About social security

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: Social security addresses the root causes

October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The theme for this year’s day is: Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity.

In working towards the objectives of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda, to leave no one behind, the global community is seeking to accelerate coordinated action to eradicate all forms of poverty.

As one important response, social security policies offer measures to improve income security and the health outcomes of people of all ages. In this manner, they also help address the root causes of poverty in society. The ISSA report, Ten global challenges for social security, demonstrates how innovation and good practices in social security administration can help contribute to reducing income insecurity.

“Social security administrations play a key role in the global challenge to end poverty. Through international cooperation and exchange, we can accelerate the extension of social security coverage and protection to all”, said Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Secretary General of the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

Policy choices to extend coverage

According to the International Labour Office, 4 billion people worldwide have inadequate access to social protection, with only 45 per cent of the global population effectively covered by at least one social benefit. Moreover, only 29 per cent of the global population enjoys access to comprehensive social security.

To improve these outcomes, policy and institutional responses have to be tailored to people’s needs, including their capacity to join contributory social security programmes.

For those who are most marginal to formal labour markets, current policy sets great store in the use of tax-financed coverage, especially to extend coverage to children, families and elders.

For the working-age population without adequate coverage, but who do have some capacity to save, innovative ways to improve access to contributory social benefit programmes is needed. To a large degree, this presents an administrative challenge.

Innovation and sharing of practices

But innovative new thinking can be found. For example, the ISSA Guidelines on Administrative Solutions for Coverage Extension aim at strengthening the capacities of social security administrations to deliver effective contributory programmes and to work towards the extension of coverage to groups that are typically difficult to cover. The ISSA’s Good Practices Database also offers inspirational case studies from social security administrations.


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