, and workers’ organisations have shared their perspectives on whether, and if so, how, international financial institutions (IFIs) have changed their position on social protection in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on newly published evidence, we discussed what is new regarding IFI’s engagement on social protection, what counts as progress, and what are areas where IFIs may continue to fall short on realising the right to social protection for all.

Speakers

Lena Simet, Senior Researcher on Poverty and Inequality, Human Rights Watch

Tavengwa Nhongo, Executive Director, African Platform for Social Protection

Daisy Sibun, Social Policy Officer, Development Pathways

Evelyn Astor, Economic and Social Policy Advisor, International Trade Union Confederation

Ghislaine Saizonou Broohm, Coordinator of the Department of Equality and Social, ITUC Africa

Florian Juergens-Grant, Project Manager, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing

Moderator Rachel Moussié, Director of Programmes, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing

OrganisersAction Contre La Faim, ACF (Action Against Hunger), Act Church of Sweden, The Africa Platform for Social Protection, APSP, Development PathwaysInitiative for Policy Dialogue, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, Human Rights Watch, International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC-Africa/CSI-Afrique and Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing, WIEGO.

Resources

Act Church of Sweden, Action Against Hunger France, Development Pathways, Can a leopard change its spots?

ITUC response to the World Bank’s Social Protection and Job Compass

ITUC response to the IMF’s Framework on Social Spending

Human Rights Watch: IMF/World Bank: Targeted Safety Net Programs Fall Short on Rights Protection

WIEGO and ITUC Africa: Building Forward Better: Investing in Africa's Workers (also in French and Spanish)

WIEGO: World Bank’s Push for Individual Savings Provides Little Protection for Crisis-hit Workers (also in French and Spanish)

Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), Global Social Justice (GSJ), International Confederation of Trade Unions (ITUC), Public Services International (PSI), ActionAid International, Arab Watch Coalition, Bretton Woods Project, Eurodad, Financial Transparency Coalition, Latindadd, Third World Network (TNW)

Wemos: END AUSTERITY. A Global Report on Budget Cuts and Harmful Social Reforms in 2022-25

Development Pathways and Act Church of Sweden, Social registries: a short history of abject failure

Read more here and at socialprotection.org

The HLPF virtual side event: How to achieve the SDGs despite the worsening hunger and poverty crisis? took place on Wednesday, 6 July, during the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) 2022.

The side event was focused on the discussion on “Building forward better” around four interlinked themes – vaccines, hunger, debt and social protection, and livelihood while discussing it in context of the achievement of the SDGs, especially SDG 5 using the gender lens. This event is considered as a part of the series of actions and discussions hosted by GCAP and the wider civil society coalitions in the build-up to the Global Week of Action (GWA) culminating in September 25, the day of adoption of the Agenda 2030. One flagship programme of GCAP is the People’s Assemblies – done during the Global Week of Action – at the national, regional and global levels with people from the marginalized groups coming together to discuss their issues and preparing a charter of demands for advocacy.

Gunnel Axelsson Nycander participated on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF). Download here her presentation.

More information here.

The HLPF virtual side event: How to achieve the SDGs despite the worsening hunger and poverty crisis? will take place on Wednesday, 6 July, 7:30 am NYT/11:30 am GMT. The event will have translation for English, French and Spanish.

To get the link please register here: bit.ly/GCAPatHLPF2022

The side event will focus on the discussion on “Building forward better” around four interlinked themes – vaccines, hunger, debt and social protection, and livelihood while discussing it in context of the achievement of the SDGs, especially SDG 5 using the gender lens. This event will be considered as a part of the series of actions and discussions hosted by GCAP and the wider civil society coalitions in the build-up to the Global Week of Action (GWA) culminating in September 25, the day of adoption of the Agenda 2030. One flagship programme of GCAP is the People’s Assemblies – done during the Global Week of Action - at the national, regional and global levels with people from the marginalized groups coming together to discuss their issues and preparing a charter of demands for advocacy.

Gunnel Axelsson Nycander will speak on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF).

 

The study on low-income countries’ (LICs) views of the proposed Global Fund for Social Protection (GFSP) sought to contribute to discussions on the operational dimensions of the fund, adding to existing knowledge on the available financial and administrative options. Findings from this study point us to several broad areas of interest, including the political economy, systems and structures, technical and financial capacity to implement, and accountability.

The voices of low-income countries (LICs) in the social protection discourse are not yet being listened to, and more must be done to increase their participation throughout the Global Fund for Social Protection (GFSP) programme cycle.

Conceptual clarity and policy coherence by the social protection fraternity are crucial for the sector to be strategic and to communicate a consistent message to all stakeholders.

To commit to initiatives like the Global Fund for Social Protection while avoiding further indebtedness LICs need guarantees for long-term financing of social protection.

The primary objective of the study is to give LICs more of a voice in the debate on the establishment of the GFSP, by accessing better and more recent evidence of LIC views, in light of the fact that these may differ from those of middle-income countries. Specifically, the study seeks to establish the extent to which LIC governments prioritise publicly funded SP and how this reflects the priorities of their populations; whether funding is predictable and long term; the concerns that governments have regarding autonomy; interest in technical cooperation on SP strategies; etc.

The picture that emerges from this study is one of cautious optimism for the future of SP in LICs, and specifically for the anticipated global fund. There is enthusiasm that SP, a key item on the sustainable development agenda, is not only beginning to be incorporated in the mainstream development agenda but is also in the process of finding a potential facilitator and driver with an independent and focused remit. The establishment of the fund would demonstrate recognition that the scale and complexity of poverty, risk and vulnerability cannot be left to old-style poverty eradication approaches adopted by individual countries. A challenge of such magnitude cannot be successfully addressed by single actors, as this requires a variety of tools, models, and experiences. Thus, the representation and participation of LICs in moving forward with this agenda is extremely crucial.

Labour and Social Justice. A GLOBAL FUND FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION
Views from Selected Low-income Countries.
By Charles Lwanga-Ntale. April 2022

Download pdf version

Beyond the health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected economies and people’s livelihoods around the world. Experts forecast an additional 250 million people in extreme poverty by 20301, while the consequences of the pandemic are resulting in a 10th of the global population suffering from hunger, amounting to 720 to 811 million people worldwide.2

As clearly put by a 67-year-old man, estate agent, living with his children in an urban area in Pakistan, the pandemic has had a devastating effect on people’s livelihood: “There’s no business. My source of income has been affected. I’m feeling stressed and irritated by the uncertain situation”, while a 68-year-old woman, retired farmer from Rwanda, living with her children in a rural area testifies: “The fall in the economy has made the people who were helping us lose their jobs.”3

What is social protection?

Social protection is a human right, defined as a set of policies and programs (contributory and non-contributory) aimed at reducing and preventing poverty throughout the life course. While social protection includes regular cash benefits for basic income security, it also encompasses the right to affordable and appropriate health and essential services including the right to water. Social protection also covers social insurance, i.e. contributions to enable the provision of a service by the State, and labour regulations.

Facing these observations, many political leaders and decision makers realized that well-designed social protection systems have a transformative effect on people living in poverty. While these systems do not tackle the root causes of poverty, for which systemic changes in people’s income level are needed, they nonetheless are a key tool to building transformatively forward. Indeed, the importance of regular income support and essential services to uphold basic human rights, especially healthcare, was made obvious for all to see. Indeed, 93% of countries took social protection measures to respond to the crisis. 75% of them were non-contributory measures and 52% were new measures4. It is also estimated that almost 17% of the world’s population has been covered with at least one Covid-related cash transfer payment between 2020 and 2021; and the average scale up rate between pre and post-Covid coverage, for cash transfers alone, is 249%.5 Yet, the crisis also demonstrated the uneven capacity of governments to enact and finance emergency measures to deliver income and health support to their population. Indeed, even if global spending on social protection increased, it only represents about 3% of global GDP in 2021.6 Additionally, the measures taken were uneven, often insufficient in value and coverage and merely temporary.7 For instance, only 4.5% of the population in low-income countries benefited from cash transfers; increasing to 19.3% for middle-income and 26.7% for high-income countries, which were able to build on already existing schemes.8

While the proposal for a Global Fund for Social Protection has existed for nearly a decade9, the disparities laid bare by Covid have renewed international interest in a global financing mechanism to complement and support at least temporarily domestic efforts. Indeed, following the 2020 G20 summit, high-level international discussions were held on the topic.10 In June 2021, the International Labour Conference’s (ILC) committee on social security called on the ILO to “engage in discussions on a new international financing mechanism, such as a Global Social Protection Fund”11, to which several governments and organizations, including the United-States and the European Union, expressed their support.12 In parallel, in June 2021, the United Nations’ (UN) Special rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council on the value, options for governance and potential funding modalities of such a Fund.13 Finally, in September 2021, the UN Secretary General mentioned in his report the Global Fund for Social Protection as a potential means to support countries in increasing levels of funding devoted to social protection.14

However, even if a Global Fund for Social Protection were to be an agreed policy measure, which would therefore be a positive step towards the effective realization of the human right of all to social protection, structural changes will be needed. Indeed, lack of fiscal space, lack of political will to make policy that is compliant with human rights and a deeply unfair macro-economic system will still be obstacles to overcome.

The lack of fiscal space for social protection: a lack of political will

While putting in place and financing social protection is the obligation of governments through domestic resource mobilization, and will be established according to different national capacities and contexts, development partners, and more specifically international finance institutions and G20 States, play an influential role for its development in low and middle-income countries.

Instead, for the past decade macro-economic policies have been pushing for a decrease in governments’ spending - often referred to as “fiscal consolidation” or “austerity cuts” – as a means to reduce budget deficit and reach fiscal stability. Simultaneously, development partners have been promoting the participation of the private sector in development projects in order to leverage the money needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; and bridge the funding gap governments are unable or unwilling to fill.

The narratives around these practices often argue that governments have no other choice but to reduce public spending, and need to call on the private sector for investment. Yet there are various means of increasing fiscal space for public expenditure, which have been named and referenced by civil society15 and international organizations,16 to bridge the funding gap for social protection. These include progressive and higher rates of taxation, public expenditure reprioritization, restructuring and in extreme cases cancellation of sovereign debt, tolerating moderate rates of inflation instead of seeking to eliminate them through fiscal austerity, and additional foreign aid or new allocations of Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund.

Additionally, as research shows17, social protection can trigger a virtuous economic cycle that increases employment, productivity, tax revenue and overall economic growth, especially in low and middle-income countries. That is, cash transfer policies, particularly, generate an increase in income and consumption that, in turn, have positive effects on the macro-economy and governments’ fiscal space.

Moreover, the establishment of social protection policies can lead to increased tax payments. By benefiting from social protection policies, people’s trust in governments increases, hence reinforcing the social contract and fostering the willingness and ability of people to pay taxes.18

It appears then that the gap in coverage by social protection around the globe is not due to a lack of available resources but to a lack of political will and financial policies to ensure redistribution.

A Global Fund for Social Protection to support policies and fiscal space for universal social protection

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has estimated that, in 2020, the annual resources needed to close the financing gap to reach a universal coverage of a basic set of cash benefits19 for low-income countries20 was 7.4% of their GDP, with an additional 8.5% for universal access to healthcare. In other words, based on pre-COVID-19 estimates, the fiscal revenue needed to fill the social protection floors financing gap (excluding health care) represented 13.5% of total tax revenue at national level for low and middle-income countries, but as much as 45% for low-income countries. That is more than the latter countries can be expected to mobilize through reprioritization of expenditures or additional taxation measures in the short to medium term.

What are social protection floors?

Social protection floors are a set of universal non-contributory guarantees including access to essential health care and basic income security for children (providing access to nutrition, education, care and any other necessary goods and services), persons in active age (in particular in cases of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability) and older persons.

Social protection floors, as defined by the ILO, are universal by nature, as they provide protection based on contingencies. Indeed, universality refers to social protection’s coverage, ensuring that each person, in one of the aforementioned categories is protected regardless of his or her socioeconomic situation, ethnicity, origin or legal status.

Many countries do have the potential to fill their social protection gaps from domestic resources mobilization and that should be a policy priority, social protection being first and foremost a government’s responsibility. However, as the ILO states, “the challenge is much greater for low-income countries, (…) in terms of the relative cost and their relative fiscal, administrative and institutional capacity. That distinction must be considered as a critical factor in the formulation of a specific development assistance policy. Massive financial assistance for starting up and temporarily financing benefits could be a feasible option for addressing the social protection financing gap in low-income countries.”21 And while it is obvious that a Global Fund for Social Protection would not and should not have the same lending capacity as the international finance institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, it will nonetheless provide to low-income countries the desperately needed push to make a significant step forward towards the realization of the right to social protection for all.

As clearly put by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights : “The proposal for a global fund for social protection is not that taxpayers from rich countries pay for social protection in poor countries. It is, rather, to kick-start a virtuous cycle in which international support matches domestic efforts and contributes to capacity-building in low-income countries.”22

The global financing gap in social protection, including health care, in low-income countries is estimated at US$77.9 billion per year. Though it may seem as a sizeable amount, when considered as a percentage of the GNI of rich countries, the amount becomes negligible. It is clear that donors are not investing as they could in promoting social protection in developing countries, despite its obvious benefits; ODA for social protection represented 0.0047% of the GNI of the DAC countries in 2017, and in 2019 1.17% of total ODA23.

What should the Global Fund for Social Protection look like?

The design and guiding principles of the Global Fund for Social Protection should be that of support for work towards the development of universal social protection, starting with the development of social protection floor guarantees for all.

The Global Fund for Social Protection should be developed within the principles of democratic country ownership, representation and inclusivity, and accountability and transparency. Its governing body should bring together representatives from governments, relevant UN organisations, employers, workers and civil society organizations, including women's rights organizations.

The Global Fund for Social Protection will promote a global vision of solidarity, between Global North and Global South, but also through South-South solidarity by exchanging practices and providing technical support as well as offering financing. The proposal for a Global Fund for Social Protection aims to initiate a virtuous cycle in which international support complements domestic efforts and contributes to capacity-building in developing countries.

