Former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet presents report on Social Protection Floor to President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, received on 15 December from the Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, the Portuguese version of the report "Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization". The report calls for the implementation of a social protection floor in order to stimulate economic growth and increase social cohesion in light of the economic crisis.

News | 19 December 2011

BRASILIA (ILO News) - The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, received on 15 December from the Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, the Portuguese version of the report "Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization". The report calls for the implementation of a social protection floor in order to stimulate economic growth and increase social cohesion in light of the economic crisis.

"Today, we are undergoing very difficult time in the international arena. The economic situation in developed countries is very dramatic and, to a certain point, detrimental to their populations. We are concerned that the process of adjustment does not represent a reduction or loss of rights and guarantees", said President Rousseff, citing the high unemployment rates recorded by these countries, particularly among young people.

"Today, we are seeing unemployment levels that lead to dramatic loss of quality of life; governments need to break the growing dissonance between the voice of the streets and the voice of the markets," President Dilma said during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, seat of the Brazilian government. “We know from experience, developed since 2003 in Brazil, that investing in social protection is an extremely effective way to fight poverty, to reduce inequalities, to improve living standards, and to foster social cohesion and stability".

The concept of a social protection floor adopted by the United Nations and the G20 represents an integrated and coordinated policy of income transfer combined with access to basic essential health services, education, sanitation, nutrition, employment, housing among others. The ILO, in cooperation with other UN agencies, is working with the goal of eradicating extreme poverty worldwide through programs that combine transfers of resources, access to basic services and productive inclusion in the form of social floors - the program Brazil without Poverty constitutes an example of such a policy.

Mrs. Bachelet, the former President of Chile also heads the Advisory Group on Social Protection Floor, which prepared the report, published by the ILO. "During the preparation of this report, we had the opportunity to demonstrate how social protection policies have avoided the worst of the economic crisis, especially among the most vulnerable, supported demand and boosted economic recovery in Brazil and several other emerging countries," said Mrs. Bachelet said.

The report notes that of the 7 billion people worldwide, 5.1 billion lack access to adequate social protection, while only just above 15 percent of the unemployed worldwide receive some form of unemployment benefits.

During the ceremony, Executive Director of the ILO, María Angélica Ducci, and the Minister of Social Development of Brazil, Tereza Campelo, signed a protocol of intent to cooperate in the areas of social protection, poverty eradication and productive inclusion for decent work.

In her speech at the Presidential Palace, Mrs. Bachelet highlighted some points of the report:

  • 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty on less than $ 1.25 per day.
  • 925 million people suffer from chronic hunger.
  • 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water, while 2.6 billion lack access to sanitation.
  • 796 million adults are illiterate.
  • About 75 percent of the world's population still has no adequate social security coverage.

Social protection - and, in particular, the concept of social protection floor - is increasingly regarded as a fundamental tool for development in various international fora, as happened recently at the G20 Summit in Cannes and on the Millennium Development Goals, held in New York in September.

The UN has designated the social protection floor as one of its nine initiatives in response to the crisis. Led by the ILO and the World Health Organization, it aims to promote a set of basic rights and social transfers, as well as essential services in the areas of employment, health, water and sanitation, nutrition, education and family support, to protect and empower the poorest and most vulnerable so they can escape poverty.

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