In the face of a global catastrophe, it's not very difficult to see the urgency for social protection floors. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic, people knew: social protection rights are human rights that should not be yielded to market forces. As early as 2012, the member states of the International Labour Organization (ILO) committed themselves to establishing, maintaining and implementing universal and rights-based basic social protection systems (Social Protection Floors). This is intended to ensure essential health care and basic income security worldwide for children, people of working age who are unable to earn a sufficient income and the elderly. The Social Protection Floor Index (SPFI), which in 2020 will be published as an interactive infographic for the first time, measures the extent to which the respective governments fulfil this promise.
The instrument was developed by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF) and measures which state investment is necessary to guarantee a minimum standard of social protection. It shows that most countries in the world would have to spend less than 5% of their gross domestic product to maintain universal basic social protection systems. At the same time, the index helps to identify countries that are dependent on the support of the international community.
The current version of the Social Protection Floor Index and the interactive map are based on the September 2019 global poverty update from the World Bank. The recently released March 2020 global poverty update presents new poverty estimates for 2018 and revises the previously published estimates for earlier years (this document outlines all changes that were made). The Social Protection Floor Index and the map will be updated as soon as possible.
One of the main emphases of our work is the promotion of Social Protection Floors (SPFs), that is the establishment and expansion of basic social protection systems. These systems guarantee a safe, basic income to people who, for reasons such as disease or old age, cannot earn their own livelihood anymore. SPFs ensure the right of each person to social and material security and enable a life in dignity. In addition, they act as stabilizers during times of crisis and so contribute to a country's economic development. In both the International Labour Organizations's (ILO) Recommendation 202 and the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainability Goals, the international community agreed on creating SPFs for their citizens. So that words can become actions, we work with civil society organizations, unions and political decision-makers to develop implementation strategies that are geared towards respective national contexts.
We support the various actors' efforts of establishing Social Protection Floors in their countries. In addition to this, we monitor international debates and processes with the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors. Lastly, we advocate for the acknowledgment of social protection as an important element of sustainable development in UN hearings.