Social security is a basic human right enshrined in many international legal documents like the 1944 ILO Declaration of Philadelphia or the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The term Social protection is often inaccurately treated as being synonymous with ‘social security’ and
‘welfare’. Social protection is the broadest, signifying the full range of protective transfers, services, and institutional safeguards supposed to protect the population ‘at risk’ of being ‘in need’ (Standing, 2007).
The ILO’s World Social Security Report (WSSR) launched in November 2010 estimates that only about 20 percent of the world’s working age population (and their families) has effective access to comprehensive social protection. (http://www.social‐protection.org). Therefore, ensuring a basic level of social protection and a decent life for all citizens should be a mandate for all the governments. At the governance level, social protection consists of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labor markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and interruption/loss of income (www.adb.org). It is concerned with preventing, managing, and overcoming situations that adversely affect people’s well being. (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) The United Nations, taking into account, the general concern about devastating consequences of the global economic and financial crisis, felt the need for urgent action by countries across the globe. Governments were seen to have the responsibility to mitigate the social impact of the crisis and to promote social transformations. Hence social protection is a global necessity for essential transfers and services to all the world’s population.
- With this background, the South Asian Forum of ministers, in charge of Social Development, was launched by UNESCO in 2006 in Burban, Pakistan and the Second Ministerial Forum at New Delhi in 2008.
- In 2010, UNESCO (New Delhi) and the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) had organized a research meeting on Social Protection policies in SOUTH‐ASIA, within the frame work of UNESCO’S Management of Social Transformation (MOST) programme, the objective of which was to provide support material and expertise to the Third Forum of Ministers, held in Colombo, Sri‐Lanka during 2010.
- The South – Asia regional committee of ICSW jointly with Tata Institute of Social Science Mumbai organized a consultative work shop during March 2011 to deliberate Social Protection for Social justice in INDIA – addressing poverty and exclusion. The most important issues discussed in this meetings were a) How a regional perspective can be built for social protection and b) How social protection policies be further strengthened to enhance the transformation potential of SPFI.
- Considering the importance of Social Protection for the betterment of humanity and on the lines of commitment of International Organizations to implement Social Protection Programmes, School of Social Work, Marian College, Kuttikkanam, Kerala, India Jointly with International Council of Social Welfare, South Asia Regional Committee decided to organize as a part of decennial year celebrations of the School of Social Work.
Theme of the Conference:
Social Protection: Perspectives and Policies
The social protection perspective is seen as more comprehensive than perspectives such as poverty and deprivation, human development, social security, and human rights. Social protection policies are expected to address insecurities related to the failure to meet basic economic and social needs – requiring promotional policies, as well as those related to unexpected contingencies‐ requiring protective policies (UNESCO‐ICSSR Research Meeting 2010). Inclusive policies should address the issues of labour, the role of markets, and ethnic, caste, and gender ‐based disadvantages. In this backdrop the conference envisages discussions on the following sub‐themes.
- Social Protection Labour and Employment
- Social Protection and Agricultural Sector
- Social Protection and the Homeless
- Social Protection and Minorities (racial, religious, etc)
- Social Protection and Gender
- Social Protection and Children
- Social Protection and the Elderly
- Social Protection and People with Disability
- Social Protection and persons with mental illness
- Social Protection and Commercial sex workers