International discussions on creating a Global Fund for Social Protection should be guided by the principles of the ILO. The ILO encourages countries to adopt rights-based systems of social protection, implemented in accordance with ILO Recommendation 202 on social protection floors24, and 204 on transition from the informal to the formal economy25, as well as Convention 102 on social security26. The ILO is the leader in establishing internationally agreed principles and is a leading agency in giving practical support to social protection development in countries. The organization works on a tri-partite basis, that of governments, workers and employers, and, as such encourages that social dialogue will be at the heart of the Global Fund for Social Protection’s program of financial and technical support.

The Global Fund for Social Protection will support a coherent approach to social protection from the various international development actors. As well as being extremely low in amount, international ODA for social protection is highly fragmented in terms of financing and approaches. It is argued that, amongst those funding social protection development projects in low-income countries, the World Bank has been implementing a limited, targeted approach to social protection27; which is incompatible with the universal right to social protection specified by international agreements.28 Additionally, such coordination would allow governments a more harmonized dialogue with development actors. The Global Fund for Social Protection can therefore be a space not only for financing, but as one of technical support, system building and coordination over time to deliver universal social protection in line with the ILO standards and their guiding principles.

Functions of the Global Fund

The Global Fund for Social Protection can coordinate and finance technical assistance to countries, especially to support the capacities of local administrations, in particular with labour inspectorates, ministries for social affairs and social protection, and solidarity based financing mechanisms for social insurance, in order to put in place accountable, transparent and participative public finance management modalities, which are a key to a sustainably financed social protection policies.

The Global Fund for Social Protection can promote domestic resource mobilization for social protection, through co-financing of social protection systems, i.e. a joint financial contribution of governments and the Global Fund for Social Protection, and a commitment from governments to increase their investments in social protection. The Global Fund for Social Protection would therefore complement and support domestic efforts to mobilize resources, which would rise gradually. The Global Fund for Social Protection could provide a powerful incentive for governments to invest more in universal social protection; giving a premium to countries placing the establishment of social protection floors at the top of their political priorities.

The Global Fund for Social Protection can provide technical and financial resources to unions and civil society organizations to foster their participation in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the establishment of universal social protection floors in their country29.

The Global Fund for Social Protection can promote a horizontal approach to the design and setting up of social protection policies that are deeply rooted in the local policy process. Other global funds have been criticized for having a “vertical” focus of intervention, operating in silos focused on their particular mandate rather than the major needs of the countries being assisted, as identified in national systems. In the case of the Global Fund for Social Protection, this risk can be tackled by ensuring it covers the horizontal set of policies necessary to end poverty through making a reality of the commitment to the agreed set of human rights necessary for this. Implementation of social protection floors according to the ILO 202 Recommendation will be horizontal as floors encompass basic income security for all people in childhood, parenthood, times of unemployment, when disabled and in old age, as well as access to essential health care. Additionally, the Global Fund for Social Protection will promote coherence across the various national institutions in charge of, or linked to, social protection as well as coherence between social protection and other national policies (employment, skills, etc.).

The Global Fund for Social Protection will actively promote and illustrate impacts of social protection measures that have a transformative approach to gender inequalities, in line with recommendations of women’s grassroot organizations and local feminist activists.

The Global Fund for Social Protection will help countries respond to shocks, by increasing its support to countries affected by severe shocks, to which the national social protection system would be unable to adequately respond.

To conclude, while the financing gap for social protection will not be immediately filled — building social protection floors takes time, and coverage of all left behind populations can only be achieved gradually — the combination of political will, international solidarity, capacity-building and domestic resources mobilization will ensure that it does over time. Establishing a Global Fund for Social Protection is an important step in the right direction to ensure coherence and coordination so that social protection becomes a top political priority in the context of fulfillment of human rights and the current global health and socio-economic crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is why, as countries are implementing recovery plans, and vaccination campaigns are being rolled out, the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors:

Prepared by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors’ working group on a global financing mechanism for social protection, whose members represent Act Church of Sweden; Action Against Hunger – France; the Africa Platform for Social Protection; Bread for the World – Germany; Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Geneva Office; HelpAge International; the International Trade Union Confederation; Oxfam International; Save the Children; Social Justice in Global Development; We Social Movements; Markus Kaltenborn, Professor of Public Law and director of the Institute of Development Research and Development Politics at Ruhr University Bochum and Michael Cichon, former director of the ILO’s Social Security Department and honorary professor of social protection at the Graduate School of Governance of Maastricht University/United Nations University in the Netherlands, September 2021.

Notes:

1 Overseas Development Institute, M. Manuel, L. Carson, E. Samman and M. Evans, (2020). Financing the reduction of extreme poverty post-Covid-19.

2 FAO, (2021). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021. Transforming Food Systems For Food Security, Improved Nutrition And Affordable Healthy Diets For All. Rome.

3 Interviewed by HelpAge International in the framework of the report Unequal treatment - What older people say about their rights during the COVID-19 pandemic (2021). London.

