Social protection policies play a critical role in realizing the human right to social security for all, reducing poverty and inequality, and supporting inclusive growth – by boosting human capital and productivity, supporting domestic demand and facilitating structural transformation of national economies. This ILO flagship report: (i) provides a global overview of the organization of social protection systems, their coverage and benefits, as well as public expenditures on social security; (ii) following a life-cycle approach, presents social protection for children, for women and men of working age, and for older persons; (iii) analyses trends and recent policies, e.g. negative impacts of fiscal consolidation and adjustment measures; and (iv) calls for the expansion of social protection in pursuit of crisis recovery, inclusive development and social justice.
While the need for social protection is widely recognized, the fundamental human right to social security remains unfulfilled for the large majority of the world’s population. Only 27 per cent of the global population enjoy access to comprehensive social security systems, whereas 73 per cent are covered partially or not at all.
The lack of access to social protection constitutes a major obstacle to economic and social development. Inadequate or absent social protection coverage is associated with high and persistent levels of poverty and economic insecurity, growing levels of inequality, insufficient investments in human capital and human capabilities, and weak aggregate demand in a time of recession and slow growth.