ILO sets 2030 target for universal social protection


Head of ILO’s Social Protection department, Isabel Ortiz

THE International Labour Organization (ILO) has set 2030 as the year that the world should attain provision of universal social security coverage.

The head of ILO’s Social Protection department, Isabel Ortiz, said social protection is a key component of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set to be unfolded soon.

Ortiz expressed optimism that a world where all older persons receive a pension; a world where all persons with severe disabilities receive benefits for a life in dignity; a world where all women receive maternity and child support so kids can eat, study and play; a world where there is support for those who are poor or without jobs; a world where no one is left behind.
She submitted that this envisaged ‘world’ is indeed possible in the year 2030.

This world is feasible. In recent years, there has been massive progress in developing social protection systems. Many developing countries have achieved universal or near-universal coverage – for all people. It is about continuing on this path,” she added.

She hinted that the SDGs calls for efforts to not only combat different categories of poverty, but also to even up income distribution so that, as countries continue to develop, the benefits of growth can be enjoyed by all.

The SDGs propose to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems for all, including social protection floors as agreed by all countries in 2012 and endorsed by the United Nations and the G20.

While submitting that the time is ripe, Ortiz stated that by establishing universal social protection systems, including social protection floors, countries could ensure that no one is left behind and that prosperity is shared. Social protection policies play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality, and supporting inclusive growth – by boosting human capital supporting domestic demand and facilitating structural transformation of national economies.

Going memory lane, Ortiz declared that historically social protection systems were not developed out of a sense of charity, saying, “it is not about a few hand-outs to the most vulnerable. It is about comprehensive systems, strategically designed and implemented to: raise productivity by investing in the workforce and in children, the future labour force; and ensure national consumption by raising household income; and reduce political instability in addition to promoting peace and social cohesion.”

While stressing the need to work as one, she hinted that United Nations is ready for action.
“All around the world, social protection specialists from different UN agencies support governments to implement social protection floors and comprehensive social security systems. This is a two-step approach: (1) supporting governments to adopt national social protection strategies through national dialogue, and (2) supporting the design or reform of social protection schemes, the development of relevant legal frameworks, and the implementation of such schemes.

This is happening today in many developing countries. Working together as “One UN” with other partners will help meet the proposed Target 1.3 of the SDGs to ‘implement social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.’ This joint effort will also help to fulfill other proposed sustainable development targets on reducing inequalities,” she stated.

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