If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the oft-noted obstacles to putting robust social protection systems in place – a lack of finances, administrative constraints, etc. – can be overcome with enough political will.
Many countries, including in Asia, took extraordinary measures to finance and strengthen their welfare systems in response to the pandemic. While most of these programs were disappointedly short-lived (with an average duration of just 4.5 months), the pandemic proved that when social protection is deemed a priority, seemingly intractable barriers can and will be broken down.
The same is true for the Global Fund for Social Protection: the idea of a dedicated transformative fund that would see the global community cooperatively supporting the financing of minimum levels of social protection in those countries that lack the resources to do so themselves.
While the idea of the Fund been largely welcomed, a sizeable cohort has predictably deemed it unrealistic and unimplementable given its perceived “costs.”
Now, new research published by the UN University – MERIT has laid out, for the first time, how financing universal social protection for all would actually be possible at a relatively low cost, with hugely positive impacts on reducing poverty and inequality.