You asked why is it important to advocate for a stand-alone goal on Social Protection Floors for All: My experience in the interface between developing country governments and their "development partners" (aid agencies) is that they are both going to choose from among these 19 (or less) focus areas where they concentrate government / donor spending. For instance the EU (and many others) have a rule according to which country programmes should be focused on max. three (3) sectors. This means that unlike the World Bank for whom social protection now represents 14-16 % of total lending, most other governments and aid agencies are going to concentrate their investments not on SP but onto 3 of the 19 (or less) sectors now listed.
To build national SYSTEMS of Social Protection, including SP-floors, governments (and donor partners) will have to invest money onto the budget lines of – and in support of – the Ministries of Social Affairs, Community Development, Women and Children. In my country this Ministry has the largest budget among all ministries, and social protection cuts poverty to half of what it would be without SP. In poorer countries the "Social Protection Ministry" typically has the smallest budgets. No wonder that the human right to social protection is not realized for all.
Another point about poverty "eradication": It is a much better goal than poverty "alleviation" or "reduction". Yet, poverty is not like smallpox (and hopefully malaria one day) that we could ever completely eradicate. That's why we – ALL - are always going to need social protection. Only a small part of the world's poor are chronically poor, most of them are transient poor, which means that they move out of and back into poverty, depending on many factors, e.g. seasons, climate, economic shocks, or on their capacity to respond to various lifecycle risks of impoverishment. In fact, without reliable permanent social protection systems we would all be vulnerable to impoverishment in the case of unemployment, old age, disability, catastrophic health care costs, etc.
That's why it is critically important – also when fixing the SDGs - that we underline the need for Social Protection FOR ALL, not only for the poorest and most vulnerable. Within universal SP-systems we can give special priority for those whose needs are greatest. But, from the sustainability point of view it is important that also we – the non-poor – know and trust that the national SP systems protect also us. This way the political support and willingness to pay – and cross-subsidization from the fortunate to the less-fortunate – can be secured. In the long run, systems designed only for the poor would become poor systems. Let's build strong systems of SP for ALL!
Senior Adviser for Global Social Policy and Decent Work
Development Policy Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland