Social Security and the Rule of Law: General Survey concerning social security instruments in the light of the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization
In March 2009, at its 304th Session, the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization decided that the recurrent item on the agenda of the 100th Session (2011) of the International Labour Conference should address the ILO strategic objective of enhancing the coverage and effectiveness of social protection, and within this objective focus on social security. In an effort to align the General Survey of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) with the recurrent item report, the Governing Body decided that the General Survey will cover the first and the last on the list of the up-to-date social security Conventions – the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), and the Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention, 1988 (No. 168). Separated in time by 36 years, these Conventions conceptually encompass the period during which the main edifice of international social security law has been constructed. The idea of social security itself and the master plan for its subsequent development into legally binding standards were laid down in 1944 by the Income Security Recommendation, 1944 (No. 67), and the Medical Care Recommendation, 1944 (No. 69), which were therefore also included in the Survey. Together, these four instruments provide perhaps the most comprehensive reflection of the economic thinking, legal doctrine and technical solutions, as basic minimum standards, that have been driving the development of social security in the past century. The Committee of Experts has been carefully attentive to this heritage, while also recognizing that in the twenty-first century ILO standards must face the new realities of globalization and a growing informal economy that have been reshaping the classic social security architecture. Surveying the legacy of the social security standards adopted in the 1950s and 1960s, the Committee observes that there is now a clear need for the adoption of new complementary approaches to help guide the future policy choices of ILO constituents. The Committee sees these possible new approaches as promoting continuity, coherence and sustainability, and as further developing social security based on the unwavering principles of social justice, fairness and solidarity.