U.N. Rapporteurs Call For Creation Of Global Fund As Social Safety Net For Vulnerable Populations

Two U.N. experts have called (.pdf) for the creation of a “global fund to promote the creation of social safety nets for the most vulnerable people in poor countries,” the Guardian reports. Based on estimates from the International Labor Organization (ILO), Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur for food, and Magdalena Sepulveda, the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the creation of a $60 billion fund — with $20 billion funded by rich countries — “would have two functions: to help the 48 least developed countries (LDCs) put in place a ‘social protection floor’; and to serve as a reinsurance provider to step in if a state’s social protection system was overwhelmed by an unexpected event such as extreme drought or flooding,” the newspaper writes.

“The scheme could be a formal fund through which richer countries make donations that are then redistributed to poor countries, or a new independent body, or it could sit within an existing institution such as the World Bank,” according to the Guardian. De Schutter said, “This is an investment, not a handout. … If we invest in supporting the poor against the risks of illness, unemployment and disease, it is one way of allowing markets to expand and make use of their multiplier effect. Acting preventively is much less expensive than intervention on an ad hoc basis. It costs eight times more to act in famine. By having safety nets in place, it will not be so necessary to intervene at an emergency stage,” the newspaper notes (Tran, 10/9).