Everyone possesses the innate ability to contribute to the betterment of society. Education is the vehicle through which each individual can identify and hone those abilities and live a purposeful fruitful life that contributes to their own and their community’s wellbeing and prosperity. Not everyone however has access to education. This not only limits their opportunities but the collective growth of society at large.

How can and should social protection mechanisms be financed? and by whom? Can the State afford to allocate funds to social protection programs? can it afford not to?

A person’s health impacts their ability to attend school and gain an education, and to work and earn money needed to secure food and shelter. As such, health is a cornerstone of individual and societal development and must be safeguarded and afforded equitably to all.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights affirms that every person has a right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, and that governments must take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.

Humanitarian interventions would best meet their intended purpose if they were well integrated and meant to complement universal social protection schemes, especially during cases of emergency. They are equally important to cover the populations who remain excluded from these schemes despite all efforts and the most vulnerable in turbulent times. There has been increasing attention among the international community to link humanitarian assistance to social protection, making sure that the humanitarian model does not harm progress towards state-led universal social protection and that development funds are not wasted on reactive, non-sustainable interventions.

The poor and those lacking in autonomy, opportunity and protection are typically considered vulnerable. Among those classified as such are informal workers, migrants, refugees, the elderly, people with disabilities and children. Various circumstances - such as conflicts and pandemics - can create new vulnerabilities, as can targeted assistance or protection.

A person’s job can be a source of joy and fulfilment. It is first and foremost however a source of material funds with which they, and often their family, purchase food, shelter and other basic needs. While some people earn enough to afford luxuries or time off work, many don’t. When opportunities for paid work are scarce or cannot be taken due to ill health, workers and their families lose income. For some, this can mean the difference between development and regression, life and death.

According to ILO statistics, today, 4 billion people worldwide lack social protection. Only 29% of the world’s population has adequate social security coverage and 55% lacks any coverage at all. Lack of universal protection against risk and volatility entrenches inequalities during and long after times of hardship and crisis weaken the weak.