Informality and Income Insecurity: Is Basic Income a Universal Solution?

Organization(s): UNRISD
Year: 2016

Is a universal (or unconditional) basic income (UBI) an effective way for states to meet their social protection commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? Is it a utopian vision within reach of only the richest countries, or as several pilot schemes have shown, a realistic option for developed and developing countries alike to reduce poverty and increase social justice?

The Swiss popular vote on the introduction of a UBI gave UNRISD the opportunity to explore these issues with a panel of experts familiar with key experiences from countries in the Global North and the Global South. This UNRISD Seminar explored the benefits and disadvantages of a universal income.

Listen to the podcast


Paul Ladd, Director, UNRISD — Introduction: Is Basic Income a Universal Solution?

Päivi Kairamo, Finnish Ambassador to the UN (Geneva) and the World Trade Organization — UBI for Sustainable Development in the Finnish Context


Thomas Vollmer, Head of Section for Old-Age, Generations and Society; Federal Social Insurance Office (OFAS); Federal Department of Home Affairs, Switzerland — Welfare, Rights and Universal Basic Income: The Swiss Perspective


Guy Standing, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies and Co-President, Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) — Universal Basic Income: Protecting the Precariat


Patricia Schulz, Member, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women —
Challenging the Patriarchal Social Security System: A Gender Perspective on UBI


Didier Georges, Haitian Mission to the UN (Geneva) — Accessing Rights through UBI: The Haitian Experience


Ralph Kundig, President, Basic Income Earth Network (Switzerland) — The Swiss Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income





Social Protection and Human Rights