An initiative called the Global Extension of Social Security (GESS) has recently created a petition calling on all governments to implement a national social protection floor (SPF), and calling on the United Nations to assist in the development and implementation of such policies. The target audience for the petition is the United Nations’ NGO Committee for Social Development. The petition has over 4000 signatures to date.
According to the GESS website, a social protection floor is a “nationally defined set of basic social security guarantees that should ensure, as a minimum that, over the life cycle, all in need have access to essential health care and to basic income security which together secure effective access to goods and services defined as necessary at the national level.”
The social protection floor concept is broader than the concept of a basic income as the SPF guarantees: 1) universal access to essential services (such as health, education, housing, water, and sanitation); and 2) social transfers to guarantee income security, food security and adequate nutrition. According to the GESS, a social protection floor should be universal, rights-based, nationally owned and designed, affordable, and just the first step in an ongoing process of ensuring social security.
Basic income or any other form of guaranteed income security would, then, be one important component of a broader SPF which may include a mix of policies and instruments (contributory and non-contributory, targeted and universal, public and private) that are suited to the social, economic and political context of the country it is being designed for.
Related efforts in advocating for an SPF come from the International Labour Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization who together coordinate the Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPF-I). The SPF-I is working to build a global coalition for the purpose of supporting countries in building national social protection floors for their citizens. The Advisory Group of the SPF-I recently released a report entitled “Social protection floor for a fair and inclusive globalization” which provides a wealth of information on the concept and recommendations for its implementation.
Further to this, the International Labour Conference has newly adopted the Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202) which provides guidance to countries for establishing and maintaining SPFs. They note that SPF is part of the overall social security framework of a country, building on existing social protection mechanisms that are already in place, or starting from scratch if necessary. Additional support for SPFs comes from the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination who adopted that SPF-I as one of its nine crisis initiatives to deal with the effects of economic collapse.
The GESS petition is online at:
For more information is online at: