Social Protection Floors are nationally defined sets of at least four primary social security guarantees that ensure basic income security for all and access to universal essential healthcare.
Social Protection Floors (SPFs) are the first step toward the implementation of comprehensive social protection systems worldwide. By establishing nationally defined and context-specific Social Protection Floors, countries help realize the universal right to basic social security and essential social services while enabling and promoting future socio-economic development.
Helen Clark, Chair of the United Nations Development Group, and Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Office, called on UN colleagues working at country-level to advance the implementation of social protection floors by taking the following steps:
1. Building/strengthening One UN National SPF Teams
2. Supporting national dialogues on implementing context-appropriate SPFs
3. Helping countries identify existing social protection progammes, outlying needs, additional policy options, and possible monitoring and financing mechanisms
4. Promoting the SPF as an instrument in UN Development Assistance Frameworks.
5. Cooperating with national statistical offices to improve data on social protection.
Read their call for action.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Second South-South Cooperation Initiative mission to Cambodia, bringing experts from the National Health Security Office (NHSO) of Thailand to support the design of social protection policies and systems in Cambodia. The first South-South Cooperation project, in Cambodia, was launched on April 26, 2012, and will span two years. Four additioanl countries have initially been selected to participate and benefit from the technical expertise of other South countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Lao PDR and Togo. For more information, see South-South collaboration.
January 30, New York: Fourth Inter-agency Technical Meeting on the Social Protection Floor Initiative. This meeting served to devise strategies for closer collaboration between SPF-I coalition members and to establish a workplan for 2012.
All around the world, countries continue to develop and implement programmes that bring them closer to ensuring a Social Protection Floor for all. Some highlights of the latest progress are presented below.
Thailand expresses its commitment to implementing an SPF and begins work with UN agencies
Extending the scope and coverage of the social protection system (particularly to informal sector workers) is a key target of Thailand's 11th Five-Year Economic and Social Development Plan (2012-2016). Universal access to free basic health care and nine years of free, compulsory education – key elements of an SPF – are already in place but the government’s new National Economic and Social Development Plan envisages further extending access to services and providing an adequate level of social protection to all members of the population.
The SPF-Initiative has been a means for the government and the UN system in Thailand to work together in a coherent manner toward this unified goal. An effective partnership has been formed between UNICEF, UNFPA and the ILO on the UN side and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and the National Economic and Social Development Board on the government side. In August 2011, a government-led consultative workshop mapped out Thailand's social protection system (identifying and prioritizing gaps) and carried out an initial assessment of the cost of filling gaps in social protection coverage. This has helped identify the main social protection issues and strategies, and the support that the UN can provide to the Government of Thailand as it implements its SPF.
Opening remarks, Consultative Meeting on the SPF in Thailand Pre-assessment Matrix on the SPF in Thailand
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ILO Recommendation Concerning National Floors of Social Protection, adopted June 15, 2012
Asia-Pacific social protection issues brief, ILO, 2014