The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognize the right to social security for everyone. Yet only 20 per cent of the world’s population has adequate social security coverage and more than half lack any coverage at all. Social security systems provide for basic income in cases of unemployment, illness and injury, old age and retirement, maternity and loss of a main income earner.
The ILO actively promotes policies and provides assistance to countries to help extend adequate levels of social security to all members of society. A “Global Campaign on Social Security and Coverage for All” launched in 2003 builds on efforts already underway in more than 30 countries.
The ILO has provided technical support in the development and enhancement of social security systems in the Caribbean including:
- The conduct of actuarial reviews and basic capacity-building for social security administrations in six countries - Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia.
- Technical assistance in the setting up of the National Insurance Board in Trinidad and Tobago and the conduct of periodic actuarial reviews.
- Technical review of the National Health Insurance System in the Bahamas.
In December 2008, the ILO introduced its new social security training programme in the region entitled "Actuarial Methods and Social Security Financing for Non-specialists". The Programme is part of the ILO's new training initiative - QUATRAIN AMERICAS - to strengthen the capacity of governments, employers and trade unions in the field of actuarial methods and the financing of social security protection.