World day of Social Justice 2014

Social protection is a human right, says ILO head

February 20 is World Day of Social Justice. Marking the occasion, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder called for a recovery for all that promotes inclusive growth, employment and social protection.

Audio | 20 February 2014
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder marked World Day of Social justice with a call for policy makers to take coordinated action for an economic and social recovery for all.

“Today, an entire generation of young people faces the prospect of a more uncertain, less prosperous future than did their parents. Many are already in desperate situations hardly able to fall any further. This is a reality no policy maker can afford to ignore.”

He warned that even before the global financial crisis, half the world’s population lived below the poverty line. Now, the weak economic recovery and a faltering policy response have left millions more behind, without jobs and with less affordable food and services.

“As a result, we are faced with a deep social crisis, a crisis too of social justice. Disturbing – and rising levels of inequality – in advanced and developing economies are widely acknowledged as cause for great concern. Today the wealth of the top one per cent of the global population equals that of the poorest 3.5 billion people. “

Ryder stressed that social protection measures are key elements of the policy response, pointing out that countries with strong social security systems have reduced their poverty rates by more than half and have significantly reduced inequality.

Social protection is both a human right and sound economic policy. Social security enables access to health care, education and nutrition.  Well-designed social protection systems support incomes and domestic consumption, build human capital, and increase productivity.  Yet over 76 per cent of the world’s population continues to live without adequate health and social protection coverage. “

Ryder urged policy-makers to prioritize macroeconomic and fiscal policy decisions that promote inclusive growth with decent employment and social protection. This is the strong and sustainable foundation of social justice.

Adam Bowers at the ILO