Universal social protection (USP) is essential to the economic and social development of individuals, communities and nations. It is also a human right. We call on all countries to live up to their commitment to develop nationally owned social protection systems for all, including floors, as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.

The conference will be an opportunity to:

  • showcase USP stories from champions and pioneers in developing countries
  • encourage countries in the Global South to adopt the USP Call to Action
  • hear what countries need from development partners to join the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (USP2030)
  • Governments, multilateral actors and all relevant national, regional and international organisations are invited to exchange on good practices and lessons learnt in delivering social protection to all, and to identify innovative approaches.

    See the agenda and set calendar alerts, below:


    Tuesday, February 5, 2019

    09:00 – 10:00
    Opening session
    With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1.3), all UN Member States have committed to “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable”. Now is the time to move toward universal social protection goal. The opening session will set the ground for a high-level exchange on universal social protection, focusing on sharing evidence and good practices on universal social protection systems, and identifying challenges and solutions to achieve universality.

    • Ms Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    • Ms Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Development, European Commission (EC)
    • Ms Gabriela Ramos, Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    • Ms Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) (video message)
    • Mr Suárez Santos, Secretary-General, International Organisation of Employers (IOE)

    • Co-chairs:
    • Ms Deborah Greenfield, Deputy Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO)
    • Mr Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
      Watch recording
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    10:00 – 11:15
    Session 1. Making the case for universal social protection
    Universal social protection (USP) is a human right and key to sustained inclusive economic and social development. It prevents poverty and reduces inequality; it promotes social inclusion and strengthens social cohesion; it facilitates human development and enhances access to decent working and living conditions. USP also increases productivity and employability by enhancing human capital and allowing investment in productive assets, raising household incomes, consumption and savings, boosting aggregate demand, and enhancing people’s resilience in the face of shocks and structural transformations. This session will introduce the rationale for universal social protection from a human rights and an investment perspective and feature experiences of countries that have come a long way towards building universal social protection systems.

    • Ms Cecilia Mbaka, Head of National Social Protection Secretariat, State Department of Social Protection, Kenya
    • Ms Susan Shabangu, Minister of Social Development, South Africa
    • Mr Mohamed Trabelsi, Minister of Social Affairs, Tunisia
    • Mr Gombosuren Unurbayar, State Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mongolia

    • Moderator:
    • Mr Benjamin Davis, Strategic Programme Leader, Reducing Rural Poverty, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
      Watch recording
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    11:45 – 12:45
    Session 2. Building universal social protection systems
    Achieving the goal of USP requires a systems approach integrating policies and programs designed to provide support to all people in need across the life cycle. Only a system, in which different programs are coordinated and harmonized within and across sectors and policies, can provide comprehensive and universal coverage to all. A range of processes, governance and management structures as well as operational mechanisms are involved in the development and continuous adjustment of such systems. This session will focus on those aspects that appear critical for attaining universal social protection coverage, such as governance and legal framework, integrated information management or the harmonization of procedures and integrated service delivery.

    • Ms Erica Maganga, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Malawi
    • Ms. MaryAnne E.R. Darauay, Ceso III, Director IV, Social Development Staff, National Economic and Development Authority, Philippines
    • Ms Gabriela Agosto, Executive Director of the National Council for Coordination of Social Policies, Argentina (tbc)
    • Mr Mukunda Paudyal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal

    • Moderator:
    • Kerstin Nagels, Director of Employment, Economic and Social Development, GIZ
      Watch recording
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    14:15 - 15:45
    Session 3. Achieving universal social protection across the life-cycle
    The road to universal social protection can be difficult and in many countries, progress has not been without challenges. One common challenge is to ensure a strong and long-term willingness of governments and taxpayers to invest in the expansion of social protection. Another challenge, particularly in countries with a large informal economy, is to find the appropriate modalities to expand coverage in a way that recognises the diversity of informal economy workers and provides them with solutions that are fair, efficient and sustainable. This session will hear the experiences of countries that have made good progress in achieving universal coverage at different points in the life-cycle, including takeaways from recent experiences such as universal health coverage, rural employment benefits, coverage of informal workers and old-age pension.

    • Ms Mirta Denis, Executive Director of the Technical Unit of the Social Cabinet of the Presidency, Paraguay
    • Mr Zephania Kameeta, Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Namibia
    • Ms Aida Kasymalieva, Member of Kyrgyz Parliament, Committee on Social Affairs, Kyrgyz Republic
    • Mr Maliki, Director of Population Planning and Social Security, Ministry of Minister for Population and Labor (BAPPENAS), Indonesia
    • Ms Rachel Moussié, Deputy Director, Social Protection Programme, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), member of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF)

    • Moderators:
    • Mr Alexandre Kolev, Head of Social Cohesion Unit, OECD Development Centre
    • Ms Eeva-Maria Mikkonen-Jeanneret, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland
      Watch recording
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    16:15 - 17:15
    Session 4. Ensuring sustainable and equitable financing for universal social protection
    Despite great progress in several middle-income and low-income countries to extend social protection towards universal coverage, challenges persist. Large coverage gaps and inadequate benefits, combined with food insecurity, poor education, poor health and social and economic disparities and high informality cause serious difficulties for countries to raise enough domestic revenues to sustainably finance social protection. This session will explore various ways governments can ensure sustainable financing for universal social protection. It will also address the spending for social protection concerning the efficiency of the delivery system, the performance of public administration and the portability of entitlements for workers and their families across different types of employment. The session will moreover pay attention to the role of the international community in supporting lowincome countries and countries in crises to address critical financing gaps.

    • Ms Anta Sarr Diacko, General Delegate for Social Protection and National Solidarity (DGPSN), Senegal
    • Ms Nivine El Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, Egypt
    • Mr Plamen Dimitrov, President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB), Bulgaria
    • Mr Juergen Hohmann, Social Protection Expert, International Cooperation and Development, European Commission (EC)

    • Moderator:
    • Ms Evelyn Astor, Policy Officer, Economic and Social Policy, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
      Watch recording
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    17:15 - 18:15
    USP2030: the way forward
    The closing session will summarise the key insights from experiences of champions and pioneers in universal social protection, and provide an opportunity to present the outcome document of the Conference. It will encourage countries to join the USP2030 Global Partnership and commit to concrete actions towards achieving universal social protection. Next steps will be discussed, particularly with regard to partnerships to accelerate progress towards USP, including through technical and financial support and knowledge-sharing.

    • Ms Armanda Berta Dos Santos, Minister of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Timor Leste
    • Ms Marina Erhola, Deputy Director General, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland
    • Mr Pungky Sumadi, Deputy Minister for Population and Labor, Indonesia
    • Ms Helena Mendonça, Administrator, National Institute of Social Provisions (INPS), Cabo Verde
    • Ms Nicola Wiebe, Social Protection Advisor, Bread for the World, representing the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors (GCSPF)
    • Mr Florian Höllen, Senior Policy Officer & Member Interim Steering Committee USP2030, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany

    • Moderator:
    • Ms Isabel Ortiz, Director of the Social Protection Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)
    • Mr Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director, Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
      Watch recording
        English  |  French  |  Spanish
    February 5, 2019
    Switzerland (CET)
    The agenda of this event is available in:
    English | French | Spanish