Accelerating the Achievement of Universal Social Protection to Leave No One Behind


Project properties

GLO/22/31/IRL Africa Asia and the Pacific Malawi Mozambique Viet Nam Zambia Ireland GLO371 GLO372 GLO373 MOZ106 MWI152 VNM151 ZMB128 Indicator 8.1.1 [2021-22] Indicator 8.2.1 [2021-22] Indicator 8.3.1 [2021-22] In progress This project is part of the Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All Outputs, outcomes and impact are identified separately by different country components


Poor and marginalized communities, female-headed households, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities are among the most vulnerable to a wide range of shocks and stresses, now exacerbated by the emergence of global crises and climate change. Rising inequality and the continued exclusion of the poorest from the benefits of economic growth increase their vulnerability. The main causes of poverty and vulnerability are inadequate income, lack of protection in cases of harmful life cycle events and the persistence of irregular, informal employment. People at the "bottom of the pyramid" are often excluded from productive activities and have limited access to essential public services. Inclusive economic growth can build resilience by providing people with regular and adequate incomes, and social protection combined with strategies to formalize the economy play a key role here. As of 2020, only 46.9 per cent of the global population were effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit (Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 1.3.1), while the remaining 53.1 per cent – as many as 4.1 billion people – were left wholly unprotected. Behind this global average, there are significant inequalities across and within regions, with coverage rates in Europe and Central Asia (83.9 per cent) and the Americas (64.3 per cent) above the global average, while Asia and the Pacific (44.1 per cent), the Arab States (40.0 per cent) and Africa (17.4 per cent) have far more marked coverage gaps. Gaps in social protection coverage, compounded by insufficient comprehensiveness and adequacy of social protection benefits, are associated with significant underinvestment in social protection, particularly in Africa, the Arab States and Asia. Countries spend on average 12.9 per cent of their GDP on social protection (excluding health), but this figure masks staggering variations. High-income countries spend on average 16.4 per cent, or twice as much as upper-middle-income countries (which spend 8 per cent), six times as much as lower-middle income countries (2.5 per cent), and 15 times as much as low-income countries (1.1 per cent). This financing gap for building social protection floors has widened by approximately 30 per cent since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, owing to the increased need for healthcare services, income security measures, and reductions in GDP caused by the crisis. To guarantee at least a basic level of social security through a nationally defined social protection floor, lower-middle-income countries would need to invest an additional US$362.9 billion and upper-middle-income countries a further US$750.8 billion per year, equivalent to 5.1 and 3.1 per cent of GDP respectively for the two groups. Low-income countries would need to invest an additional US$77.9 billion, equivalent to 15.9 per cent of their GDP, which may not be feasible in the short term.1 COVID-19 threatens to imperil years of progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reversing gains in poverty reduction. It has also revealed the pre-existing stark protection gaps across all countries and made it impossible for policymakers to ignore the persistent social protection deficits experienced by certain groups, such as informal economy workers, migrants, and unpaid care givers. At the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference in June 2021, the tripartite constituents of the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a framework for action towards universal social protection2 that reaffirmed the primary responsibility of states in this regard, while also acknowledging the crucial importance of international solidarity with technical cooperation to support countries with more limited economic means. Following extensive consultations with implementing and development partners, the 2nd phase of the Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All (here forth “The Flagshi...


  • End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • 1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
  • 8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value


05.12.2022 - 31.12.2025


1,394,293 / 3,152,501 Development Cooperation

Timeline of linked projects

921 GLO/22/31/IRL 12 05 2022 12 31 2025
01 01 2014 12 31 2016 RAF/13/04/IRL Building National Floors of Social Protection in Southern Africa 172
12 20 2016 06 30 2024 VNM/16/54/IRL Viet Nam - Inclusive growth, social protection and jobs 79
12 20 2016 12 31 2022 GLO/16/63/IRL Inclusive growth, social protection and jobs 80
12 21 2016 06 30 2024 RAF/17/53/IRL Southern Africa – Social Protection Component IGSPJI 48
09 01 2017 03 31 2025 MOZ/17/04/CEF ONE UN Joint Programme on Social Protection in Mozambique 45
01 01 2019 07 31 2022 MOZ/19/50/PRT ACTION/Portugal (Phase 2): Strengthening of Social Protection Systems in Mozambique 415
08 21 2019 12 31 2024 ZMB/19/01/CEF United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection in Zambia “UNJPSP-II” 657



All branches Informal economy Agricultural/Rural Financing social protection Culture of social protection