Social Protection

The Need for social protection

Unexpected life circumstances, the loss or reduction of productive capacity, and discrimination can hinder a person's or a family's well-being. Everyone needs protection from social risks and resulting insecurities.

Social protection benefits - or social transfers - are powerful tools to combat poverty and inequality, and to invest in social and economic development. As such, they are key to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets.

Social protection, through social protection policies that are aligned with economic and labor policies, is an economic, social and political necessity that has been recognized by several international declarations and agreements as a human right.

Through insurance and assistance programmes, social security helps prevent people from falling into poverty and/or escape the poverty trap. As such, they also avoid or lessen social tensions, violent conflicts and uncontrolled migration.

The 2009 global financial and economic crisis stressed the role of social security schemes as automatic social and economic stabilizers. Countries at all levels of development, which have social security systems in place, are in a much better position to cope with the social fall-out of the crisis.

In response to this crisis, the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) adopted the Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPF-I) as one of the nine joint crisis initiatives.♦


ILO Experts

Krzysztof Hagemejer