At its conference in June the ILO adopted the “Social Protection Floors Recommendation 2012” which means that 184 governments have agreed to:


a)  establish and maintain, as applicable, social protection floors as a fundamental element of their national social security systems; and

b)   implement social protection floors within strategies for the extension of social security that progressively ensure higher levels of social security to as many people as possible, guided by ILO social security standards.


For the purpose of this Recommendation, social protection floors are nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees which secure protection aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion.”


The main provisions of the floor are:


Text Box: 5. The social protection floors referred to in Paragraph 4 should comprise at least the following basic social security guarantees:
(a)	access to a nationally defined set of goods and services, constituting essential health care, including maternity care, that meets the criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality;
(b) basic income security for children, at least at a nationally defined minimum level, providing access to nutrition, education, care and any other necessary goods and services;
(c)	basic income security, at least at a nationally defined minimum level, for persons in active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, in particular in cases of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability; and
(d)	basic income security, at least at a nationally defined minimum level, for older persons.


Please find attached the full final text and two additional attachments; “The UN Social Protection Floor Initiative” by Michael Cichon & others and “Social Protection Made Simple” produced by the ITUC for Rio +20.


As we discussed at our meeting with Michael Cichon shortly before the ILO Conference the formal adoption of the recommendation provides an opportunity for civil society to become involved at the national level, developing the national SPF strategy and at international level maintaining momentum through advocacy in different international fora. Section III of the Recommendation is devoted to “National Strategies for the Extension of Social Security” and begins: 1) Members should formulate and implement national social security extension strategies, based on national consultations through effective social dialogue and social participation.


 The final section is devoted to Monitoring



First steps towards implementation


There has been considerable attention paid to the Recommendation since the ILO Conference in June.


The Rio +20 Outcome Document (June 2012)

Under section III The Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication  paragraph 77 reads:We stress the need to provide social protection to all members of society, including those who are not employed in the formal economy. In this regard, we strongly encourage national and local initiatives aimed at providing a social protection floor for all citizens”.


G20 Leaders Declaration, Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18-19


The leaders of the G20 recognized the importance of establishing nationally defined social protection floors in their final declaration. They stated that they will continue to foster inter-agency and international policy coherence, coordination, cooperation and knowledge sharing in order to assist low-income countries in capacity building for implementing social protection floors. They urged international organizations to identify policy options with low-income countries for the development of effective and sustainable protection floors.


UN: ECOSOC: July 2012


At the conclusion of its 2012 High-Level Segment, the United Nations Economic and Social Council adopted a Ministerial Declaration on the theme of “promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the Millennium Development Goals”. Article 10 states “ We stress the need to provide social protection to all members of society, fostering growth, resilience, social justice and cohesion, including those who are not employed in the formal economy. In this regard, we strongly encourage national and local initiatives aimed at providing social protection floors for all citizens. We support global dialogue on best practices for social protection programmes that takes into account the three dimensions of sustainable development and, in this regard, we note International Labour Organization recommendation 202 concerning national floors for social protection.

(E/2012/L.10E/2012/L.10, 412-40746)


The Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board; in response to the request from the G20 Development Working Group an interagency coordination mechanism, composed of representatives of international organizations and bilateral institutions, was established to enhance global coordination and advocacy on social protection issues and to coordinate international cooperation in country demand-driven actions. The first Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board meeting took place on 2 and 3 July 2012 in New York at the UN headquarters.



Possible activities of Inter-Agency Cooperation Board.




The EU is finalizing a Communication on Social Protection & it is to be hoped that after the consultation it will include reference to the SPF initiative.


In 2013 the Commission will launch an “Investing in People” Budget Line on the informal economy and social protection which offers a funding possibility for developing national social protection floors.




Before the ILO Conference 16 NGOs drafted a statement and launched a Global Coalition on the SPF in Geneva;  (see attachment). This group is discussing  objectives and coordination. The International Council of Welfare Organisations has already met to discuss how to become involved.


The EU Working Group work will focus advocacy at the European level on promoting the idea that the EU Development Programme, which defines areas of development cooperation which receive financial support at national level, must include national SPFs; this depends upon ensuring the SPF is included in country strategy papers and National development plans. To date the EU Working Group has also been advocating that the forthcoming EU Communication on social protection includes reference to the SPF.


There is an urgent need to coordinate efforts at both international and national level. Both the potential new coalition and Oxfam are talking of the need for a mapping exercise to see where platforms/networks exist at national level and what is already happening. There are three main areas for civil society action;


·         Mobilization and awareness raising; facilitation of public debate

·         Provision of technical expertise on such issues of older people &people with disabilities;

·         Monitoring of strategies once formulated.



The objectives which the Grow Up Free From Poverty Coalition has been pursuing for a number of years bear a close relation to the elements of the SPF; it would seem appropriate that the coalition lends its support to the implementation of national SPFs at both the national level where its members have partners, and at the international level. Having supported the Africa Platform for Social Protection since its creation it would also seem appropriate to support the Platform in promoting national SPFs in Africa.

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