Social Protection Department

The Social Protection Department provides ILO member States with tools and assistance to achieve and maintain the human right to social protection. Since its creation in 1919, the ILO has actively promoted policies and provided assistance to countries to supply adequate levels of social protection to all members of society guided by international social security standards adopted by its tripartite constituents, in particular its flagship Convention concerning Minimum standards of social security, 1952 (No. 102) and the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)


  1. Regional report

    Extending social health protection: Accelerating progress towards Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific

    07 November 2021

    This report documents and analyses country experiences and lessons on the extension of social health protection coverage in the Asia and the Pacific region. It provides a detailed account of progress made, challenges encountered and remaining coverage gaps, and explores their root causes.

  2. Guide for Policymakers and Practitioners

    Extending Social Protection to Migrant Workers, Refugees, and their Families

    8 November 2021

    Social security is a basic human right. Yet, 4.1 billion people worldwide have no access to social protection including healthcare. This new ILO global Guide provides an overview of policy options and country practices to extend social protection to migrant workers, refugees and their families.

  3. Flagship Programme

    ILO’s Global Flagship Programme on Building Social Protection Floors for All launches its second phase, extending support to 50 focus countries and aiming to improve the lives of 60 million people

    07 October 2021

  4. UN General Assembly

    UN Secretary-General calls for accelerated action on jobs and social protection

    Press release | 28 September 2021

    Deeply diverging recoveries threaten to undermine trust and solidarity and make the world more vulnerable to future crises, including climate change. In response the UN and ILO have established a ‘Global Accelerator’ to help ensure global financing to create 400 million jobs and extend social protection to 4 billion people currently without coverage.

  5. World Social Protection Report 2020-22

    More than 4 billion people still lack any social protection, ILO report finds

    News | 01 September 2021

    GENEVA (ILO News) – Despite the unprecedented worldwide expansion of social protection during the COVID-19 crisis, more than 4 billion people around the world remain entirely unprotected, a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report says.

  6. 109th International Labour Conference

    COVID-19 and social protection among key debates as June session of virtual International Labour Conference ends

    Press release | 19 June 2021

    A discussion on Social Protection focused on the impact of COVID-19 and on the rapid changes occurring in the world of work. Delegates adopted conclusions that outlined a framework for urgent action towards universal, adequate, comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems that are adapted to developments in the world of work.

  7. Building the future of social protection for a human-centred world of work

    16 April 2021

    ILC 2021. A recurrent discussion on the strategic objective of social protection (social security), under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, 2008

  8. Building social protection systems: International standards and human rights instruments

    19 May 2019

    A selection of the most relevant international instruments that establish the human right to social security and provide guidance for comprehensive social security systems at national level.

  9. Tripartite Round Table on Pension Trends and Reforms (30 November-2 December 2020 and 4 December)

  10. ILO joins partnership to promote global health

    The ILO has joined the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (SDG3 GAP), becoming the 13th signatory agency to the partnership.

  11. Social protection floors for a just transition to the green and digital economy

    10 February 2021 -  Online - 8:30 - 9:45 am EST

    Side event during the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development. Organized by the Government of Switzerland, in collaboration with the ILO and partners of Universal Social Protection 2030.

  12. New ILO - Belgium Programme: Supporting Burkina Faso and Senegal to promote social protection

    The Government of Belgium and the ILO will support the strengthening and extension of national social protection systems in Burkina Faso and Senegal to increase coverage of informal economy workers and their families, facilitate their access to health care and enable them to face the challenges of tomorrow.

  13. Press release | Geneva | 11 December 2020

    Fourth meeting of the Social Protection, Freedom and Justice for Workers Network: COVID-19 crisis, a wake-up call on social protection for workers 

    Workers’ Organizations exchange experiences and discuss trade union advocacy strategies for strengthening social protection systems.

  14. Joint press release | 01 December 2020

    Improving synergies between social protection and public finance management

    The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, the ILO and UNICEF join forces to expand social protection for all through sustainable financing

  15. Infopoint virtual conference | 01 December 2020

    Improving synergies between social protection and public finance management

    A conference will mark the launch of a new thematic flagship programme, implemented by the European Union, in partnership with the ILO, UNICEF and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors.

