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Back | Programme Area: Social Policy and Development

Exploring the Feasibility of International Financing for Social Protection Systems

Date: 28 Nov 2019

  • Time: 14:00-15:15
  • Location: International Labour Office, Geneva
  • Counterpart(s): ILO, Ruhr Universität Bochum

Exploring the Feasibility of International Financing for Social Protection Systems
As part of the the ILO's Global Social Protection Week, UNRISD is co-hosting a technical session bringing together leading thinkers from research institutions, governments, civil society and the private sector in order to discuss the feasibility of international financing for social protection floors.

The Global Social Protection Week, which consists of a two-day High-Level Segment followed by a Technical Segment, of which this event is part, will provide a roadmap for the future of social protection within the framework of the recently adopted ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work.

To attend Global Social Protection Week, register here (scroll down to find the form).

Universal social protection

Universal social protection plays a key role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 1.3 that calls on countries to “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors”. The concept of universal social protection is firmly grounded in the international rights framework and set out by international human rights instruments and social security standards. It is also increasingly recognized that social protection spending is an investment that contributes to societies’ economic and social prosperity in the medium- and long-run.

This recognition is, however, difficult to put into practice in the current context where the social contract is challenged by inequality, insecurity, instability and informality. Key issues include the need to address inequalities, ensure fair distribution of resources, and create the fiscal space to ensure equitable and sustainable financing of social protection and other public policies that reduce inequalities. Particularly in a world economy that is characterized by globalization, financialization and global tax competition, international financing of social protection systems, using both public and private sources, needs to complement the creation of fiscal space at the national level.

Objectives of the session and format

  • Discuss the extent to which a global solidarity mechanism is needed in addition to domestic resources, and the conceptual basis for a social contract beyond country borders.
  • Compare the strengths and weaknesses of different proposals that have been put forward, and critically reflect on what has hindered, the effective implementation of these proposals so far
  • Identify options for financing social protection with international sources that seem, in the current context, the most feasible

This technical session will consist of a moderated discussion, where the moderator will ask one or two rounds of questions to the panel members.


Moderator: Paul Ladd, UNRISD

Inputs by Markus Kaltenborn, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Gabriele Köhler, UNRISD

  • Sekai Nzenza, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Zimbabwe
  • Marijke Wijnroks, Chief of Staff, The Global Fund
  • Michael Cichon, Core Group Member, Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
  • Arthur Wood, Founding Partner, Total Impact Capital

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger, public domain via Unsplash.