The final Declaration of the nAsia Europe People’s Forum, adopted in Ulaan Baatar in 2016, included an action point for the social justice cluster, saying:
“Work with social movements and workers’ organisations to develop a people-centred Global Social Protection Charter that will guarantee decent work, sustainable livelihoods, and universal and comprehensive social protection systems that include food, essential services and social security”.
Such a Global Charter has been written and has been presented and or discussed throughout 2017 and 2018 with major trade unions and social organisations and at different major global and regional conferences and social forums.
A website (in three languages) has been set up leading to many comments and support (www.globalsocialprotectioncharter.eu).
The charter is conceived as an aspirational text, not as a binding charter with all of its detailed points to be adopted or agreed with. It is not a text with demands but with principles. It is meant as a source of inspiration for movements working towards social justice.
While giving our full support to the existing global initiatives, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ILO Social Protection Floors, our main objective is to promote a stronger philosophy on social protection, one that goes beyond the traditional rights, that encompasses environmental needs and bridges the unacceptable gap between production and reproduction.
In our perspective, social protection is a commons, emerging from the democratic and participatory actions of citizens with demands for public authorities. Social protection is not a correction mechanism for the economic system, but should be transformative, that is, contribute to a better productive system and to the sustainability of life. We see social protection as a collective and democratic endeavour for achieving a life in dignity for all.
We think this is particularly important at this moment, not only because of the severe social crisis, but also because we are faced with the emergence, in Asia and even more in Europe, of illiberal right-wing populist forces, promoting a kind of social protection without any emancipatory or progressive transformative potential.
After two years of discussion, debate (and congratulations) we therefore think the moment has come to solemnly proclaim this Global Charter. Doing so, the Charter can become an important guiding principle for all movements working and campaigning on social justice.
Francine Mestrum Tina Ebro Meena Menon
Global Social Justice AEPF Focal Person Asia Researcher
P.S. The Charter was adopted and launched at the 12th edition of the Asia Europe People’s Forum in Ghent, 1 October 2018.