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.

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) demands the use of climate funding to invest into social protection system building, as this will facilitate more sustainable and transformative support than humanitarian aid and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure alone.

The annual climate talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - UNFCCC (COP28), the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the Paris Agreement (PA) are taking place from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. During the opening plenary the long expected Loss and Damage Fund was adopted with new pledges by the UAE, Germany, UK, Japan and the USA.

Member organizations of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors collectively advocate for strategic utilization of financial resources from this Fund. A central concern is to specifically allocate fund resources for the establishment and fortification of right-based Social Protection Systems. These systems play a pivotal role in mitigating the catastrophic consequences of climate change and adequately cushioning individual damages and losses, while contributing to increase resilience and improve adaptation.

The key priorities of the GCSPF are:

Climate-proof social protection

Pay for Loss and Damage and enable countries to expand social protection

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors appeals to the international community to seize this opportunity and actively participate in fair burden-sharing. Only in this way can we collectively advance transformative societal development that leaves no one behind and brings about the positive changes our world urgently needs.

Read more

The Loss and Damage Fund and Funding Arrangements and Social Protection Systems by Markus Kaltenborn, Professor at the Faculty of Law and Director of the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE), Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany and member of the GCSPF.
This paper was submitted to the UNFCCC Transitional Committee, July 2023.

Social Protection and Climate Action. A policy brief by Act Church of Sweden, Olof Palme International Center, Social Policy Initiative and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

Press Release: COP28 - Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors Calls for Building Social Protection Systems to deal with "Loss and Damage"

The Global People’s Assembly 2023 (GPA) will be on 17 (Sunday) and 18 September (Monday) in New York – at the UN SDG Summit and the UN General Assembly. The assembly will be hybrid - in-person in the Church Centre of the UN (opposite the UN) and participants can also join online.

The aim of the GPA is to bring people’s representatives together and create a strong voice at the SDG Summit for the midpoint of Agenda 2030. One of the priorities of the Global Assembly is to promote the right of all to universal social protection.

The GCSPF is coorganizer of the Global People's Assembly 2023. Sylvia Beales Gelber is also part of the drafting committee for the Declaration which will be no more than two pages and will be finalised on Sunday 17th and shared with the Secretary General of the UN at the start of the Summit.

The Global Coalition together with Africa Japan Forum, the People’s Vaccine, GCAP Africa and GCAP Asia is coorganizing the first session which is “Social Justice: Social Protection and Health, People’s Vaccine” that will take place on Sunday 17th, 2023 from 11.15 am - 12.45 pm New York time (If you will join us online you can confirm your local time here).

The objective of this session will be to articulate the key barriers and solutions to universal health coverage, social protection and achieving social justice for all with key asks to be included in the Declaration and to form the basis of a campaign plan.

Videos and messages will be shared in the session. We want the session to be as interactive as possible. We would really appreciate your in person presence for this in New York and for you to come to the session on line. As we will be developing key messages in the session as well as a campaign plan we therefore invite you to share your videos and messages. Please contact Sylvia (sylvia.bealesgelber AT gmail.com) to coordinate your contribution to this session.

Please register here to participate.

The program of the GPA 2023 is here.


The International Symposium on Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management, convened by the ILO, UNICEF, the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and the European Union, brought together policymakers, social partners, civil society, and development partners to discuss the innovative practices and strategies for building sustainable and rights-based social protection systems resulting from the Social Protection & Public Finance Management Programme (SP&PFM).

Many members of the GCSPF participated in the Symposium online, whereas Uzziel Twagilimana (WSM) and Beatrice Di Padua (ITUC)  attended physically. As representatives of the GCSPF, Uzziel Twagilimana moderated the Opening and Panel 1: “Extending social protection to all” and Beatrice di Padua spoke at Panel 5: “Joining forces for universal and sustainable social protection and closing remarks”. The video of her intervention is online here.

Launched in 2019, the EU-funded Programme on 'Improving synergies between social protection and public finance management' (SP&PFM Programme) supports 24 countries in achieving gender-responsive, disability-inclusive, and shock-responsive social protection. It also contributes to strengthening the sustainability of social protection financing through advocacy and technical work for increased fiscal space and improved public finance management.

The international symposium reviewed achievements, exchanged country experiences and innovations, and highlighted key research findings. It also looked ahead to how countries can maintain their momentum towards realizing universal social protection.

Information about the “International Symposium on Improving Synergies between Social Protection and Public Finance Management” is available here. The International Symposium was held in Geneva on 27 - 28 June, 2023.

The “Global Forum on Adaptive Social Protection. Protecting lives and livelihoods in times of crisis” provided an opportunity for policymakers, practitioners and social protection experts to jointly examine and discuss the scope and potential of Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) to foster resilience and promote adaptation.

Dr. Magdalena Sepúlveda spoke on behalf of the GCSPF in the opening session “Towards social protection for all in the face of multiple global crises”. The video of her intervention is here.

The “Global Forum on Adaptive Social Protection” was hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the World Bank (WB) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in cooperation with partners and with support from socialprotection.org. The Global Forum took place in Berlin from 13 to 15 June 2023. Further information is available here.

The German NGO association VENRO released a statement on the Global Forum on Adaptive Social Protection.

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The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), comprising more than 100 NGOs and labour organisations, acknowledges recent initiatives taken by the ILO, World Bank, and other development cooperation partners to direct greater international financing towards supporting social protection programs in the context of the ILO Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection.

Such efforts could be a first step towards the creation of an international financing mechanism on social protection, or Global Social Protection Fund, long-promoted by the GCSPF as necessary in order to mobilise and coordinate international financial assistance in order to truly support the development of universal social protection systems, particularly in the global south.

The GCSPF wishes to underline some key specific criteria that need to be met by any kind of international financing mechanism that would be developed: in particular the need for such a mechanism to provide direct support to states with limited financial capacity to extend social protection systems on their own in the short term, in addition to technical support. The GCSPF equally reiterates the need for an inclusive and democratic governance structure for such a fund, enabling the participation of recipient countries and not just donor countries in funding decisions, as well as the meaningful participation of civil society and social partners who represent those that would benefit from social protection extensions.

Context: Major financing gaps for social protection

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) recognises social protection floors as key instruments to realise the UN Sustainable Development agenda, as they are crucial for preventing and reducing poverty, ensuring inclusive economic growth and reducing inequalities amongst all members of society. They are also the tools to ensure States’ compliance with their obligations regarding the right to social security included, among others, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 22) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Art. 9). Nevertheless, major financing gaps persist today that impede countries to improve the adequacy and coverage of their social protection systems. Annually, 1.2 trillion USD is needed to fill the financing gap for low- and middle-income countries, and of that amount, around 78 billion USD is needed to finance social protection in the world’s poorest countries.[1] While this latter amount represents only 0.25% of global GDP, this represents 15.9% of the collective GDP of low-income countries and 45% of their collective tax revenue[2] – an insurmountable burden for them to finance alone without international financial assistance.

At the same time, international financial support to social protection is extremely limited; before the pandemic, only a dismally low average of 1.2% of existing Official Development Assistance (ODA) had been dedicated to social protection globally.[3] While ODA has increased somewhat in this area due COVID response measures, the majority of this support went only to temporary emergency measures rather than strengthening social protection systems. Moreover, worryingly, a number of countries have also cut public spending in social protection in recent years as part of austerity measures. Governments and donors must see social spending as a crucial investment which can yield almost twice its value in economic returns.[4]

Options available – the need for inclusive governance

The GCSPF welcomes efforts to put together a financing mechanism for social protection in the context of implementing the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection; strengthened international financial assistance is critically needed in order to deliver on the Accelerator’s stated objectives of closing financing gaps and extending coverage to the 4 billion people currently without any social protection.

However, the GCSPF recalls that international support for the expansion of social protection systems should be mainly directed towards supporting national governments, as the key actors for the development of long-term sustainable, inclusive, and universal social protection systems.[5] Any financial mechanism should be developed to ensure the complete ownership of recipient countries over their social protection systems, involving national governments in decisions around how funding is allocated and how social protection systems should be extended, as well as ensuring broad-based and meaningful societal dialogue on reform priorities, bringing together social partners and civil society. Support should moreover be coherent with internationally-agreed social security standards, including General Comment 19 on the right to social security of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ILO Convention 102 and Recommendation 202.

The GCSPF therefore considers that any financing instrument to be developed must put in place inclusive governance mechanisms that ensure a fair and balanced decision-making process, particularly regarding the allocation of funds. This process should involve representatives from both donors and recipient countries, which are utilising the resources to enhance their social protection systems. Equal voting rights shall also be a requirement for fair and accountable governance. [6]

At a point where various possibilities for setting up such a financing instrument are being discussed at international level, the main choices currently identified are:

The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors would strongly advise against the use of a World Bank Trust Fund for social protection as it would fail to meet certain essential criteria for a partnership-based financing instrument that is acceptable to the Global South – as indeed equal decision-making power, with more than only limited ‘consultative’ space for civil society’s participation. The GCSPF would also be concerned with situating such a financing instrument directly within the World Bank, given that technical advice from the World Bank on social protection has often run in contradiction to international labour and social security standards.[7]

The development of a special window of the UN Joint SDG Fund or making use of the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund, while being a more inclusive option in terms of governance, also has some limitations. This is mainly because such UN funds assign the main responsibility for implementing the fund to the respective participating UN organisations.[8] This would therefore likely restrict the scope of funding to only UN technical support to states, which would not be sufficient on its own to allow states meet the scale of the challenge in terms of financing social protection.

The creation of a new Financial Intermediary Fund would have substantial added value in directing financial support towards states themselves, so that they can extend social protection systems and develop long-term sustainable strategies. If well designed, it could also give the possibility of providing equal representation to Global South countries in their governing bodies, and incorporate civil society into the decision-making process[9].  The creation of such a fund would entail in the short term greater administrative burdens in terms of setting it up as compared to the other three options, as well as a minimum commitment of 200 million USD from development partners.  That being said, there are recent examples of successfully setting up such Financial Intermediary Funds, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as the Pandemic Fund - which have been able to benefit from financial support from the World Bank as well as from development partner organisations.

In short, while the Global Coalition could be supportive of strengthened finance for UN technical support for social protection through the establishment of such a special window of the Joint SDG Fund or UN Multi-Partner Trust fund, we believe that additional funding through a Financial Intermediary Fund would have substantial added value. The Global Coalition would therefore support a new international financing instrument for social protection through the establishment of a Financial Intermediary Fund.

May 2023

Notes:

[1] ILO (2021) Secretary General’s Policy Brief “Investing in Jobs and Social Protection for Poverty Eradication and a Sustainable Recovery”.

[2] ILO (2020) Financing Gaps in Social Protection.

[3] Marcus Manuel (2022) Assessment of potential increase in domestic and external financing for social

protection in low-income countries.

[4] ITUC (2021) Investments in social protection and their impacts on economic growth.

[5] The overall and primary responsibility of the State in expanding social protection is among the agreed USP2030 “Principles for Financing Universal Social Protection”.

[6] For an extended discussion of the criteria to be met by the international financing instrument to support social protection in the global south, see: Markus Kaltenborn (2023) Expanding Global Social Protection – Options for the Design of an International Financing Mechanism. FES.

[7] See for instance, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (2022) Response to the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Compass.

[8] Markus Kaltenborn (2023) Expanding global social protection – options for the design of an international

financing mechanism.

[9] Ibid.

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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The side event “Progress through Social Protection - Current initiatives and financing at national and international level” took place on Monday, March 6th 2023 during the Civil Society Forum of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) that was held in Doha, Qatar.

Speakers at the event were Massimiliano La Marca (Senior Economist, International Labour Office - ILO), Elibariki Msengi (Christian Council of Tanzania), Martha Bekele (Development Initiatives, Ethiopia) and Ana Zeballos (GCSPF).

Ana Zeballos presented the work of the GCSPF. Massimiliano La Marca talked about the work of the ILO in the LDCs, particularly in the framework of the SDGs. Martha Bekele did a presentation focused on domestic and international financing, the Global Fund for Social Protection embedded in the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection. Martha also presented the new discussion paper Should Global Public Investment finance social protection? And finally, Elibariki Msengi shared with the participants the expansion of health insurance in Tanzania. The presentations were followed by a lively discussion about the situation in the different countries.

Read the programme and the invitation.

This event was 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 and Brot für die Welt.

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

Speakers:

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.

Background

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).

The video of the side event: On the Road to 2025: A New Social Contract with Universal Social Protection and Full Employment and Decent Work for all is now online. The event took place on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, during the 61st Session of the Commission for Social Development CSocD61.

The event was dedicated to the memory of Prof. Michael Cichon. Michael was the inspiration behind and driver of Recommendation 202, founder of the GCSPF and he has been an inspiring example to so many people around the world.

Moderator: Eppu Mikkonen, Finnish Development NGOs Fingo

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. Download the speech.

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

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

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. Download the presentation.

• 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. Download the presentation.

• Paul Divakar, GCAP Global Co-Chair

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

The side event was organized by the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF), and 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.

The Concept Note is here and the invitation is here.

Read the position paper of the GCSPF at the CSocD61.

The Priority Theme of the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development (CSocD61) was ‘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.’ The CSocD took place from 6 to 15 February 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

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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