Civil society and the social protection floor


  • The author is a member of the international Geneva team of the International Movement ATD Fourth World ( The views and opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of his organization. He would like thank Jürgen Buxbaum, Janet Nelson, Piet Terhal and Yvonne Theemann for their most useful comments.


Civil society wholeheartedly supports the concept of social protection floors and, in particular, the adoption of the ILO Recommendation concerning national floors of social protection, 2012 (No. 202). The implementation of social protection floors will be a great step forward towards the reduction of poverty and inequality as well as to the empowerment of people worldwide. The civil society movement is convinced that the rights-based approach is the most effective way to design and implement empowering and sustainable social protection floors. With regard to the human rights-based implementation of the social protection guarantees, it has four specific attention points: i) respect for the rights and dignity of people holding rights to social security; ii) full participation of civil society; iii) universal coverage at the local, national and international level; iv) and concern for vulnerable groups. Following the 101st International Labour Conference in 2012, 59 civil society organizations set up the “Coalition for a Social Protection Floor”, whose two main tasks are: to monitor and contribute to the universal implementation of social protection floors at local and national levels; and to promote the social protection floor concept in global policy-making, such as in the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.