A goal on Ĺsocial protection floors for everyoneĺ must be elaborated in the Post 2015 United Nations Development Agenda. Implementation of National Floors of Social Protection as outlined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) recommendation No 202 of June 2012 will address on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and provide for a consistent and coherent way for sustaining gains in the future. If implemented they are a step in the right direction towards a transformational agenda leaving no one behind. ILO Recommendation 202 was accepted unanimously by the member states of the ILO and an equal number of national workers and employer delegations. To date, it is supported by more than 90 Civil Society Organizations.
Rights-based national social protection floors are overarching, comprehensive and indispensable social policy tools for achieving the eradication of poverty and the reduction of inequality. Well-designed social protection floors will pro-actively enhance gender equality because social protection guarantees have multiple and interconnected beneficial effects, which can cause a virtuous circle.
The Commission on Social Development, 52nd session, encourages governments to continue developing, improving and implementing inclusive, effective and sustainable social protection systems and social protection floors based on national priorities for all members of society. The Commission on the Status of Women, 58th session, named social protection as a way of addressing the multiple and intersecting factors contributing to the disproportionate impact of poverty on women and girls over the life cycle.
Social protection floors are
1. Conceptually clear: embodying a comprehensive and coherent goal for the social dimension of sustainable human development that avoids competition between different social goals and are being successfully developed on national levels.
2. Technically possible: but still are ambitious. While proven to be feasible and affordable, they are flexible in means, clear on objectives, concrete and measurable.
3. Politically accepted/acceptable: social protection floors emerge from participatory national policy development and standards, and are already accepted by global consensus.
And they have proven that they can deliver: eradicating extreme poverty, reducing inequality, enhancing gender equality, improving the educational status of people, ensuring health gains for under-privileged and vulnerable groups, and developing a more productive workforce.
Fiscal space for social protection floors exists in virtually every country with many options available. All that is required is the political will to invest in people. Effective country-specific social protection floors, which can gradually expand, are affordable and financially sustainable through re-allocation of public expenditures. Financing social protection floors can be achieved by cutting back on military expenditures, increasing tax revenues, fighting illicit financial flows, restructuring debt and adopting a more accommodative macroeconomic framework. Implementation of social protection floors can offer important macroeconomic benefits and Ĺincrease the presence of countercyclical buffers reducing the negative effects of economic downswings (Inequality Matters - Report on the World Social Situation 2013, p. 101).
Well-designed social protection floors serve as economi and social stabilizers in times of crisis and should never be compromised in times of fiscal crisis. Social protection floors offer genuine possibilities for addressing ongoing and emerging challenges.