Social Protection

Building social protection floors and comprehensive social security systems

ILO Global Flagship Programme

Building social protection floors for all

The ILO’s Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All, launched in early 2016, supports the implementation of social protection systems including floors, guided by ILO’s social security standards. It aims to contribute to providing 130 million people with better access to social protection by 2020 and to serve as an engagement platform for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals targets 1.3 and 3.8 in particular.

The Global Flagship Programme and COVID-19

As social protection is a central component of the ILO’s four-pillar response to the crisis, the Flagship programme is providing support to ILO constituents by:


Launched in 2016 by the ILO, the Global Flagship Programme is making social protection floors a national reality in 21 target countries



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4 billion people have no social protection

Child and family benefits
Only 35% of children worldwide enjoy effective access to social protection
Maternity benefits
Only, 41% of mothers with newborns receive maternity benefits
Unemployment benefits
Only, 22% of unemployed workers are covered with unemployment benefits
Disability benefits
Only, 28% of persons with severe disabilities worldwide receive a disability benefit
Old-age pensions
Only, 68% of people above retirement age receive an old-age pension

Life without social protection means:

  • Mothers have to go back to work right after giving birth
  • Unemployed people move to the informal economy in order to survive
  • Older persons cannot retire in dignity
  • Families do not have access to quality health care
  • Migrant workers face discrimination and social exclusion

Social protection changes the lives of people

"The day I receive my allowance, I am someone" says Regina

With access to old-age pensions, Regina has seen her life changed. She lives in a small village in Mozambique. In the past, she was relying on the charity of her neighbours, her friends. Since 2010 she benefits from the basic social protection subsidy. With this monthly allowance she can buy rice, sugar, salt and cover her transportation costs to the hospital. She can even take care of her grandson who lives with her.


How can social protection make a difference in people's lives ?



Jean-Paul Agon

CEO, L'Oréal

"I was struck by the tremendous disparities in social protection from one country to another. Yet L'Oréal must ensure security and protection so that each employee can work in total confidence wherever they are. The objective of the Share&Care Program is to ensure that L'Oréal's employees around the world, wherever they may be, no matter what country they are in, will have access to the best benefits in four areas: social protection, health care, parenthood and quality of life at work. I am convinced that with this particularly ambitious program, we are opening a new chapter in our social history."


Nathalie Nikitenko

Chief of European and International Affairs at the Ministry of Labour, France

"Avec le Programme phare du BIT, la France s'engage sur l'extension de la protection aux travailleurs de l'économie informelle, promeut le rôle du secteur privé dans le développement des socles de protection sociale, et appuie le développement d'approches sur protection sociale et changement climatique."


Nadine Poupart

French Development Agency

"At the French Development Agency, together with the ILO, we develop social protection programmes that facilitate the transition towards greener economies."


Jennifer Topping

United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (UN MPTF)

"The ILO is coordinating the Social Protection Floors Initiative. To enhance the delivery as One on social protection floors and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on social protection, we plan to establish a United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Social Protection."


Ulrich Stege

International University College of Torino

"The ILO and the European Network for Clinical Legal Education are supporting the development of legal clinics across European universities to facilitate access to social protection for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees."


H.E. Jean-Marc Hoscheit

Ambassador, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg

"Based on the experience of a past project that contributed to the development of the social health protection system in Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg and the ILO are now collaborating on the development of a health-care facility that will support many ASEAN countries in the development of their social health protection schemes in the coming years."


Francisco Javier Mejía

Vice Minister of Employment and Pensions of Colombia

"In Colombia, social protection plays a key role in the peace building process. The Government of Colombia sponsors the ILO to support the extension of social protection to rural communities."


José Luís Lemos Sousa Albuquerque

Director-General of the Office of Strategy and Planning (GEP), Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS), Portugal

"Portugal and the ILO have reinforced their cooperation through a new project: ACTION/Portugal – Strengthening of the Social Protection Systems of Portuguese-speaking African (PALOP) countries and Timor-Leste. The project is very important for the implementation of national social protection floors in these six Portuguese-speaking countries."

A Multi-stakeholder Partnership for the achievement of the sustainable development goal 1.3
Building Social Protection Floors together with Development Partners

Opportunities to get involved

You can get involved by helping the Flagship Programme to support countries, reduce vulnerabilities, build and share knowledge and develop partnerships.


Target groups



Social Protection digital map

Click on a country to understand the social protection situation, national social protection priorities and needs for technical support as well as ILO’s contribution through its Flagship Programme


Results & Impact

We have developed a tool to follow-up on the progress of the Global Flagship Programme’s implementation, and to monitor its results and impacts on people.

Our ambition is that in 2020

will have better access to social protection

previously partially covered people will enjoy higher levels of protection

previously excluded people will be covered


Fourth meeting of the Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors

- 23 October 2018 -

Third meeting of the Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors

- 24 October 2017 -

Third Annual Meeting of the Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network

- 27 November 2019 -

Second Webinar of the Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network

- 23 October 2018 -

Consultation on the Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network

- 24 October 2017 -


December 2016 | January 2017 | April 2017 | July 2017 | February 2018 | June 2018 |

Read also the Social Protection Outlook Newsletter

Our Partners

Costa Rica
The Netherlands
State of Qatar
South Africa
Department for International Development (UK)
European Union
King Baudouin Foundation
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Weave our Future (Auchan Foundation)