Global Call to Action Against Poverty and its members are among the 96 human rights, faith-based, and economic justice organizations, which issued a stern call to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, urging them to prioritize the human right to social security for all individuals worldwide.

In a joint letter addressed to the Executive Directors of the IMF and World Bank, the coalition of organizations expressed deep concerns regarding the current lack of promotion and implementation of universal social protection systems. They underscored the pivotal role of social security in achieving sustainable development goals, emphasizing that over half of the global population remains without access to any social security programmes.

Download the letter to the Executive Directors of the IMF and World Bank here.

Despite the World Bank’s significant investment in social protection systems, the coalition highlighted a persistent focus on narrowly targeted “safety nets” that exclude large segments of the population. They criticized the IMF’s promotion of heavily means-tested programmes, which cover only a fraction of those in need, thereby hindering efforts toward universal social protection.

Furthermore, the coalition raised alarm over the negative impacts of austerity measures imposed by governments, exacerbated by IMF policies, which impede the fulfillment of human rights obligations. They emphasized that such measures disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, particularly those in informal employment.

The coalition outlined four key policy changes to advance the right to social security:

Support for States: Urging immediate commitment to support states in establishing or strengthening rights-aligned social security systems, including the adoption of social protection floors in line with international standards.

Universal Systems: Calling for the cessation of funding for poverty-targeted programmes in favour of universal social security systems. They also advocated for fiscal reforms to promote fair resource distribution and reduce inequality.

Equitable Public Systems: Encouraging support for equitable and sustainable public social security systems, including adequate employer contributions and benefits, while opposing privatization efforts.

Austerity Measures: Demanding an end to austerity policies that threaten rights and privatize social security, emphasizing the need to refrain from promoting social spending trade-offs.

The coalition requested a meeting with the IMF and World Bank officials during the 2024 Spring meetings to discuss these proposed reforms further.