Webinar on Securing fiscal space for expanded social protection programmes

On 30 June, the ILO Moscow delivered the fourth out of five webinars “From the immediate crisis response to COVID pandemic towards economic recovery, with decent work in focus”, dedicated to promoting social protection programmes and employment policies through secured fiscal space, including international experience and policy considerations. The webinar was attended by about 70 representatives of Labour Ministries, workers’ and employers’ organizations, other line ministries and agencies, research community and UN agencies from 10 countries served by the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

News | 30 June 2020
«As of mid-June 2020, 200 countries worldwide introduced 1166 social protection measures to mitigate adverse impact of COVID -19 on workers and disadvantaged population. In Europe and Central Asia, 59 countries introduced 383 measures» - said Ms Jasmina Papa, Social Protection Specialist,  ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Responses cover all social protection functions, including protection in case of unemployment, income and jobs protection, protection of families and children and special allowance account for more than half of all responses in the CIS region. Overall, most measures are financed by non-contributory resources, especially newly introduced programmes and benefits. Contributory funded programmes have been adjusted in order to extend coverage to workers who prior to the COVID-19 pandemic had no access to particular programmes.

Mr Fabio Duran Valverde, Head of Public Finance, Actuarial and Statistic (PFACTS) Unit, Social Protection Department, ILO Headquarters in Geneva, presented the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on social security/protection systems and introduced policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis from the social protection perspective. He paid particular attention to fiscal space for social protection systems during COVID-19 crises, e.g. financing gap in social protection, international financing commitments for health and social protection and domestic resource mobilization efforts.

Mr. Jose Pacecho Jimenez, ILO expert from Costa Rica, spoke about technical and political dimensions of constructing fiscal space for social protection. He approached the topic from the practical point of view and introduced tips for constructing fiscal space - from identifying fiscal gaps and conducting fiscal space analysis to balancing fiscal and political space in the long-run.

The ILO estimates that for developing economies, the average financing gap for implementing an adequate social protection floor is equivalent to 1.6% of GDP.  Many countries in Eastern Europe and CIS have identified and reallocated resources in national budgets to support to workers and households to cope with the impact of crisis, or advocated for additional investments by development partners to protect health, ensure income security and protect jobs.

The ILO Moscow Senior Employment Specialist Mikhail Pouchkin provided additional guidance and examples of policy measures to link employment and social protection policies in order to make progress towards financed, comprehensive and universal social protection system and national employment strategy. 

The presentations were followed by Q&A session. The event was organized in the framework of the project “Partnerships for Youth Employment in the CIS” being implemented in partnership with the Russian company LUKOIL.