4 International Labour Organization, Social Protection Dashboard. Social protection responses to COVID19 crisis around the world. Last update: 10/05/2021. https://www.social-protection.org/gimi/ShowWiki.action?id=3417

5 World Bank (2021). Social Protection and Jobs Responses to COVID-19: A Real-Time Review of Country Measures - “Living paper” version 15 (May 14, 2021). Washington. p. 4, 12.

6 World Bank (2021). Social Protection and Jobs Responses to COVID-19: A Real-Time Review of Country Measures - “Living paper” version 15 (May 14, 2021). Washington. p. 14

7 Oxfam (2020). Shelter from the storm - The global need for universal social protection in times of COVID-19. Oxford. p. 11-17.
US$10.6 trillion were mobilized globally in social protection measures to respond to the COVID19 crisis, however, only .06 per cent of that amount was mobilized in low-income countries. F.Durán Valverde et al., International Labour Organization (2020). Financing Gaps in Social Protection: Global Estimates and Strategies for Developing Countries in Light of COVID-19 and Beyond. Geneva

8 World Bank (2021). Social Protection and Jobs Responses to COVID-19: A Real-Time Review of Country Measures - “Living paper” version 15 (May 14, 2021). Washington. p. 13

9 The idea of a Global Fund for Social Protection was initially put forward in 2012- 2015, in preparation for the SDGs and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development of 2015. The then Special Rapporteurs on the right to food and on extreme poverty and human rights published a briefing entitled Briefing Note No.7, Underwriting the Poor. A Global Fund for Social Protection (Oct.2012).

10 In September 2020 the French Government organized a meeting to discuss the initiative of the Global Fund for Social Protection. The meeting was held in presence of high-level representatives from 13 governments, 15 international agencies as well as international social partners, international non-governmental organizations, and independent experts.

11 International Labour Conference (2021). Reports of the Recurrent Discussion Committee: Social protection (social security): Proposed resolution and conclusions submitted to the Conference for adoption. Geneva

12 During the 2021 International Labour Conference.

13 Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (2021). The Global Fund for Social Protection: International Solidarity in the Service of Poverty Eradication. Geneva

14 Report of the Secretary-General (2021). Our Common Agenda. New-York. p. 28

15 Civil-20 Finance Working Group’s Communiqué on the Second G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. 27th April 2021.

16 ILO (2019). Fiscal space for social protection – A handbook for assessing financing options, Geneva.

17 International Trade Union Confederation (2021). Investments in social protection and their impacts on economic growth. Brussels.

18 S. Kidd, G. Axelsson Nycander, A. Tran and M. Cretney, Development Pathways (2020). The social contract and the role of universal social security in building trust in government.

19 Covering children between 0 and 5 years-old, women with newborn children, persons with severe disabilities and older persons

20 According to the country-income classification of the World Bank, low-income countries are defined as having a GNI per capita of US$1,025 or less.

21 F.Durán Valverde et al., International Labour Organization (2020). Financing Gaps in Social Protection: Global Estimates and Strategies for Developing Countries in Light of COVID-19 and Beyond. Geneva. p. 7, 31, 48-49

22 Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (2021). The Global Fund for Social Protection: International Solidarity in the Service of Poverty Eradication. Geneva

23 OECD, CRS code 16010.

26 https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/fr/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::p12100_instrument_id:312247

27 Many publications expose how targeted social protection schemes undermine societies’ social contract and fabric, as well as push towards a restricted vision of social protection, granted punctually, incompatible with rights-based social protection floors. Read Caroline Broudic, revue Humanitaire n°39 (2014). Les ONG, cheval de Troie du néolibéralisme ?, and S. Kidd, G. Axelsson Nycander, A. Tran, M. Cretney, Development Pathways (2020). The social contract and the role of universal social security in building trust in government, Nairobi.

28 Social protection is enshrined in several binding international human rights instruments. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) and the International Convention on the Rights of Children (1989) explicitly proclaim the right to social security, as well as a series of other rights protected by social protection mechanisms.

29 Such participation has, for instance, already been fostered through the €22.9 million EU funded flagship program “Synergies in Social Protection and Public Finance Management”, launched in 2020 in partnership with the ILO, UNICEF and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. The program forsees the strengthening of national civil society organizations in eight countries (Angola, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Senegal, Nepal, Cambodia, and Paraguay), to enable civil society actors to meaningfully participate in national social protection dialogues, amplify the voices and concerns of communities and beneficiaries, and develop capacities to engage in discussions with governments on social protection design and financing as well as on monitoring and social accountability.

e-GCSPF # 60 - October 2021
   
   
 

Video: Virtual Side Event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030”

   
 

The video of the virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” is now online. The side event on the Theme Austerity & Social Protection was co-hosted by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) and it was held during the Global People's Assembly on 22 September, 2021. Read more

   
   
 

Invitation to join the ad hoc working group on IDA20 of the GCSPF

   
 

Members of the Global Coalition have created an ad hoc working group to work on two processes of the World Bank (the IDA20 Replenishment and the Social Protection and Jobs Compass) and they would more than welcome more people and organisations in this effort.
The International Development Association (IDA), which is the “soft window” of the World Bank is normally replenished every three years, but this process is now taking place one year earlier than planned, because of the Covid crisis. The so called Social Protection and Jobs Compass is a policy document which will replace the Social Protection and Labour Strategy 2012-2021.
The working group aims to influence the wording of these process to push forward universality of social protection and the gender transformative role of social protection. Members of the coalition are currently participating in consultation and lobby processes.
Members of the Global Coalition are invited to join the ad hoc working group on IDA20 of the GCSPF. If you want to know more or join the WG please contact Gunnel Axelsson Nycander (Act Church of Sweden) and/or Johanna Wagman (Action Contre La Faim France | ACF-France). Read more

   
   
 

IDA20 and social protection: Comments on proposed policy commitments

   
 

The ad hoc group on IDA20 of the GCSPF has prepared a position paper on the draft policy commitments in the IDA20 replenishment document. The document is available here (pdf format) and here (word format).
The World Bank launched an early twentieth replenishment process of the International Development Association (IDA), its fund for the world’s poorest countries, aiming to support countries in their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and transition to green, resilient, and inclusive development. The IDA20 replenishment will conclude in December 2021 with a policy and financial package to support 74 countries between July 2022 and June 2025. Read more

   
   
 

Invitation for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2021

   
 

This year, the theme of IDEP is “Building Forward Together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet”. The Day will offer an opportunity to hear from those who are at the forefront of fighting poverty while also facing the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change.
The virtual session co-organized by of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, UNDP, UN DESA, the Permanent Missions of France and Burkina Faso to the United Nations, the International Committee for Oct17 and the NGO Committee for Social Development will take place on Zoom, on Friday October 15th, 2021 from 10am to 11:30am EST.
Please register here and join us for a time of togetherness and dialogue bringing the expertise and experience of people living in persistent poverty, civil society organizations, UN agencies and government representatives - for the design and implementation of solutions require the mobilization of all sectors of society. Register here

   
   
 

UN Secretary-General's Report “Our Common Agenda”

   
 

The UN Secretary-General released his report “Our Common Agenda” that builds on 12 commitment areas identified by Member States in the UN75 Declaration in 2020. Four tracks fed into Our Common Agenda: the Next Generation Fellows youth track, thought leaders, UN Member States, and civil society.
Paragraph 28 of the Report refers to social protection and the establishment of a Global Fund for Social Protection. Read more

   
   
 

UNGA76: ITUC supports the Secretary-General's “Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection”

   
   
 

The ITUC has welcomed the Global Accelerator announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and its target for jobs and social protection.
The policy brief sets out a target to create at least 400 million jobs by 2030, primarily in the green and care economies, and extend social protection floors by 2025 to about four billion people currently not covered by any measures.
The Accelerator was presented during the UN's 76th General Assembly as part of the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative (FfDI), a process in which the ITUC has been involved presenting recommendations on Financing Recovery and Building the Economy of the Future.
“Our demands have been heard,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow, who participated in the launch event. “The targets of the Accelerator will help to rebuild trust and hope with working people, as it can provide concrete answers to the shocks we face today and will face in the future.” Read more

   
   
 

Invitation Virtual Event: "Between Hunger and the Virus" on the need to strengthen Africa’s social safety net

   
 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is pleased to invite you to a High-Level Panel Between Hunger and the Virus: Why the Covid-19 Pandemic Shows the Need to Fix Africa’s Social Safety Net.
HRW and its partner organizations have reported on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on access to food and livelihoods in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our research has shown that while African governments have tried to fill gaps in social protection during the pandemic, the vast majority of households have not received any government support. Meanwhile, governments in higher income countries have spent trillions of dollars on financial and in-kind assistance for their populations during the Covid-19 crisis, widening global inequality.
This high-level panel, held in advance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, brings together Human Rights Watch researchers, representatives of impacted communities, and government officials with African and international experts to discuss how to build stronger social protection systems in the wake of the pandemic.
When: Thursday, October 14, 2021, at: 9-10.30 am US EDT/1-2.30pm GMT/2-3.30pm WAT/4-5.30pm EAT.
Register online via Zoom here: https://hrworg.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__xJiU5-bRSOLnu1BsPZ9vQ

   
   
 

Invitation: ILO Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All - Development partners meeting

   
 

The ILO will launch the second phase of the SPF Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All at the Development Partners Meeting on 7 October 13h – 16h (CEST).
The Partners meeting is the opportunity to enhance its partnerships to respond to the needs of constituents, to implement the mandate given by the International Labour Conference to promote universal social protection at country level and globally, and to contribute to the realisation of the SDGs on social protection. Read more.

