Worldwide, more than half of the global population is not covered under any type of social protection scheme, and less than 30 per cent enjoys comprehensive social protection. Women are particularly disadvantaged in social protection systems, experiencing lower coverage rates and substantially lower benefit levels. This is due, in part, to the fact that social protection schemes have often been designed around a male breadwinner model, assuming an uninterrupted and full-time career in the formal economy. This tends to penalise women – who are significantly underrepresented in the formal labour market, over represented in informal employment, earn less than men, and experience greater interruptions in their careers due to caring responsibilities. As a result, women are often excluded from contribution-based schemes and leaving them completely unprotected in the absence of social protection floors. This brief by ITUC explores the policies that have been shown to be helpful in reducing gender gaps in social protection: which include measures to reduce barriers to women’s labour market participation, measures to tackle the gender pay gap, supporting the transition to the formal economy, crediting periods of care in social security contributions, and guaranteeing adequate, universal social protection floors.

A crisis in "multilateralism for trade" has been unfolding in the two years since the fourteenth ministerial meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the head of the organisation, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, has said.

"One of the casualties appears to be progress at the WTO," he added.

This came at a meeting of UNCTAD's Trade and Development Board (TDB) on 1 October, where Dr Kituyi, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, presented the mid-term review report on the implementation of the Nairobi Maafikiano, the mandate that UNCTAD was given at UNCTAD-14 which took place in Nairobi, Kenya in July 2016.

Introduction: the rise of corporate malpractice
Over the last months multinational corporations have jumped from the ‘economy and business’ pages of world newspapers to the sections on ‘crime and police’: Volkswagen was found guilty of programming its cars to cheat on emission tests enabling it to contaminate while on the streets way beyond the acceptable limits. The sugar industry was exposed as having a long record of fake scientific research aimed at blaming other factors for the health problems that they create. Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government in 2001 to lie about the state of its economy, in order to be admitted into the Eurozone. Between 2012 and 2015 the most powerful banks of the world, including Barclays, Chase Morgan, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and others, paid billions of dollars in fines for having manipulated for their own benefit the exchange rates among global currencies and the Libor interest rates that determine the cost of billions of credit operations around the world every day.

Civil society organizations from Ecuador have brought to the attention of human rights bodies several cases of conflict between extractive industries and indigenous communities. In August 2017, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was urged to investigate the situation of several families from the Shuar community displaced unlawfully by the copper mining project San Carlos Panantza in the Amazon region. Four Amazonian provinces (Napo, Orellana, Pastaza and Morona Santiago) are affected by oil explorations over a total surface of four million hectares. The Center on Economic and Social Rights (CESR) is concerned that the consultation process with hundreds of indigenous communities in that huge area has not been conducted properly.

In 2015, with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments acknowledged the mutually enforcing power of peace and development. The 2030 Agenda represents a paradigm shift in terms of universality and interlinked goals, including across borders and affirms the need for a rights-based approach to peace and security, one focused on prevention. At the same time, most governments are still producing, trading and spending more on arms, thereby fueling a militarized approach to peace and security. Dominant power talks on how to achieve peace continue to silence those impacted most by conflicts and wars, including women and children. Profits made under war economies and through the arms trade continue to deepen inequalities and violate the rights of those with enormous humanitarian and development needs.

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