HANOI (ILO News) – The Executive Director of UN Women and Chair of the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, has called for a global social protection floor, as “the first line of defense” for families and economies against the impact of economic crises and an effective means of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The One UN initiative on a social protection floor is led by the ILO and WHO and aims to promote a set of basic social security rights and transfers, as well as essential services in the area of employment, health, water and sanitation, nutrition, education and family-support to protect and empower poor and vulnerable people to work out of poverty.
In an address to a high-level panel on social protection in Viet Nam, Ms. Bachelet said “prosperity to be sustained must be shared! And redistribution policies are prerequisite and not impediment to growth!” She explained that the social floor should be more than residual and temporary safety net programs, it should be considered as integral part of the development strategy to promote growth with resilience. “Special attention should be given to gender empowerment since in many countries women and girls are more likely to be under poor and vulnerable conditions that constraint their abilities to seize social, economic and political opportunities”, she added.
She emphasized the effectiveness of social protection as a crisis response tool that at same time protect families, empower workers to work out of the poverty and contribute to boost consumption, Beyond the crisis, as recognized by World Leaders in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit in New York on 23 September 2010, the social protection floor has been a key lever to accelerate the achievement of the development goals.
In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Viet Nam Nguyen Tan Dung, Ms. Bachelet conveyed that the social floor approach can be a powerful tool to implement the Vietnamese social protection strategy and called on UN agencies and donor community to work together on this.
During her visit Ms. Bachelet will travel to An Bình Village, in the rural area, to meet with female farmers who have benefited from the Tao Yeu May TYM, or people loving people fund. The fund, set up in 1992, has helped more than 55,000 women escape poverty and participate in managerial and social activities. ILO has helped strengthened the capacity of Fund via training courses, pilot testing and distribution of micro-finance products.