   
   
 

Welcome to new member: Human Rights Watch

   
 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world. We are roughly 450 people of 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need. We direct our advocacy towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies and practices. To ensure our independence, we refuse government funding and carefully review all donations to ensure that they are consistent with our policies, mission, and values. We partner with organizations large and small across the globe to protect embattled activists and to help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims.

Respect for human rights is closely intertwined with addressing poverty and extreme inequality. HRW research exposes how people experiencing poverty are often more vulnerable to having their rights violated and abuses can further entrench barriers to people meeting their basic needs. We also document how extreme economic inequality contributes to corruption and mismanagement of public resources. We push governments to end abusive policies that contribute to poverty, and advocate respect for human rights that can help achieve the building blocks for a dignified life – such as affordable healthcare, quality education, adequate housing, a living wage, social protection and safe drinking water, as well as the rights to unionize, protest, and participate in political decision-making.
Further information can be found here and here.
Contact information: Lena Simet, Senior Researcher on Poverty and Inequality

   
   

JOIN US TO ACHIEVE SOCIAL PROTECTION FOR ALL

GLOBAL COALITION FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION FLOORS - GCSPF

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The video of the virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” is now online. The side event on the Theme Austerity & Social Protection was co-hosted by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) and it was held during the Global People's Assembly on 22 September, 2021.

Panel participants

Read more: the concept note, the speakers bios, the invitation, Global People's Assembly.

Declaration

The Declaration of the Global People's Assembly 2021 “The COVID-19 Wake Up Call: We The People Resist Being Left Behind” is available here.

The chapter on Social Protection is below.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the decrepit state of existing social protection systems. Decades of broken promises, policies that prioritise profits over people and planet, and austerity programmes have gutted social protection, emergency safety nets and essential public services.

While emergency programmes provide relief in times of crisis, they are stopgap measures. The international community and national governments must create a comprehensive, social protection system if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved and bring the ideas of “Leave No One Behind” and “A Life of Dignity for All” to life.

Social protection systems are a proven, direct and fast-acting mechanism to end poverty and reduce inequalities. They unleash individual creativity and capacities, provide resilience in the face of ‘natural’ calamities, pandemics and economic crises, and are an investment in the long-term economic and social growth of countries and communities. Social protection is a universal public good and a human right!

Our Demands

Create and ensure a Universal Social Protection Floor for all, which ensures:

To realise a Universal Social Protection Floor, the international community must:

While international funding and technical support is important, it does not replace the responsibility of national and local governments to establish and finance rights-based, national social protection floors.

Governments must:

The Gender Dimension: The pandemic has made it clearer than ever that developing and resourcing gender-responsive social protection systems is central to combating poverty among women and girls. Social protection systems must cover informal sector workers, including those in unpaid care work. Social protection health schemes must include and cover services specific to the needs of women and girls, in all their diversity, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH), maternal and infant health services, sexual and gender- based violence services and safe abortion care.

Age: Social protection is essential to reduce vulnerabilities in old age. In many countries, older women are more likely to be impoverished than men, a result of lower wages, unpaid care work and longer life expectancy . . . Youth must be provided opportunities to be partners, as well as beneficiaries, in the development of policies and processes that affect their lives.

Marginalisation: Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent face intergenerational discrimination, exclusion from public resources and entitlements, and are routinely segregated despite constitutional and legal protective measures. Individuals from these communities are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty. Cultural practices, child slavery and trafficking deny millions their right to quality education. Marginalised communities, including persons with disabilities, must be represented in local governments to ensure that their voices are heard and right to social protection realised.

Global People's Assembly, 21 - 23 September 2021
Co-hosted by the following partners:
Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD), Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSD), Asia Civil Society Partnership on Sustainable Development (APSD), Asia Dalits Rights Forum, Asia Development Alliance (ADA), Bread for the World, Germany, Bridging Ventures, CBM, CIVICUS, Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UNWN), CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), Democracy Without Borders, EURODAD, No Profit on Pandemic, FORUS, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), GESTOS, Global Forum of Communities of DWD (GFoD), Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Global Policy Forum, Gray Panthers, Latindadd, My World Mexico, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), SDG Watch Europe, Women Engaged for a Common Future (WECF), Women’s Major Group , TAP Network, Trust Africa.

The virtual side event “Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030” (Theme: Austerity & Social Protection) co-hosted by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) will be held during the Global People's Assembly.

The virtual Global People's Assembly is part of the Global Week of Action for the SDGs and is organised in parallel to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Decade of Action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030

Cohosted by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP)

Theme: Austerity & Social Protection

Date and time: Wednesday 22nd September 12- 13.15 GMT / Virtual event

Link to Register: Registration for Global People's Assembly https://forms.gle/FS8SgXoJCmq2QY8w9

The virtual side event will be at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81154826226

French and Spanish translation will be offered.

