Left to right: Vusi Madonsela, Director General, Department of Social Development of the Republic of South Africa; ISSA President Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo; Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Social Development of the Republic of South Africa; ISSA Secretary General Hans-Horst-Konkolewsky; ISSA Vice-President Fidel Ferreras Alonso
“There is a strong feeling of confidence in the global social security community as regards our ability to manage the challenges we are confronted with,” noted Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, the ISSA Secretary General in his final remarks to the gathering.
The financial and economic crisis has placed unprecedented pressures on many social security systems, but has also strengthened recognition of the “paramount” importance of social security in improving the living conditions of our populations, in each and every country of the world, Mr. Konkolewsky stated.
“Social security is not only essential for social stability and economic development at the national level – it is essential for global stability and development too, in particular at times of increasing globalization.”
The World Forum enabled debate and exchange on a range of critical issues for social security organizations, including management and good governance, demographic changes and the extension of coverage, and highlighted a series of critical conditions for the future expansion of social security.
Political will and public trust
“Social security institutions have an important role in generating and supporting political commitment to strengthening social security; the nurturing of public trust and support through the provision of high-quality services, and by practicing sound communication and promoting education on social security,” Mr. Konkolewsky said.
Social security systems will need to invest in “proactive and preventative approaches” that support employability, health, empowerment and sustainability, if they are to extend coverage and accessibility, Mr. Konkolewsky emphasized.
Extension of coverage
The extension of social security coverage was a central theme of the Forum, and representatives of the ISSA and of the International Labour Office (ILO) presented strategies to reach population groups without social protection.
The ISSA strategy, unveiled during the Forum, builds on the potential role of social security institutions in coverage extension, and the ILO strategy also invites the contribution of ISSA member institutions, both in terms of promoting the global protection floor and the ratification of Convention 102.
Recognizing the complementary nature of these strategies, and the need for close partnership between the ISSA and the ILO, Mr. Konkolewsky welcomed the commitment of the two organizations to work towards a protocol that promises to be a “historic milestone in the international efforts to extend coverage,” he said.
Towards a social security “culture”
Concluding the event, the ISSA Secretary General pointed to the importance of building a “worldwide culture of social security” as a foundation for the future.
“Education, prevention, trust, good governance, high service quality are all important conditions for building this culture, and can make a real contribution to securing the financial, social and political legitimacy of social security in challenging times,” he said.
"To exploit the immense power of social security to do good – this is our shared objective. I believe that this week has both better informed and better equipped us to work towards this objective. We can make a difference. Now we must make the difference."
The World Social Security Forum gathered over 1,200 social security ministers, administrators, senior managers and social policy experts from more than 120 countries. Organized by the ISSA, the event was hosted by the Department of Social Development of the Republic of South Africa.