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State of power 2019

As every year TNI’s excellent ‘State of Power’ report, 2019:

Social protection: not simple, but worth the effort

Well, according to the OECD:

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The IMF on Basic Income

In advanced economies, universal basic income is often used as an instrument to address inadequate safety nets (and ensure inclusion) and a way to tackle the challenges of technological and demographic changes.

Discussions around universal basic income can be heated, both in a scholarly context and in public discourse, and there is no established common understanding. Very different income-support programs are often labeled “universal basic income,” even when they have little in common or do not aim at the same goal.

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Walking The Line Of Caution On Refugees And Migrants’ Health In Europe

Surely, the topic of human mobility has been the stumbling block in the common agenda of European countries for the last few years. In fact, the very existence of the European Union as we have known it so far is at stake, on this political issue. A certain degree of prudence would seem understandable, then, a few months ahead of the May EU elections. Surely, the intergovernmental nature of the UN agencies force them to interact with Member States, that is why exacerbating the political arena is a risky operation that may not pay off at all, in the long run. Moreover, for WHO Europe, the report on the health of refugees and migrant people in the 53 countries of the region is the first one of its kind, which may explain the hesitance of the beginner. But it is difficult to deny a bitter aftertaste, especially after the press conference.

By Nicoletta Dentico, director of Health Innovation in Practice (HIP)

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What happened to the WHO’s social justice project?

For 40 years, the World Health Organization has been subjected to pressure from powerful economic actors, separated from the people it serves and diverted from its public health mandate. Every principle and value of its 1978 social justice project « Health for All » has been undermined.


The people’s international health authority has fallen victim to neoliberal global restructuring, as have most social and economic institutions serving the public interest, including of course, many UN programmes and agencies. The WHO today is on its knees and deeply compromised. How did this happen ?


Health for All (HfA) became WHO’s slogan at the end of « Les trentes glorieuses » (1945-1975) – thirty years of genuine progress towards a fairer – and therefore a healthier – world. This was the era of decolonization when the need for redistribution of power and resources, including the rights of peoples to self determination and control over national resources was widely recognized and there was a strong commitment to universal, comprehensive public services to meet basic needs for health. It was a time of optimism, moral vision and genuine progress.  Lees verder

Hospital PPPs Undermine Healthcare

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, and substantial opposition from community groups, public-private partnerships (PPPs) are still being promoted to deliver sustainable development.
Public-private hospital partnerships are supposed to ensure that the private sector will offer much needed efficiency in healthcare provision.
However, any government considering healthcare PPPs should be aware of the Australian experience, especially after what has happened with the Northern Beaches Hospital, a PPP between the New South Wales government and Healthscope.
The A$600m facility was officially opened with much fanfare on 19 November 2018. With a A$2.2 billion 20-year contract, it was billed as the flagship project for the NSW government to hand over to the private sector delivery of a wide range of public services from prisons to technical education to health.
(Anis Chowdhury, Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University & University of New South Wales (Australia), held senior United Nations positions in New York and Bangkok.
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, was Assistant Director-General for Economic and Social Development, Food and Agriculture Organization, and received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2007.)
Read more here

The ILO published its ‘Future of Work’ Report

New forces are transforming the world of work. The transitions involved call for decisive action.
Countless opportunities lie ahead to improve the quality of working lives, expand choice, close the gender gap, reverse the damages wreaked by global inequality, and much more. Yet none of this will happen by itself.
Without decisive action we will be heading into a world that widens existing inequalities and uncertainties.

Expanding youth populations in some parts of the world and ageing populations in others may place pressure on labour markets and social security systems, yet in these shifts lie new possibilities to afford care and inclusive, active societies.
We need to seize the opportunities presented by these transformative changes to create a brighter future and deliver economic security,
equal opportunity and social justice – and ultimately reinforce the fabric of our societies.

Seizing the moment: Reinvigorating the social contract
Forging this new path requires committed action on the part of governments as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations. They need to
reinvigorate the social contract that gives working people a just share of economic progress, respect for their rights and protection against
risk in return for their continuing contribution to the economy. Social dialogue can play a key role in ensuring the relevance of this contract
to managing the changes under way when all the actors in the world of work participate fully, including the many millions of workers who
are currently excluded.

Read the full report

Universalism … really?

How the World Bank turns meanings to its advantage.

With all the paradigmatic changes the World Bank has been promoting in the field of social policies, one element never changed in the past thirty years. Social policies were meant for the poor, governments had to find the best ways to target those who really needed their help.

The reasoning is simple: poor people, as was spelled out in its first World Development Report on Poverty of 1990[1], were those left behind by growth and by governments. The wrong policies were applied so that poor people did not get access to labour markets and, moreover, these labour markets were made more difficult to enter because of minimum wages and other ‘protective’ rules the poor did not really care about. If one really wanted to help the poor, one had to abolish all these well-meant but adverse policies. Open, deregulated markets, at the local and the global level, were the best programmes for the poor. In its ‘Doing Business’ Report of 2013[2], the World Bank still considered fixed term contracts and 50-hour workweeks as positive achievements, whereas premiums for night-work and paid annual leave were on the negative side[3].

As for the not-so-poor or middle classes, these people are said to have enough resources to buy the insurances they want on the market. Insurances are an economic sector and there is no reason why States or governments should get involved in it[4]. Solidarity is one of the words that has always been shunned by the international financial organisations. Lees verder

Video on Social Protection

We are happy to present to you a video we made on social protection and our Global Charter for Social Protection Rights. It was made with the help of the NGO Forum on ADB. So many thanks for this!

Please watch the video and distribute it as widely as you can:

In the meantime we are preparing the Asie Europe People’s Forum’s Social Justice Cluster’s conference in Nepal on social protection and labour rights. In Une there will be a new World Social Forum on Health and Social Security in Bogota.

All the best for 2019!

Bankruptcy of private pension systems

A new publication by the ILO confirms PSI’s long-held position of workers in retirement.

The privatisation of public pension systems has delivered vast returns to a tiny financial elite while diminishing the incomes of workers in retirement.

Read the report

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