COVID-19 has forced a strict lockdown in many parts of the world, resulting in a loss of jobs and livelihoods especially for a large part of the two billion informal workers globally who are often working without adequate safety measures and social protection . In developing and emerging economies, the informal sector accounts for a third of official GDP (on average) and roughly 70 per cent of total employment. The lacking safety measures and medical insurance have also made households relying on informal work more vulnerable to the health-related impacts of the pandemic. Many unregistered, mostly small-scale businesses have had to permanently halt their operations during the lockdown, often due to the lack of savings and their exclusion from COVID-19 stimulus and financial assistance packages.
Knowing this, the session aims to examine how to advance the accessibility of social insurance and protection schemes to the informal sector to strengthen the resilience of the low-income populations and microenterprises to COVID-19 and other disasters.
Economic recovery from the current pandemic may be long, 5 to 10 years, and not without setbacks caused by other catastrophic events. In the medium and long term, it may be best to think about measures that will reduce informality and thus allow these workers and businesses to access social insurance and protection. The focus goes on the following questions: