World Social Protection Report 2017-19

What is Social protection?

  • Social protection is concerned with preventing, managing, and overcoming situations that adversely affect people’s well being.
  • Social protection consists of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks, such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age.
  • The World Social Protection Report 2017-19 is released by the International Labour Organisation.


What are the major highlights of the report?

The goal of comprehensive coverage evidently remains a mere slogan in several parts of the world.

  • A vast majority of people (4 billion) live without any safeguard against the normal contingencies of life. Less than half (45.2%) have guaranteed access to only one social protection benefit in the face of a whole gamut of risks such as ill health, unemployment, occupational injuries, disability, and old age.
  • More than half the population in rural areas are not covered by universal health programmes, as compared to less than a quarter in urban locations.
  • Nearly two-thirds of children are not covered by any form of social protection, meaning that their education is unlikely to rank as a priority among households. Furthermore, 41% of mothers of newborns receive no maternity benefits.
  • Only 27.8% of persons with severe disabilities worldwide receive appropriate support. The expansion of old-age pensions to include 68% of people in the retirement age is a move in the right direction.
  • There is growing political support for the idea that public investment in social security is critical to eradicate poverty, boost economic growth, and reduce inequality.
  • About 29% of the population enjoy comprehensive social protection.
  • There has been a 2% increase in coverage in the last two years.


What are the challenges and how can they be addressed?

  • Major obstacles in this regard are fiscal austerity measures. The report reinforces the alternative approach, of economic stimulus and productivity-enhancing growth.
  • Targets under the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals lay out the framework for concerted efforts in this respect. An earlier ILO study documented the challenges facing countries, at their current rate of progress, to meet the 2025 target of eradicating child labour.
  • However, the levels of support are not adequate enough even to lift people out of poverty. A trend away from the privatisation of pension protection in Poland, Argentina, Hungary, among others, is a moment for other countries to rethink.
  • A highlight in the report is the practical tools and guidance on calculating the cost of different social benefits. It dispels the notion that universal coverage is beyond the reach of poor countries.




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