Preliminary findings and proposals by Task Force 6 on Social Cohesion and the Future of Welfare Systems

Impact of the pandemic on poverty and social mobility

  • The pandemic has increased poverty worldwide, created new inequalities overlapping with pre-existing ones and has reduced social mobility as the main social elevator got stuck between repeated school closures.
  • Reducing socio-economic inequalities (access to education and skills) and inter-generational inequalities (between older and younger people) by increasing government funding in several education areas (i.e. remedial education, vocational education, digital technology for poorer pupils, re-training schemes for job-seekers, pedagogical strategies and teacher training for the recovery) and by designing policies that exploit complementarities between these areas, for example, encouraging investment in artificial intelligence that helps integrate lower-educated workers, or redressing geographical concentrations of low-educated workers.

Education and training: how to recover the ground lost during the lockdown

  • Encouraging G20 countries and donors to support first-open-last-close strategies for schools with a strong pro-equity and crisis-sensitive approach, by instituting mechanisms for all with special emphasis to proactively target the most disproportionately affected students experiencing new pandemic-related vulnerabilities, and students who entered the pandemic in existing vulnerable circumstances, compounded crises, and with intersecting inequities

Monitoring early childhood development and education

  • Acknowledging the key importance of highly integrated and multi-sectoral approaches to early childhood education, care and development services to supporting social cohesion, to building sustainable welfare systems, and to achieving the objectives of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals framework. In order to be effective, ‘whole-of-government’ policies are required, grounded in relevant information. Encouraging the G20 to support member states to build integrated and multi-sectoral data, monitoring and evaluation systems in early childhood development, education and care.

Remote working, productivity and wellbeing

  • During the pandemic, remote working increased by a factor of three to four in most developed countries (from around 10% to 30/40% of the workforce) and is bound to last even after the pandemic.
  • Adjusting cross-border work regulations to cope with remote working.
  • Monitoring carefully the interactions between the spread of remote working and housing inequality by implementing better data collection systems and tackling housing inequality.
  • Pursuing equality of opportunities by extending the coverage of fast Internet access.

Women and youth: enhancing labour market access and job opportunities for vulnerable groups

  • Leveraging trade policy as a means to generate decent work for women and reduce gender inequality. In particular, the G20 could provide technical and scientific assistance to small-scale female farmers and producers in developing countries to help them get better access to export markets.
  • Encouraging G20 countries to introduce financial literacy programmes in school curricula, making use of digital tools, particularly in developing countries, to facilitate access to the labour market for women and youth.

Strengthening cross-country policy coordination in providing basic income and in taxing multinational corporations

  • Considering to establish a Global Citizen Income (GCI) through a two-step approach: a partial GCI to tackle poverty and unemployment generated by Covid-19; a full-scale GCI to build global citizenship. The GCI would be funded by raising Official Development Assistance (ODA) and by introducing tax measures such as a tax on Multinational Corporations (MNCs), a global wealth tax, a carbon tax, a Tobin Tax.
  • Introducing an annual tax of 0.2% on corporations’ stock shares for all publicly listed companies headquartered in G20 countries. The tax would raise approximately $180bn each year and could be used to fund global public goods, address global externalities and build an international global sovereign fund.

Well-being and social cohesion beyond GDP

  • Using Italy’s G20 agenda (based on “People, Planet and Prosperity”) as an innovative way to measure economic and social development by adding to “traditional” indicators (such as GDP growth and GINI coefficient) further dimensions such as “agency”, “solidarity”, “environmental sustainability”

Task Force on Social Cohesion