A new report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) released Wednesday shows that despite significant progress, massive efforts are needed to ensure that the right to social security becomes a reality for all in many parts of the world.
The report named countries that have achieved universal pension coverage but cautions that benefit levels are often low and not sufficient to push older persons out of poverty in developing countries.
It says that the human right to social security is not yet a reality for a majority of the world’s population.
“The lack of social protection leaves people vulnerable to ill-health, poverty, inequality and social exclusion throughout their lifecycle,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder at a UN media briefing.
“Denying this human right to 4 billion people worldwide is a significant obstacle to economic and social development,” he said.
Only 45 percent of the global population is effectively covered by at least one social benefit, according to ILO’s paper, “World Social Protection Report 2017/19: Universal social protection to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The remaining 55 percent, or 4 billion people, are left unprotected.
The new research also shows that only 29 percent of the global population enjoys access to comprehensive social security — a small increase compared to 27 percent in 2014-2015.
The other 71 percent, or 5.2 billion people, are not, or only partially, protected.
The report recommends an increase of public expenditure on social protection to extend social protection coverage, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Arab States, to provide at least a basic social protection floor to all.
The countries that have achieved universal pension coverage include Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Botswana, Cabo Verde, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Zanzibar, Tanzania.
The report says, however, “The adequacy of pension benefits remains a challenge in many countries.” (Xinhua)