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Intersessional panel discussion on the right to social security in the changing world of work – 1 November 2021

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 42/13 on the right to social security, the Human Rights Council is holding an intersessional panel discussion to identify challenges and best practices in the realization of the right to social security. It will provide an opportunity for an inclusive and interactive debate among States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, treaty bodies, special procedures and regional human rights mechanisms, as well as civil society, non-governmental organizations.

The panel discussion will examine how the normative content of the right to social security and the corresponding human rights obligations of States can guide policy making at the national and international level in advancing the enjoyment of this right. This is vital. Despite progress in the extension of social protection in many parts of the world, the human right to social security is not yet a reality for the majority of the world’s population. The COVID-19 crisis has made realizing this right even more urgent by exposing the weaknesses of a social and economic system that has neglected to invest sufficiently in fundamental public services such as social protection and health care, unveiling gaps in coverage, inadequacy of social protection benefits and exacerbating deep-seated inequalities.

Date and venue

1 November 2021, 10 – 12 and 14.30 – 16.30 Geneva time, Room XIX of Palais des Nations, Geneva, and virtually on Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent to participants on Thursday 28 October 2021

Live broadcast will be archived on

Format and panelists

The panel will be chaired by H.E. Ms. Keva L. Bain, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council

Opening: Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Session I: 10:00 to 11.00 CEST: The human right to social security and the changing world of work

Ms. Shahra Razavi, Director of the Social Protection Department, ILO
Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
Mr Mohamed Ezzeddine Abdel Moneim, Chair of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Interventions were made by:

Session II: 11.00 to 12.00 CEST: Promoting substantive equality and non-discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to social security

Hon. Utoni Nujoma, Minister of Labour, Namibia
Mr. Alradi Abdalla, Disability-Inclusive Social Protection , International Disability Alliance
Ms. María Rodríguez Alcázar, Board Member, Youth Forum
Ms. Michele Levoy, Director, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants

Interventions were made by:

Session III: 14.30-15.30 CEST: Fiscal space for social protection and States’ human rights obligations

Ms. Isabel Ortiz, Director of the Global Social Justice Program at Joseph Stiglitz's Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University,
Ms. Kate Donald, Director of Program, Center for Economic and Social Rights

Interventions were made by:

Session IV: 15.30 to 16.30 CEST: The right to social security at the heart of the new social contract

Ms. Rachel Moussie, Deputy Director of the Social Protection Program, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing
Mr. Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Ms. Isiuwa Iyahen, Programme Specialist - Economic Empowerment and Statistics, UN WOMEN

Interventions were made by:

List of speakers


The online system of registration for participation in this intersessional panel discussion is available in Indico, and all participants are requested to register at

NGO participation: Please note that only non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) can participate in this panel discussion.

Registering for the list of speakers

States can register to speak through "" with the same login details used during the 48th session of the Council.

Non-governmental organizations can register to speak (video statements only) through "".

The online registration for the lists of speakers will open on Tuesday, 26  October at 9 a.m. and will closed on Friday, 29 October at 4 p.m

There is also a guidance note giving more information on registering on the list of speakers, uploading statements and sending video statements.