Home > News > SDGs progress: Less than half the world's population are covered by a social protection scheme

Latest News

SDGs progress: Less than half the world's population are covered by a social protection scheme

The world needs to intensify efforts to boost the incomes of the poor, including by expanding social protection systems.

This is the clear message of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals Report for 2017, which this year gives a breakdown of progress in implementing social protection by continent and overall. This highlights that there is a huge way to go in providing social protection, with only 45% of all people in the world covered by at least one social protection scheme. Even the most vulnerable often lack coverage.

For example, only 41% of women giving birth around the world received maternity benefits, 35% of children were covered by social protection, 28% of people with severe disabilities collected a disability pension and 22% of the unemployed worldwide received unemployment benefits.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 22% of people above retirement age received a pension in 2016 and only 13% of Sub-Saharan Africans were covered by at least one social protection programme. Central and Southern Asia have the second lowest coverage, with only 16% of people covered by social protection.

The UN is clear: “Social protection systems have an important role in protecting the most vulnerable. They are fundamental to preventing and reducing poverty and inequality at every stage of people’s lives. Benefits for children, mothers with newborns, persons with disabilities, older persons and those who are poor and without jobs help ensure that no one is left behind.”

The report states that there are still three-quarters of a billion people living on less than US$1.90 a day who are in the grasp of extreme poverty.

Further evidence of the benefits both for tackling poverty, but also for contributing to economic growth, will be provided by inclusive social protection such as the Inua Jamii 70+ pension being introduced in Kenya, which as of today has registered over 480,000 citizens in Kenya.