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The members of the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (USP2030) call on all countries to live up to their commitment to develop nationally-owned social protection systems for all, including floors, as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Universal social protection is key to sustained inclusive economic and social development, for individuals, communities and nations. It is also a human right.

Universal social protection reduces poverty and inequality; it promotes social cohesion; it facilitates human development and access to decent working and living conditions. Social protection also increases productivity and employability by enhancing human capital and allowing investment in productive assets, raising household incomes, consumption and savings, boosting aggregate demand, and enhancing people’s resilience in the face of shocks and structural transformations.

Universal social protection is achieved through a nationally defined system of policies and programmes that provide equitable access to all people and protect them throughout their lives against poverty and risks to their livelihoods and well-being. This protection can be provided through a range of mechanisms, including in cash or in-kind benefits, contributory or non-contributory schemes, and programmes to enhance human capital, productive assets, and access to jobs.

To date, countries in many parts of the world have made significant progress in the extension of social protection. Yet 55 per cent of the global population is still excluded from social protection. Urgent efforts are needed to ensure that the human right to social protection becomes a reality for all, and to achieve the goals set by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

We urge countries and international partners to support the global commitment to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors (SDG 1.3) by 2030, through the following actions, centred around the core principles of universal social protection:

ACTION 1. Protection throughout life cycle: Establish universal social protection systems, including floors, that provide adequate protection throughout the life cycle, combining social insurance, social assistance and other means, anchored in national strategies and legislation;

ACTION 2. Universal coverage: Provide universal access to social protection and ensure that social protection systems are rights-based, gender-sensitive and inclusive, leaving no one behind;

ACTION 3. National ownership: Develop social protection strategies and policies based on national priorities and circumstances in close cooperation with all relevant actors;

ACTION 4. Sustainable and equitable financing: Ensure the sustainability and fairness of social protection systems by prioritizing reliable and equitable forms of domestic financing, complemented by international cooperation and support where necessary;

ACTION 5. Participation and social dialogue: Strengthen governance of social protection systems through institutional leadership, multi-sector coordination and the participation of social partners and other relevant and representative organisations, to generate broad-based support and promote the effectiveness of services.


This Call to Action was signed:

  • by the Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, as well as 100 top government officials, business representatives, trade unionists and development agencies, at the annual meeting of the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership for Sustainable Development Goal 1.3 on social protection on 24 October 2018, Geneva.
  • by the 150 participants to the High Level Conference “Together to Achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030”, 5 February 2019, Geneva.
  • by the 45 participants to the 57th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD57) Side Event: 100 Years of Social Protection with ILO: The Road to Universal Social Protection Systems and Floors, on 12 February 2019, New York.

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This Call to Action has been initiated by the Members of the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The Global Partnership for USP2030 was launched at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2016. The USP2030 Partnership joins forces of all actors who want to turn the right to Universal Social Protection into reality. How to join USP2030 Global Partnership.

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