In view of the global ambition to reach universal social protection, it is crucial to strengthen the coverage and support for rural populations. To this end, the ISSA and the IFAD have agreed to join forces to extend and promote social security in rural areas.
Rural populations are vulnerable to risks, and they are often excluded from access to social protection systems. This is particularly true in rural economies marked by a high degree of informal work. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1.3), the United Nations has set the objective “to implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.” To do so, it is necessary to put special emphasis on the needs of rural populations.
The International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will now work together in this area. On 7 February 2019, the two parties signed a cooperation agreement at the IFAD headquarters in Rome, Italy. “Today we plant the seed for cooperation that will bring better living and working conditions to farmers and their families”, said Professor Joachim Breuer, the ISSA President. He signed the agreement with his counterpart, IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo. The partnership seeks to support the institutional capacity of ISSA member institutions to effectively extend coverage to workers in rural areas.
The ISSA report on 10 Global Challenges for Social Security cites the need to close the coverage gap as one of the most important objectives for social security institutions. According to the ILO, 56 per cent of the population in rural areas lack health coverage compared to 22 per cent in urban areas. Dynamic and inclusive social security systems are powerful tools to fight inequalities and poverty, and to foster inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. This is why the partnership between the ISSA and IFAD is so important.
Recently, the ISSA also committed to the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection, which has called for action to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030.