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Ensuring global progress on social security coverage during crisis

Nov 23, 2010

World Social Security Report 2010/11 by ILO is a first in the series of World Social Security Reports. It serves as a tool to extend and monitor progress on the coverage of social security systems across nations.

World Social Security Report 2010/11: Providing coverage in times of crisis and beyond

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Social security is a human right as well as a social and economic necessity. All successful societies and economies have employed development strategies where social security systems played an important role to alleviate poverty and provide economic security that helps people to cope with life’s major risks or the need to quickly adapt to changing economic, political, demographic and societal circumstances.

The crisis has shown that social security systems are by design powerful economic and social stabilizers of economies and societies. They stabilize income of individuals who are affected by unemployment or underemployment and hence help to avoid hardship and social instability. They also stabilize aggregate domestic demand in times when external demand contracts due to reduced economic activity. We have also learned from past crises that countries that had effective and efficient social security systems in place before a crisis hit were much better equipped to cope with its fallout than those who had not had the foresight to put such systems into place.

There is little hope that the Millennium Development Goals will be reached without a decisive global move towards introducing a national social protection floor of basic social security benefits in countries where no such scheme exists or where they have only limited coverage. Sound social security policies have to be based on facts and figures.

This report provides that factual basis to support the development of national social security policies. It is the first in a series of World Social Security Reports which will also help to monitor the global progress on social security coverage and thus support the ILO’s campaign to extend coverage.

It deals first with the scope, extent, levels and quality of coverage by various social security branches; it then examines the scale of countries’ investments in social security, measured by the size and structure of social security expenditure and the sources of its financing; and finally presents the nature of social security responses to the crisis as a thematic focus. The main objective of the current report is to present the knowledge available on coverage by social security in different parts of the world, and to identify existing coverage gaps.

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