Statement Delivered by Kjeld Jakobsen (ITUC) at UN FfD Forum Round Table A on behalf of the CSO FfD group

In Response to the Guiding Question:

It has been suggested that the ECOSOC Forum on FfD Follow-up could serve as an institutional home for further exploration of coherent funding modalities for the social compact, both in terms of nationally appropriate spending targets and international support, as well as complementary new innovative sources of finance for education, health, housing, social protection and water. What are Member States’ views on using this Forum for this purpose in future years?

 

Implementing the social compact

 

We believe that there is very real potential for the FfD Forum to become an effective follow-up mechanism for the implementation of the outcome areas mandated by the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action. Among these, implementing the social compact, as set out in AAAA para 12, is of particular importance. This means addressing the cross-cutting themes that cover social protection including floors, and essential social services (health, education, housing, water).

 

Much of the population in the developing world lacks access to adequate health care and other essential services, and to social protection coverage in the form of income security, protection against the adverse effects of life-course risks such as unemployment, poverty wages, and precarious livelihoods. A funding gap that fails to cover approximately 88% [1] of the social protection needs of the most vulnerable in the least developed countries must be addressed.  Women and children are particularly negatively impacted by these life-course risks. Women because of their weak engagement in labour markets and their unequal access to productive resources, children because of their life stage and dependence on household income. Moreover, the 185 Member States of the ILO as well as trade unions and employers’ organizations have recognized the provision of social protection and essential social services as a human right. (ILO Recommendation No. 102 [2012] on Social Protection Floors). It is furthermore a crucial tool in combatting poverty; it is a key investment in human capital, for responding to crises, in tackling inequalities, including those based on gender, and in breaking inter-generational poverty traps.

 

Priority should therefore be given to investments in building and strengthening social protection floors to extend coverage to all, including the informal economy, providing basic income security and essential social services to vulnerable populations, and expanding coverage for crisis times, emergency situations, and situations of severe economic hardship.

 

While national governments should take responsibility for establishing their social protection systems and social service delivery, there is clear need for deeper international cooperation aimed at strengthening domestic policy environments and revenue-raising capacities. Given its importance for poverty eradication and sustainable development, this should constitute a priority area for a multi-year programme of work of the FfD Forum.

We make a number of concrete proposals in this regard:

  • As the technical arm of the Forum, the IATF should refine its indicators to measure progress on the implementation of the social compact.
  • The IATF could draw on the Inter-Agency Social Protection Assessment tools for social protection assessments developed by the UN’s Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B).
  • The focus should be on exploring coherent and innovative funding modalities. An international funding mechanism could be considered.
  • Technical and capacity-building support to national governments could be envisaged, for the setting up of their social protection systems.
  • National-level experiences could be shared at the Forum, in a knowledge and capacity-building segment.
  • Supported by the Financing for Development Office, interested Members of the Forum should consider initiating a process of multi-stakeholder dialogue, including civil society with the aim of establishing a multi-year programme of work on financing social protection systems, including floors.

 

[1] Getting poverty to zero: financing for social protection in least developed countries (2015): http://devinit.org/#!/post/getting-poverty-to-zero-financing-for-social-protection-in-least-developed-countries