Panel format

The event will take the form of a moderated dialogue between experts and activists, with conclusions and recommendations feeding into the GCAPs Peoples Assembly Declaration and to be used to support social protection advocacy with governments and civil society.

Moderation: Gabriel Fernandez: Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP)

Panel participants

Read more: the concept note, the speakers bios, Global People's Assembly.

Background context

Social protection is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Social protection is not only a universal human right, investing in social protection also brings high social and economic returns.

There is global commitment to SDG 1 target 1.3 ‘To implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable’. But half the world’s population currently does not have access to any social protection, with coverage remaining particularly limited in most low-income countries. Those who lack access to social protection guarantees - which include essential services and basic income across the life course - include workers in the informal economy, marginalized children, people with disabilities, older women and men, refugees and migrants, and homeless persons.

We are entering the decade of action to achieve Agenda 2030 under extremely difficult circumstances. The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the depth and breadth of social and economic inequalities and is set to push up to 150 million people into extreme poverty , and 150 million children into multidimensional poverty . Governments have responded to Covid-19 by introducing or scaling up social protection measures to ameliorate the impact of job losses, impoverishment and the increase of inequalities in their countries.

Countries with established social protection systems have shown themselves to be in a much better position to cope with the social and economic fallout of Covid-19, to respond faster, more effectively and more efficiently than countries who have had to introduce new schemes on an ad hoc emergency basis. Covid-19 has focussed minds on the importance of social protection guarantees to health and income, enabling access to education, food and housing. The positive impact of social protection on long-term poverty and inequality has been demonstrated. Many countries are realizing the need for and the long-term benefits of universal, comprehensive and adequate social protection, based on sustainable and equitable financing, tripartite administration and anchored in law.

The Ministerial Declaration of the High Level Political Forum singles out social protection as a core policy to respond to Covid and to achieve Goal 1. The ILO has been tasked to recommend an action plan to achieve this for presentation to the International Labour Conference of November 2021.

However there is evidence that austerity plans are coming back into focus even though it is clear that their impact is heaviest on the poorest and their benefits are mainly for the already affluent, increasing already unacceptable levels of inequality.

Objectives of the panel

This panel will promote action on social protection guarantees by presenting evidence from experts and grassroots activists on why universal social protection is critical to the success of the 2030 Agenda, how social protection can prevent long-term poverty traps as a result of the ongoing crisis, how it will underpin resilient recovery and contribute to future crisis preparedness, how it will reduce inequalities and why efforts to introduce austerity programmes must be resisted.

The event will explore the role of national social dialogue and the global partnership for universal social protection. It will present the case for a global mechanism to support countries to create comprehensive systems, to collect necessary data and to mobilize finance to ensure universal coverage of social protection which is properly integrated into national development agendas, with funds used to transition social protection financing from being donor dependent to that of sustainable budgets within national budgets.

In the words of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights: ‘The proposal for a global fund for social protection is not that taxpayers from rich countries pay for social protection in poor countries. It is, rather, to kick-start a virtuous cycle in which international support matches domestic efforts and contributes to capacity-building in low-income countries.’

The virtual Global People's Assembly is part of the Global Week of Action for the SDGs and is organised in parallel to the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

We are in the middle of a global inequality crisis. COVID-19 has made this worse - the vaccine inequality divides even more. We need a strong people's voice for global justice. Civl society including representatives from organisations of women, youth, older persons and marginalised people from all over the world will come together in the Global People's Assembly. They bring the perspectives from communities - including from People's Assemblies organised in 30 countries. The participants will prepare a declaration, which will be presented to the governments at the UNGA and the UN leadership.

Global People's Assembly, 21 - 23 September 2021
Co-hosted by the following partners:
Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD), Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSD), Asia Civil Society Partnership on Sustainable Development (APSD), Asia Dalits Rights Forum, Asia Development Alliance (ADA), Bread for the World, Germany, Bridging Ventures, CBM, CIVICUS, Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UNWN), CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), Democracy Without Borders, EURODAD, No Profit on Pandemic, FORUS, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), GESTOS, Global Forum of Communities of DWD (GFoD), Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Global Policy Forum, Gray Panthers, Latindadd, My World Mexico, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), SDG Watch Europe, Women Engaged for a Common Future (WECF), Women’s Major Group , TAP Network, Trust Africa.

The ad hoc group on IDA20 of the GCSPF has prepared a position paper on the draft policy commitments in the IDA20 replenishment document. The document is available here (pdf format) and here (word format).

The World Bank launched an early twentieth replenishment process of the International Development Association (IDA), its fund for the world’s poorest countries, aiming to support countries in their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and transition to green, resilient, and inclusive development. The IDA20 replenishment will conclude in December 2021 with a policy and financial package to support 74 countries between July 2022 and June 2025.

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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