The Inequality Gap: A Social Protection Floor for an Inclusive Crisis Recovery

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 7:00 PM
  • Isabel Ortiz

At the beginning of the 21st century, rising inequalities led to the proposal of a social protection floor for the global economy, now fully endorsed by the United Nations and member countries. A social protection floor is necessary in any society because the benefits of growth do not automatically reach all; further, the need for adequate social protection systems has increased given the impacts of the global crisis. This presentation will review selected policy issues, such as the importance of expanding social protection coverage, the debates on unconditional/conditional cash transfers and universal/targeted policies, and discuss affordability of a social protection floor as well as the high costs of keeping people excluded.

Isabel Ortiz is Director of the Global Social Justice Program at Joseph Stiglitz's Initiative for Policy Dialogue, based at Columbia University. Until 2012 she was Associate Director of Policy and Strategy at UNICEF. From 2005-2009 she was Senior Advisor at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and from 1995-2003, at the Asian Development Bank, where she was founding member of its Poverty Reduction Unit. Isabel Ortiz has worked in more than 30 countries in all continents, providing advisory services to governments and development institutions. Additionally she was a lecturer in Spain and has contributed to the work of civil society organizations. Isabel Ortiz was educated in Barcelona and the UK (Ph.D. London School of Economics). She has about fifty publications translated in several languages.

 This Signature Lecture is the opening event for "Toward a Global Social Protection Floor," a symposium being held April 24-26, 2013. Organized by the Global Social Governance field group at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the symposium will bring together prominent international policy intellectuals and scholars from different disciplines and regions of the world to discuss this ambitious initiative, its prospects, and its implications. For more information about the symposium, visit: Register for the symposium at:

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