Belgian stakeholders reflect on Universal Social Protection by 2030

News | 04 November 2019
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.

She reminded participants that social security is a human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security.

Social protection is fundamental to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG Target 1.3, which aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability, reflects the commitment of the UN Member States to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems for all, including floors. Universal social protection ensures that anyone who needs social protection can access it at any time. This includes child benefits, pensions for older persons and benefits for people of working age in case of maternity, disability, work injury or for those without jobs.

The Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation presented a report which sets out ideas to establish and strengthen social protection in developing countries. The report is expected to be adopted by the Minister of Development Cooperation.

“Allthough social security is a human right, only 45 per cent of the world population is covered by a at least one social protection benefit,” Ms Wodsak said. Four billion people are still unprotected, according to the ILO World Social Protection Report 2017-19. In many countries, there is a considerable gender protection gap, for instance regarding pensions.

In order to achieve universal coverage by 2030, countries need to ensure progressively higher levels of protection, guided by Convention 102 on Social Security (Minimum Standards), and guarantee access to essential healthcare and minimum income security for all.

Finally, she invited participants to join the Global Partnership for USP2030, which the ILO co-chairs. The Partnership supports the implementation of SDG target 1.3. It brings together key actors to share expertise around universal social protection, country experiences and shape the global social protection agenda.