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‘Social protection critical amid deep world of work changes’

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Landmark International Labour conference, which ended last week. Photo/twitter/ ilo

Experts on labour matters have said that sustainable social protection systems would become increasingly critical to provide support in a fast-changing world of work.
   
They stressed the importance not only of decent job creation policies, but also of social protection to help workers, and particularly the most vulnerable, manage those transitions.

Participants at a forum of the International Labour Conference (ILC), discussed how digitalisation, demographic shifts, climate change, and globalisation will affect the way people manage transitions during the course of their lives.

   
The forum themed, Securing Sustainable Transitions Over the Life Course, formed part of activities to mark the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organisation (ILO.) 
   
The two-week Conference, which concludes on June 21, has a strong focus on future of work challenges.
   
Director-General, ILO, Guy Ryder, pointed out that 55 per cent of the world’s population is still not covered by social protection. “The global commitment to social protection is a prerequisite to securing sustainable transitions over the life course,” he said.
   
The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, spoke of “social spending,” which she said includes social insurance and social assistance, as well as public spending on health and education.
   
“Social spending is not just an expense, but rather can be among the wisest of investments in the well-being of our societies. Expansion of access to education and health generates broader productivity across the population, allowing all citizens to flourish. To reap the rewards of a stronger global economy societies must begin by strengthening social programmes today

“I would argue that social spending is a core component of the social contract needed to fulfil the missions of our respective institutions,” she said.
     
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “by mitigating the negative impact of unemployment, creating access to further education, improving labour market opportunities, and securing access to at least the core contents of the right to health, food, water and sanitation, education, housing, social security systems, you can ensure that individuals in all of society are protected from the worst impact of upheavals.”
   
UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, Joannie Marlene Bewa, insisted that “we have to make sure we have inclusive policies that build on, not only the needs of the most vulnerable, but also hear the voices and needs of young people.”


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