Responsibility of the State

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States have the legal obligation to protect and promote human rights, including the right to social security, and ensure that people can realize their rights without discrimination. The overall responsibility of the State includes ensuring the due provision of benefits according to clear and transparent eligibility criteria and entitlements, and the proper administration of the institutions and services. Where benefits and services are not provided directly by public institutions, the effective enforcement of the legislative frameworks is particularly important for the provision of benefits and services.

 

Photo credit: “Rue de people” by Robert Cudmore (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).

Expert Commentaries

Incorporating a Rights-based Perspective into the Administrative Activities of Government Programmes

As the role of social protection in social development is increasingly emphasized, there is a need to ensure that social protection programmes are not only efficiently managed but express core values such as rights which have played a vital role in shaping social development practice over the years. However, given the pressures to deliver services […]

Securing a Dignified Old Age for All

Access to adequate social protection in old age remains a luxury [...]

The Role that Civil Society can Play in Ensuring Accountability in Social Protection Programmes

Civil society and accountability in social protection programmes The experience of the last 20 years suggests there are four obstacles to ensuring accountability in social protection programmes. The first obstacle has to do with social protection’s contested status: is it a right or only a service or a favour? Despite international legislation about social protection […]

Principles

Adequacy of Benefits

From a rights-based perspective, the level of benefits provided must be adequate. According to the CESCR’s General Comment 19 (para 22), “Benefits, whether in cash or in kind, must be adequate in amount and duration in order that everyone may realize his or her rights to family protection and assistance, an adequate standard of living […]

Standards of Accessibility, Adaptability and Acceptability

The principle of equality and non-discrimination requires States to ensure that social protection programmes meet the standards of accessibility, adaptability, acceptability and adequacy for all rights holders. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has recommended these standards through several General Comments including 13, 14 and 19. Accessibility means making the social protection […]

Legal Instruments

Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)

A reference for the development of social security systems, Convention No. 102 is the flagship of the up-to-date social security Conventions since it is deemed to embody the internationally accepted definition of the very principle of social security.  Convention No. 102 is unique for both its conceptual formulation of social security, and the guidance it provides for […]

Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)

Recommendation No. 202 is the first international instrument to offer guidance to countries to close social security gaps and progressively achieve universal protection through the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive social security systems. To this aim, the Recommendation calls for (1) the implementation, as a priority, of social protection floors (SPF) as a fundamental element […]

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

Article 9 recognizes the right of everyone to social security. Article 10(2) recognizes the right of working mothers “to adequate social security benefits”. Article 10(3) requires States parties to undertake special measures of protection and assistance for children and young persons.   Link to instrument

Legal Cases

Austerity measures that contravene Conventions by reducing social protection and increasing poverty

In its general report of 2009, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) observed that the global financial crisis was posing a real threat to the financial viability and sustainable development of social security systems and undermining the application of ILO social security standards. The CEACR reminded governments that, under […]

Resources

The Reversal of Pension Privatization in Venezuela (ESS Working Paper No. 71)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Venezuela. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, governance and social security administration, social dialogue, positive impacts and other key issues […]

Repeal of the Privatization of the Pension System in Nicaragua (ESS Working Paper No. 70)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Nicaragua. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, governance and social security administration, social dialogue, positive impacts and other key issues […]

The Reversal of Pension Privatization in Ecuador (ESS Working Paper No. 69)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Ecuador. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, coverage, benefit adequacy, financing and contribution rates, governance and social security administration, social […]

Reversing Pension Privatization: The Case of Polish Pension Reform and Re-Reforms (ESS Working Paper No. 68)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Poland. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, coverage, benefit adequacy, financing and contribution rates, governance and social security administration, social […]

Reversing Pension Privatization in Kazakhstan (ESS Working Paper No. 67)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Kazakhstan. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, coverage, benefit adequacy, financing and contribution rates, governance and social security administration, social […]

Reversing Privatization and Re-Nationalizing Pensions in Hungary (ESS Working Paper No. 66)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Hungary. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, coverage, benefit adequacy, financing and contribution rates, governance and social security administration, social […]

Reversing Pension Privatization in Bolivia (ESS Working Paper No. 65)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Bolivia. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, coverage, benefit adequacy, financing and contribution rates, governance and social security administration, social […]

Pension Privatization and Reversal of Pension Reforms in Argentina (ESS Working Paper No. 64)

This paper documents the reversal of pension privatization and the reforms that took place in the 1990s and 2000s in Argentina. The report analyses the political economy of different reform proposals, and the characteristics of the new pension system, including laws enacted, coverage, benefit adequacy, financing and contribution rates, governance and social security administration, social […]

Reversing Pension Privatization: Rebuilding public pension systems in Eastern European and Latin American countries 2000-18 (ESS Working Paper No. 63)

From 1981 to 2014, thirty countries privatized fully or partially their public mandatory pensions; as of 2018, eighteen countries have reversed the privatization. This report: (i) analyses the failure of mandatory private pensions to improve old-age income security and their underperformance in terms of coverage, benefits, administrative costs, transition costs, social and fiscal impacts, and […]

Reversing Pension Privatizations: Rebuilding public pension systems in Eastern Europe and Latin America

From 1981 to 2014, thirty countries privatized fully or partially their public mandatory pensions. Fourteen countries were in Latin America (by chronological order, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Panama), another fourteen countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (Hungary, Kazakhstan, Croatia, […]

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