Poverty monitoring in the context of Covid-19: Keynote

Chair

Andrew Shepherd @ChronicPoverty – Principal Research Fellow, Equity and Social Policy, and Director, Chronic Poverty Advisory Network, ODI

Keynote

Olivier De Schutter @DeSchutterO – UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Speakers

Margaret Kakande – Head of the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda

Sonalde Desai @SonaldeDesai – Professor and Director, NCAER-National Data Innovation Centre and Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland

Michael Rogan @WIEGOGLOBAL – Interim Director, Urban Policies Programme, WIEGO and Associate Professor of Economics and Economic History, Rhodes University, South Africa


Some Remarks by the Special Rapporteur





Social protection schemes cannot be one-off measures
“It is encouraging to see that so many governments have extended social protection schemes, strengthened them, or have invented new schemes. But it is troubling that in many cases this is seen as a short-term measure, lasting for the duration of the lock-downs and barely beyond that. I think this is a serious problem.”

Social protection schemes should cover informal workers
“We need to ensure that the social protection schemes that have been extended, strengthened, or put in place as a response to the crisis also cover workers in the informal sector. There are bout 1.6 billion informal workers worldwide, to which we must add precarious forms of employment –temporary, short-term, or non-standard employment– which concerns about 400 million workers in the world. This means 2 billion workers in the world are not covered by social protection schemes, and very often the programs put in place by countries forget to address this category of workers. It is extremely important that these workers are reached. This can be done if governments coordinate well with informal workers’ organizations.”

Progressive tax measures are needed to finance fair social protection systems
“These reactions of governments will only have lasting impacts on the reduction of poverty and truly reduce inequalities if the financing is equitable. The financing of social protection should be based on progressive income tax schemes and on taxing corporations that are the least impacted by the crisis, rather than on increased consumption taxes such as VAT, which disproportionately affect poor families. We need to focus our attention not only on the response of governments in terms of social protection but also on where the money comes from that can finance these responses.”

Establishing a Global Fund for Social Protection
“Developing countries, and particularly Least Developed Countries, may not have the fiscal space required in order to protect the population from the impacts of poverty increases as a result of the crisis. We need to support them. There is now a push by certain governments, by the International Labour Organization and others, to establish a new international financial facility, a Global Fund for Social Protection, to that end. The financing gap represents roughly 5% of their GDP on average for the 134 developing countries. We need to provide these countries with support.”