Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau
"GENEVA : Despite significant progress in the extension of social protection in many parts of the world, the human right to social security is not yet a reality for a majority of the world's population, says a new flagship report from the International Labour Organization (ILO). Social Protection
"The report recommends an increase of public expenditure on social protection to extend social protection coverage, especially in Africa, Asia and the Arab States, to provide at least a basic social protection floor to all.
"Social Protection for Children It highlights that universal social protection contributes to eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, promoting economic growth and social justice, as well as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and shows how many developing countries have developed universal schemes.
The report stresses the need to extend social protection to workers in the informal economy as a way of formalizing and improving their working conditions.
"However, short-term austerity policies continue undermining long-term development efforts. Fiscal consolidation adjustments have significant negative social impacts and jeopardize the achievement of the SDGs," said Isabel Ortiz, Director of the ILO Social Protection Department.
"Fiscal space for extending social protection exists even in the poorest countries. Governments should be proactive in exploring all possible financing options to promote the SDGs and national development through decent jobs and social protection."
The research says that, worldwide, 68 per cent of people above retirement age receive an old-age pension, which is associated with the expansion of both non-contributory and contributory pensions in many middle- and low-income countries. With expenditure on pensions and other benefits for older people accounting for 6.9 per cent of GDP on average with large regional variations, the report underlines that benefit levels are often low and not enough to push older people out of poverty. This trend is often fuelled by austerity measures. Some states are reversing their pension privatizations due to the fact that privatization policies did not deliver the expected results. Countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Poland are returning to public solidarity-based systems. The Research saysThe report shows that the right to health is not a reality yet in many parts of the world, especially in rural areas where 56 per cent of the population lacks health coverage, compared to 22 per cent in urban areas. An estimated additional 10 million health workers would be needed to achieve universal health coverage and ensure human security, including in emergency situations such as an Ebola crisis. Long-term care – mostly needed by older people – still excludes more than 48 per cent of the world's population, with women disproportionately affected. Only 5.6 per cent of the global population lives in countries that provide long-term care coverage based on national legislation for the whole population.