Social protection floor for a fair and inclusive globalization

It is hard to understate the social challenges the world faces. In 2010, global GDP was ten times larger than in 1950 in real terms – an increase of 260 per cent per capita. Yet despite the six decades of strong economic growth that followed the adoption of the universal Declaration of Human Rights, access to adequate social protection benefits and services remains a privilege, afforded to relatively few people. Current statistics speak eloquently of widespread poverty and deprivation. About 5.1 billion people, 75 per cent of the world population, are not covered by adequate social security (ILO) and 1.4 billion people live on less than uS$1.25 a day (World Bank). Thirty-eight per cent of the global population, 2.6 billion people, do not have access to adequate sanitation and 884 million people lack access to adequate sources of drinking water (un-HABItAt); 925 million suffer from chronic hunger (fAO); nearly 9 million children under the age of five die every year from largely preventable diseases (unICef/WHO); 150 million people suffer financial catastrophe annually and 100 million people are pushed below the poverty line when compelled to pay for health care (WHO). While globalization has been a source of opportunities for those able to seize them, as the evidence above shows it has left many unprotected against new global challenges and transformations that are having deep repercussions at national and local levels. The persistence of such large numbers of excluded persons represents tremendous squandered human and economic potential. This is particularly important in a context of accelerated demographic ageing in countries with low coverage of pension and health systems.