Universal Social Protection Requires More Financing, Urges ILO

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In a recent announcement, the International Labour Organization (ILO) underscored the critical need for increased financing to achieve universal social protection across low- and middle-income countries. According to the ILO, a staggering $1.4 trillion is required to bridge the gap and extend comprehensive social protection systems.

Highlighting the significant financing deficit, particularly acute in low-income nations. Cattaneo emphasized, “When we look at all low- and middle-income countries, we have a financing gap of 3.3 percent of GDP. But when we go to low-income countries, this goes up to 52.3 percent of their GDP.”

Regionally, Africa emerges as the epicenter of the challenge, facing a daunting financing gap equivalent to 17.6 percent of the region’s GDP annually. Following closely are the low- and middle-income countries in the Arab states, grappling with a 11.4 percent gap, and Latin America and the Caribbean, with a shortfall of 2.7 percent.

To tackle this disparity, Cattaneo outlined a multifaceted approach, stressing the imperative of domestic resource mobilization. He advocated for progressive taxation and bolstering social security contributions. Additionally, Cattaneo called for a tripling of development assistance directed towards low-income countries, with a specific focus on social protection.

Universal social protection stands as a pivotal target within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in combating poverty. Despite progress, stark statistics from the ILO reveal that 4.1 billion people worldwide still lack adequate social protection. Presently, only 29% of the global population enjoys sufficient social security coverage, leaving a staggering 55% devoid of any coverage.

As nations strive towards achieving comprehensive social protection, the call for increased financing resonates as a crucial step in ensuring the well-being and dignity of billions around the world.

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