Skip to main content

Countdown to Human Rights Day

Get inspired by dancer Ahamad Joudeh as he unites refugees in their quest for peace

Learn more
call for input | Special Procedures

Call for submissions: Thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council "Social protection: a reality check"

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Last updated

25 December 2021


Submissions now online (See below)

Purpose: To invite all interested governments, civil society organizations, academics, international organizations, activists, corporations and others, to provide written input for his thematic report on “Social protection: a reality check”.

Background and Objectives

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, intends to dedicate his report to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, to be presented in June 2022, to the gap between legal coverage and effective coverage in the area of social protection as well as to situation of informal workers. The report will seek to identify the obstacles individuals and households face in seeking to access social protection and to propose recommendations for how to overcome them.

The publication of the report will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of ILO Recommendation 202 that reaffirmed the right to social security as a human right and set out guidelines for the establishment of social protection floors.

A decade later however, despite improvements, it is estimated that only 45 per cent of the world’s population is effectively covered by at least one social protection scheme. Several mechanisms are at play that restrict access to social protection for a majority of the world’s population, including key issues such as: the role of conditionalities in hindering access to programs; corruption as an obstacle to service delivery and to accessing schemes; non-take-up as a multi-faceted phenomenon causing individuals to not apply or receive benefits that they are eligible for; and the informality of large parts of the world’s working population who lack coverage by contributory protections and often by non-contributory schemes as well. The report of the Special Rapporteur will closely examine each of these reasons, identifying and analyzing the challenges that remain to the provision of universal social protection floors and providing recommendations for how to address these challenges.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

The Special Rapporteur invites all interested governments, civil society organizations, academics, international organizations, activists, corporations and others, to provide written input for his thematic report.

Respondents are requested to limit their comments to a maximum of 2,500 words. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other types of background materials may be annexed to the submission.

The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would be particularly grateful for observations, data, and examples of good practices in the following areas:

  • What are the key gaps that remain in your country’s social protection system? Which population groups, and in which regions, are inadequately covered by social protection schemes?
  • To what extent do conditionalities attached to the granting of social protection benefits undermine social protection systems? What is the impact of such conditionalities on people who experience poverty?
  • What role does corruption play in excluding individuals and households from social protection schemes? How does corruption affect the delivery of public services to population groups in your country?
  • What is the rate of non-take-up for the various social benefit schemes available in your country? What obstacles prevent eligible individuals and households from accessing the benefits to which they are entitled? What are the economic, psychological, and policy effects of non-take-up, both for the individual experiencing it and for the State? How can non-take-up be reduced?
  • To what extent are informal workers protected by social protection schemes provided by the State in your country? What measures have been put in place to help informal workers transition to the formal economy? What challenges remain?

The Special Rapporteur greatly appreciates the efforts that go into making such contributions and looks forward to reading the submissions.

If you would like to share your expertise on the specific phenomenon of non-take-up, the Special Rapporteur has launched a worldwide survey to explore the prevalence and persistence of non-take-up of social protection around the world. The survey covers a total of 50 countries from all world regions. Governments, social security administrations, international organizations, civil society, trade unions, human rights institutions, development agencies, academics, and other experts from the countries covered are invited to take the survey. The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be accessed here: Please note that this survey will close on October 29th, 2021.

Media inquiries

The Special Rapporteur’s report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2022 and will be made public around the same time.

Media inquiries, including requests to attend the presentation of the thematic report at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, may be directed to Junko Tadaki (ju[email protected]) and Patricia Varela ([email protected]).

Follow the Special Rapporteur on Twitter:



Inputs Received