More than four billion people live without any welfare protection at present to cushion them from crisis, the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) said while highlighting how the Covid-19 crisis has pushed up government spending by some 30 percent.
Leading the call for countries to extend social safety nets far more widely than they do now, ILO Director General Guy Ryder insisted that such a move would help future-proof workers and businesses in the face of new challenges.
“This is a pivotal moment to harness the pandemic response to build a new generation of rights-based social protection systems,” said Ryder.
“These can cushion people from future crises and give workers and businesses the security to tackle the multiple transitions ahead with confidence and with hope. We must recognize that effective and comprehensive social protection is not just essential for social justice and decent work but for creating a sustainable and resilient future too.”
In a new report the UN body acknowledged that the Covid-19 crisis had led to greater social protections worldwide, albeit mainly in wealthy countries.
It noted that only 47 percent of the global population are covered by at least one social protection benefit, while only one in four children has access to national welfare safety nets.—TLTP