Thursday, October 27, 2011


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization [27 October 2011]
A report of the Advisory Group chaired by Michelle Bachelet and 
convened by the ILO with the collaboration of the WHO
[full-text, 117 pages]

In many ways the power of the social protection floor lies in its simplicity. The floor is based on the idea that everyone should enjoy at least basic income security sufficient to live, guaranteed through transfers in cash or in kind, such as pensions for the elderly and persons with disabilities, child benefits, income support benefits and/or employment guarantees and services for the unemployed and working poor. Together, in cash and in kind transfers should ensure that everyone has access to essential goods and services, including essential health services, primary education, housing, water and sanitation.

This report, prepared under the guidance of Ms Michelle Bachelet and members of the Advisory Group, shows that the extension of social protection, drawing on social protection floors, can play a pivotal role in relieving people of poverty and deprivation. It can in addition help people adapt their skills to overcome the constraints that block their full participation in a changing economic and social environment, contributing to improved human capital development and stimulating greater productive activity. The report also shows how social protection has helped to stabilize aggregate demand in times of crisis and to increase resilience against economic shocks, contributing to accelerate recovery towards more inclusive and sustainable development paths.

Press Release 27 October 2011
Social protection floor key to addressing crises and social instability

NEW YORK (ILO News) – A high-level panel headed by the former President of Chile, Michele Bachelet, today delivered a ground-breaking report to UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, arguing that a social protection floor could boost economic growth and enhance social cohesion.

            The report, “Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization”, was immediately welcomed by several world leaders including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as other prominent leaders in the world of work.

In his statement, Mr. Ban said “This is a crucial report that comes at a critical time. People everywhere are anxious about the future, frustrated about the economy, and upset with leaders. Achieving social protection for all is critical to building fairer, more inclusive and equitable societies.”

The new report says an estimated 5.1 billion people lack adequate social security or social protection worldwide, while just over 15 per cent of the world’s unemployed worldwide are receiving some form of unemployment benefits.

Preliminary conclusions of the report were presented to the G20 labour ministerial meeting in Paris in September, and garnered an immediate pledge by the group to support new measures aimed at extending social protection worldwide as a means of reducing poverty, stimulating economies and hedging against the impacts of economic crises.

“Extending social protection is a ’win-win’ investment that pays off both in the short term, given its effects as a macroeconomic stabilizer but also in the long term, due to the impacts on human development and productivity” Ms. Bachelet said.

The report also finds that social protection programmes can act as stabilizers attenuating the adverse impact of economic crises on labour markets while contributing to maintaining social cohesion and stimulating aggregate demand

The report calls on the G20 leaders summit in Cannes on 3-4 November to consider an “action plan” for implementing social protection floors through existing and new financing mechanisms. It shows that some countries – such as El Salvador, Benin, Mozambique and Vietnam – could provide a major social protection floor for as little as 1 to 2 percent of GDP.  The report shows that nationally-designed social protection floors are affordable even in low income countries
“Social protection floors are necessary, feasible and effective”, said the Director-General of the ILO, Juan Somavia, which developed the social protection floor approach together with other UN partners. “Cuts in social protection programmes as part of fiscal consolidation packages might weaken the recovery.”

            The report drew strong international support, with Ms. Roussef saying “Brazil is committed to the implementation of the social protection floor. The work of the Commission chaired by Michelle Bachelet represents an important contribution to advancing discussions on this issue and to improving social policies around the world.”

French President Sarkozy stated “Building up a social protection floor in each country will take time. Certainly we cannot impose upon the poorest countries the standards and social systems of the wealthiest. But progress must be made.”

Mr. Somavia said “By reaffirming their commitment to extend social protection, G20 leaders can contribute to restoring people’s confidence, which is a prerequisite to market confidence. I will attend the Cannes summit and insist that these recommendations which are directly connected to the ILO Decent Work Agenda and the need for social justice are considered as an integral part of the discussions.”

The ILO’s annual international labour conference in 2012 is to consider a new international labour standard on social protection floors.

Social protection – and in particular the concept of a social protection floor – has been increasingly recognized as a key development instrument at different international fora, most recently at the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in September 2010.

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                  
Director, IWS News Bureau               
Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell/ILR School                       
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor            
New York, NY 10016                       
Telephone: (607) 262-6041              
Fax: (607) 255-9641                      

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