  16. Joint Op-Ed | 26 October 2020

    Universal social protection floors are our joint responsibility

    Building back better from the pandemic so that we have greater resilience against future crises’ requires international solidarity and better social protection for all, that covers the poorest and most marginalized as well as those who currently have resources to pay.

  17. News | 17 September 2020

    Developing countries should invest US$1.2 trillion to guarantee basic social protection

    Closing the coverage gap, worsened by COVID-19, will require additional sources of financing says a new ILO study.

  18. Press release | 08 September 2020

    ILO/Germany programme to protect garment workers affected by COVID-19

    The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is giving €14.5 million to an International Labour Organization (ILO) multi-donor programme to help garment sector workers in seven countries who have been affected by COVID-19.

  19. Video message | 15 July 2020

    Social protection a vital part of the pandemic response

    ILO Director-General Guy Ryder delivers a message to the UNDP High Level Political Forum event on COVID-19 and social protection. Social protection is a vital part of the pandemic response. Yet the majority of people around the world don't have access. Building back better means achieving social protection for all.

  20. Comment | 16 July 2020

    Building back better: Equality at the centre

    Putting equality and environmental sustainability at the centre of the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  21. Press release  | 14 May 2020

    Plug social protection gaps in developing countries to prevent future crises, ILO says

    Strengthened and comprehensive social protection systems will lessen the impact of crises such as COVID-19.

  22. Press release | 24 April 2020

    The COVID-19 crisis: A wake-up call to strengthen social protection systems

    Countries with effective health and social protection systems are better prepared to respond to the pandemic.

  23. © © Chassenet / BSIP via AFP/OIT

    News | 26 March 2020

    COVID-19: Social protection systems failing vulnerable groups

    Governments must use the momentum created by the COVID-19 pandemic to make rapid progress toward collectively financed, comprehensive, and permanent social-protection systems.

  24. News | 04 December 2019

    Making social protection fit for the future

    At an Infopoint organized by the European Commission, Valérie Schmitt, Deputy Director of ILO’s Social Protection Department, welcomed the new EU-funded flagship programme which aims to increase social protection coverage in eight priority countries. Read more >

  25. News | 25 November 2019

    More than 500 billion dollars a year needed to ensure basic levels of social protection worldwide

    A new ILO report highlights critical financing gaps in social protection and provides policy recommendations on how these gaps could be closed. Read more >

  26. ILO Centenary Event | 25-28 November 2019

    Global Social Protection Week: Achieving SDG 1.3 and Universal Social Protection in the context of the Future of Work

    This event will chart the way towards achieving universal social protection for all. It will provide a roadmap for the future of social protection within the framework of the recently adopted ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work .

  27. News | 04 November 2019

    Belgian stakeholders reflect on Universal Social Protection by 2030

    Veronika Wodsak from the ILO’s Social Protection Department adressed a conference on Universal Social Protection by 2030 (USP 2030), organized by the Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, the Belgian Ministry of Social Affairs, Belgian social partners and World Solidarity. Read more >

  28. Conference paper. Report III (Part B) - General Survey concerning the Social Protection Floors
    Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)

    Universal social protection for human dignity, social justice and sustainable development

    04 March 2019

  29. Social Protection for Children

    International Conference on Universal Child Grants

    06 - 08 February 2019

    This conference, convened by UNICEF, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), brings together national governments and policy practitioners, researchers and the international community to explore the arguments and the evidence emerging from the implementation of alternative cash transfer schemes and their implications for Universal Child Grants.

  30. Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection (USP2030)

    Countries urged to act on universal social protection

    06 February 2019

    To end poverty, ensure social protection for all and make good on international commitments made in 2015, countries around the world have been urged at a ministerial-level conference at the International Labour Organization to take five actions towards universal social protection.

  31. Flagship Programme on Social Protection

    Expand social protection to the 4 billion excluded

    25 October 2018

    Two UN agency heads have signed a call for action for countries to expand social security and assistance to more than four billion people currently without protection.

  • Universal social protection is a human right and a State responsibility. As countries begin this pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, there is increased recognition that social protection is fundamental in reducing poverty and inequality, in improving human capital and productivity and in supporting growth and jobs. Social protection responds to many of the challenges that we face today.

    Guy Ryder,
    Director General of the
    International Labour Organization