Monday, 12.07.2021 - Online

Side Event at HLPF: “Decade of Action to Achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030”

Social protection is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Social protection is not only a universal human right, investing in social protection also brings high social and economic returns.

Photo: Flickr_Global Change Center

However, half the world’s population currently does not have access to any social protection, with coverage remaining particularly limited in most low-income countries. Those who tend to lack access to essential services and basic income guarantees, according to ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors, include workers in the informal economy, marginalized children, people with disabilities, older women and men, refugees and migrants, and homeless persons.

We are entering the decade of action to achieve Agenda 2030 under extremely difficult circumstances. Global commitment to SDG 1 “to achieve substantial (social protection) coverage of the poor and the vulnerable by 2030” (Target 1.3) has become the highest priority to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere. Without concomitant commitment to joint action SDG 1 target 1.3 will fail.

The HLPF 2021 reviews global and national progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also considers the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already exposed the depth and breadth of social and economic inequalities and is set to push up to 150 million people into extreme poverty, and 150 million children into multidimensional poverty.

We invited to a 90-minute side event at the HLPF 2021 with speakers from governments, the United Nations, the World Bank and civil society. We discussed why universal social protection is critical to the success of the 2030 Agenda, how social protection can prevent long-term poverty traps as a result of the ongoing crisis, how it will underpin resilient recovery and contribute to future crisis preparedness and how it will reduce inequalities. The event explored the role of national social dialogue and the global partnership for universal social protection and propose a global mechanism to support countries to create comprehensive systems, to collect necessary data and to mobilize finance to ensure universal coverage of the social protection floor.

Conclusions and recommendations were fed into the ongoing work of the High-level Political Forum 2021 and the work of the sponsoring partners.

The virtual side event was co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations; Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia; Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection – USP2030; Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors; Global Call to Action Against Poverty; International Labour Organization; The World Bank; International Network for Social Protection Rights (INSP!R West-Africa); United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD); Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Protestant Agency for Diakonie und Development; Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd; Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC).


Moderator: Dr. Katja Hujo, Senior Research Coordinator, Transformative Social Policy Programme, UNRISD

Session 1: The Contribution of Universal Social Protection to Agenda 2030

  • Dr. Shahra Razavi, Director of the Social Protection Department of the International Labour Organisation
  • Dr. Michal Rutkowski, Global Director, Social Protection and Jobs, The World Bank:
    Universal social protection – a key contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda 
    (SDG 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17)
  • Dr. Maliki, Director, Poverty Alleviation and Community Empowerment, Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia:
    Universal social protection for a resilient recovery and future crisis preparedness
  • Roshni K. Niggehalli, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), on behalf of Global Call for Action Against Poverty India:
    Universal social protection – an essential instrument to reduce Inequality (SDG 10)

Q&A / Discussion

Session 2: Partnership for Joint Action

  • Uzziel Twagilimana, INSP!R West-Africa, on behalf of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors:
    The strength of national social dialogue to build universal social protection
  • Erika Roffler, Secretary of Social Policy, Ministry of Social Development, Argentina:
    The opportunities of a strong Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection (USP2030)
  • Prof. Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights:
    How a Global Fund for Social Protection will enable social protection coverage for those left furthest behind
  • Catherine Gigante, Head of Unit, Social Development, Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, Belgium:
    Comments and reactions on a Global Fund for Social Protection

Q&A / Discussion

Wrap up and Conclusion: Towards universal social protection by 2030

Summary of main messages and recommendations

Invitation to join Partnership and to live up to Agenda 2030 commitment to achieve universal social protection coverage by 2030.

High-Level Political Forum 2021

The theme of the High-level Political Forum 2021 is “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.

Each HLPF considers the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals. Those under specific review in 2021 are Goal 1; no poverty, Goal 2; zero hunger, Goal 3; good health and well-being, Goal 8; decent work and economic growth, Goal 10; reduced inequalities, Goal 12; responsible consumption and production, Goal 13: climate action, Goal 16; peace, justice and strong institutions, Goal 17; partnerships and data.

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