Last week we launched two reports on Mothers' day. While the world celebrated, we reminded people that everyday 800 women die from childbirth - and 18,000 children also pass away daily. Most of these deaths are preventable with adequate health and social protection.
At a time that the world is discussing a post-2015 development agenda, it is essential that the development community identifies financing sources for social protection. It is a question of priorities: the total cost of universal benefits to all pregnant women and all children in 57 lower income countries is just 0.6 per cent of what G20 countries used to bail out the financial sector in 2009.
The reports present (i) a global overview of the organization of child and maternity benefits in 183 countries, (ii) analyse trends and recent policies, e.g. extension of child and family benefit coverage in a large number of low- and middle-income countries; (iii) show the negative impacts of fiscal consolidation and adjustment measures in a number of higher-income economies; and (iv) cost a basic universal child and orphan benefits, as well as a universal maternity benefit, in 57 low and lower middle income countries.
Below the press realease with the links to the two studies, we hope useful.
Press release: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_366206/lang--en/index.htm
GENEVA (ILO News) – The lack of access to social protection is still a reality for a large number of mothers and children worldwide, according to two studies released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Social protection for maternity: Key policy trends and statistics report shows that only 36 per cent of employed women are legally entitled to cash benefits during their maternity leave. In practice, however, maternity leave legislation is not implemented effectively, so only 28 per cent of working women are covered.
The study, Social protection for children: Key policy trends and statistics, also paints a worrying picture. It shows that while there has been an explosion of small cash transfer schemes in recent years, there is also a considerable gap with regard to the availability of adequate child and family benefits. According to the study, 108 countries have specific child and family benefit programmes, but they often cover small groups.
Fiscal adjustment reducing social protection for mothers and children A worrying trend is that in some countries the levels of maternity and child benefits have dropped as a result of fiscal consolidation policies.
For example, several European countries have reduced the level of maternity and child benefits or have limited the level of coverage.
Fiscal consolidation and adjustment measures threaten progress on social protection for children and their families. Child poverty increased in 18 of the 28 countries of the European Union between 2008 and 2013.
Universal coverage: How much does it cost? On the other hand, several low- and middle-income countries have either extended the duration of paid maternity leave or introduced cash benefits for mothers and children. However, large coverage gaps remain.
The reports look at a sample of 57 low- and lower middle-income countries and show that introducing a basic universal maternity cash benefit would require, on average, 0.41 per cent of national gross domestic product (GDP).
Meanwhile, having universal child benefits would, on average, require 1.9 per cent of national GDP. The projected costs for a basic universal child benefit vary greatly between countries, ranging from 5.2 per cent of GDP for Niger to 0.2 per cent of GDP for Guyana, considering that children constitute a large proportion of the population in these countries.
The same variation applies to basic universal maternity protection, where it ranges from less than 0.1 per cent of GDP in Bhutan, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam to 1.1 per cent of GDP in Niger.
At a time when the world is discussing a post-2015 development agenda, it is essential that the international community identifies financing sources for social protection. It is a question of choosing the right priorities: the total cost of universal benefits to all pregnant women and all children in 57 lower income countries is just 0.6 per cent of what G20 countries used to bail out the financial sector in 2009.
The ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) reflects a consensus among governments and employers’ and workers’ organizations from 185 countries on the need to extend social security. Both studies include detailed national data on maternity protection and child and family benefits for 188 countries surveyed.
Director Social Protection
International Labour Organization (ILO)
4 Route des Morillons
CH-1211 Geneva 22 Switzerland
Tel. +41.22.799.6226; email@example.com