“Social protection is a measure of the extent to which countries assume responsibility for supporting the standard of living of disadvantaged or vulnerable groups. […] Social spending comprises cash benefits, direct in-kind provision of goods and services, and tax breaks with social purposes. […]”.
The three institutions in different statements, analysis and policy papers, expressed the need to ensure that “social protection systems are sufficiently robust and adaptable to provide adequate support for all workers in need, regardless of their employment status, age, or gender”. The Covid-19 pandemic emphasised the existing gaps in social protection, since “55 per cent of the world’s population – as many as four billion people – are not covered by social insurance or social assistance. Globally, only 20 per cent of unemployed people are covered by unemployment benefits, and in some regions the coverage is much lower”.
Discussions on social protection coverage during Covid-19 renewed the debate on the need for global and coordinated initiative to improve social protection system. The French Ministry of Labour recently launched a proposal for the establishment of a Global Fund on social protection. The details of the Fund are not made public yet, but already serious doubts arise on this initiative, the financial impact, the role of employers, and the bypassing of already existing international standards (ILO Recommendations 202) and goals (SDG target 1.3).
IOE Deputy Secretary-General, Matthias Thorns, recently intervening at the High-level Political Forum organised by the United Nations to follow-up and review the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, said that “ILO Recommendations 202 and 204 establish global consensus on social protection and informality. We need to walk the talk and implement what was agreed”. He emphasised the great relevance of social protection floors for employers’ worldwide and the opportunity provided by the 2021 ILO recurrent discussion “to develop new policy approaches to promote social protection globally and discuss with the global tripartite constituents the proposal by the French Government for a Global Fund”.
Further information will follow, prior to the next discussion on the French Proposal at the November 2020 G20.