Background Social protection as a human right

Flag of the United Nations
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 22 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Social protection – i.e. financial safeguarding against risks such as illness, accidents, unemployment or inability to work – is a human right. It was laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and is enshrined in many international agreements, including the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Social protection is also an important prerequisite for sustainable social and economic development, and for successfully combating poverty. This makes it a key factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.

Social protection is a crucial instrument for delivering on the 2030 Agenda’s pledge to “leave no one behind”. SDG 1 (End poverty) explicitly states that all people worldwide should have access to social protection by 2030. Promoting decent work (SDG 8) also includes social protection. Social protection is also relevant to other SDGs, such as the goals that refer to reducing inequality (SDG 10), ensuring healthy lives and wellbeing (SDG 3) and achieving gender equality (SDG 5).

As at: 08/10/2023