100 Million response to the announcement of Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection and UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action

 

100 Million welcomes the ambitious announcement by the United Nations and the International Labour Organization of a proposed global accelerator for jobs and social protection. We believe this could offer both a critical lifeline to the 1.2 billion children living in multidimensional poverty and a route to delivering the right to freedom for every child.

At the outset of the pandemic, 100 Million began calling for significant financing to provide humanitarian relief and social protection for the children and families likely to be most severely impacted by COVID-19 in our Justice For Every Child campaign, and reiterated our call for social protection to end child labour in our End Discrimination, End Child Labour report. In the last 18 months, we’ve seen child poverty and child labour rise at rates which should make rich governments ashamed. Indeed, the governments of many of the low- and middle-income countries speaking at the UN’s High-Level Event on Jobs and Social Protection for Poverty Eradication on Tuesday 28 September called out the failure of high-income countries to include the countries in most need in their fiscal responses to COVID, and we could not agree more. Therefore the announcement by the UN and the ILO is a much needed and welcome starting point to reverse the damage caused by the pandemic and the wealthy world’s unfair response to it.

In 2020, youth activists from the 100 Million campaign successfully influenced Laureates and Leaders for Children to join our calls for emergency relief and social protection during the pandemic. This resulted in the Laureates and Leaders’ call for a $1 trillion ‘fair share’ for children and their families to prevent the loss of a generation to the worst impacts of COVID-19. The UN and ILO Call to Action identifies similarly ambitious levels of financing: $982 billion is needed in fiscal stimulus measures to respond to the immediate labour market shocks of the crisis and to support a just transition, and an additional $ 1.2 trillion is needed annually for social protection floors in low- and middle-income countries. 

100 Million strongly supports these calls for significant financing in recognition of the needs of lower-income countries to expand social protection and stimulate job creation. We believe bold financial commitments are critical if we are to end child labour and get the SDGs anywhere close to back on track.

The proposed global accelerator for jobs and social protection seeks to create at least 400 million jobs and extend social protection to 4 billion women, men, and children currently without coverage. We believe that this accelerator could deliver significant change for children and their families, especially if sufficient attention is paid to the 74% of children worldwide – and 91% of children in low-income countries – who currently have no access to social protection.

We will continue to advocate with governments to ensure the global accelerator can live up to its promise. 100 Million will call for substantial government commitments to increase domestic expenditure on social protection, increase ODA to social protection, and enable fiscal space for social protection through debt cancellation and tax justice. We warn, however, that if governments and the IFIs do not heed this call, and revert instead to imposing austerity measures, it will force tens of millions more children to work to survive. Wealthy governments must not fail us again, or they may as well hand children the tools to work the fields and the mines themselves.