Social protection and decent jobs create prosperity, help build trust in institutions and make societies more resilient against shocks. Social protection possesses a remarkable multiplier effect that reverberates through societies and economies by ensuring income security throughout the lifecycle: childhood (birth and child and family grants), adulthood (maternity, sickness, unemployment cash benefits) and older age (old age pensions and access long-term care). Paired with universal access to health care, individuals and societies benefit from the cascade of positive outcomes that are amplified by inclusive and resilient social protection systems. Extending adequate access to these benefits requires long-term, affordable financing and needs to be supported by decent job opportunities, which are the goals of the UN Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, launched in 2021. The Global Accelerator aims to expand social protection to 4 billion people and create at least 400 million new, decent jobs by 2030. It is expected to contribute towards SDG targets 1.3, ‘Implement social protection systems’; target 8.5, ‘Full employment and decent work with equal pay’, and other related targets.
The UN Joint SDG Fund aligns with the implementation of the Global Accelerator by catalysing integrated employment and social protection policies, while promoting financing solutions to mobilise domestic and international resources for decent jobs and extending social protection.
In particular, the UN Joint SDG Fund aims to facilitate the creation of decent jobs in the green, care and digital economies and increase social protection coverage, while expanding the fiscal space for decent jobs and shockresponsive social protection systems.
I ask that you give generously – through the Joint SDG Fund or other mechanisms – to help transform the Global Accelerator from promise to reality.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
In Malawi, the UN supported the Government's development of cash transfer targeting tools, processes, and guidelines to respond to the urban poor impacted by COVID-19. Adaptations to the existing social protection system, including a multisectoral participatory consultative process for a government-led review of the National Social Support Policy, are expected to provide coverage to an additional 8 million people in the labour force. In addition, critical work has paved the way for the adoption of an old-age pensions scheme that is expected to support more than 600,000 people aged 65 and above.
In Uzbekistan, the integrated national financing strategy builds on the National Development Strategy to improve the quality and coverage of social protection. The Integrated National Financing Framework is fostering better coordination and integration on the use of public and private resources in social sectors considering the specific needs of women in healthcare and social protection, where the state fails to provide adequate services. A digitized single registry management information system has proven effective for administering social protection schemes to 1.6 million people.
In Viet Nam, the Resident Coordinator leveraged the comparative advantages of ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA to transform the national social protection system. By integrating social insurance and social assistance through a multi-tiered approach to align child, maternity and paternity benefits, pensions, and disability benefits, over 32 million people accessed emergency social protection benefits through rapid assistance for the global pandemic while new legislation guarantees 20 million children and one million people with disabilities access to reliable social protection benefits.
Supporting access to decent work for young people and led by the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute and the Ministry of Labour, the UN Country Team in Ecuador supported the design of an innovative scheme to promote job formalization and enrolment into the Social Security Institute. Targeted to young and independent workers, and through state-subsidized reduced social security contribution rates, flexible payment plans and health coverage for insured partners, social security became more accessible. A national register for young people working informally was set up to better identify and target sensitization campaigns and capacity-building workshops. Improvements were made to digital job search platforms and employment programs, as well as the creation of a best business practice certification for companies that hire young people. Programmes on training and vocational programs on soft, digital and entrepreneurship skills for the youth were incorporated as part of the permanent catalogue of a partner academic institution.
Ensuring adaptive and responsive social protection systems in emergencies, the UN in Cambodia supported the government design of cost-efficient delivery models of a Covid-19 Cash Transfer Programme, reaching three million poor persons and 108,000 households through a Lockdown Cash Transfer Programme. This quick cash delivery was enabled by an existing platform and identification/delivery mechanism developed for pregnant women, children and persons with disabilities. UN's capacity strengthening support to Government digitalisation of processes and systems resulting in online registrations, e-payments and more efficient monitoring and evaluation.
In Mexico, the UN backstopped legislative processes and constitutional reform promoting the recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care and agricultural work through the adoption of the National Care System Law, proposed to benefit 45 million people. This success built upon the simplification of the Social Security national enrolment framework, extending coverage to 2.3 million domestic workers with over 35,000 women agricultural workers benefitting from salary increases.
Learn more about other examples of what the UN is doing to support this transition:
The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.