Within Gustavo Petro’s National Development Plan (PND), one of the Government’s major proposals is the creation of a ‘universal and adaptive social protection system’, as a fundamental pillar of one of its five major strategies, that of ‘ Human security and social justice’.

According to the PND document, the aim is for this system to «give a quick response to different shocks that put quality of life at risk», and for this, priority will be given to job creation, «complemented, if necessary, with transfers monetary benefits to the poorest households”, added to the strengthening of instruments that cover the risks of unemployment and old age protection.

One of the instruments proposed in article 52 of the bill of the Development Plan indicates: the creation of a citizen income program, with which it seeks to «harmonize» the transfer programs in charge of the Administrative Department for Social Prosperity ( DPD).

According to the project, the citizen income will consist of the delivery of conditional and unconditional monetary transfers gradually and progressively to households in situations of poverty, extreme poverty and socioeconomic vulnerability, in order to contribute to overcoming poverty and promote social mobility.

Another of the proposals established in the Plan in relation to its ‘Universal and adaptive social protection system’ is a «support strategy for households in extreme poverty» and establishes that the Department of Social Prosperity (DPC) will implement a family support program and community that seeks to «guide and orient the household or community in its process of social mobility and carry out the management that promotes preferential access to the relevant social offer.»

A third element is economic protection in old age and healthy aging. «The mechanisms existing to date will be reviewed and reformed,» indicates the Plan document, and reiterates that a pension reform will be carried out with a focus on the guarantee of rights. Among the changes that are proposed, in addition to the strengthening of Colpensiones, is the decrease in contributions to health, from 12% to 10%, by pensioners who earn between two and three minimum wages.

For this point, it is also proposed to implement a «National Public Policy on Aging and Old Age under the principle of individual, family, social and state co-responsibility», and to strengthen actions to prevent and care for violence against the elderly.

Another element within the system proposed by the PND is the design of a protection scheme against unemployment redefining the «Unemployment Protection Mechanism», which, according to the document, will respond to the needs of the unemployed and unemployed population, including workers formal and informal.

According to the plan, this scheme will contemplate «the exploration of new forms of financing for those who do not access the offer of the Family Subsidy System.»

Finally, the Plan indicates that the workers of the «Popular and Community Economy» will have access to protection for old age, occupational risks and the health system, and proposes the design of a specific access route to the plans, programs and social assistance projects.

The analysis

For Juan Carlos Guataquí, labor policy consultant, there are three points that can be kept in mind in relation to the proposal for this system.

“From a public policy perspective, whenever the creation of a system is mentioned, you don’t know if you should feel worried or relieved. Since 2010, when the Ministry of Social Protection was separated from that of Health and Labor, there were around 17 systems associated with the labor and social security sector, and what was recommended was more to eliminate than to create new systems, ”he explained.

Secondly, Guataquí suggested «seeing how to approach this system within the systems that created Law 100, and if it is compatible or if it goes against it», and thirdly, «see if these are issues to be addressed in reforms such as labor or pension, or on the contrary if they should go in the Development Plan”.

human security

One of the five major axes of the National Development Plan is ‘Human Security and Social Justice’, for which $743.7 billion will be allocated over the next four years, more than half of the total resources of the PND.

In this component, according to the plan, a «transformation of social policy» is proposed, integrating «protection of life with legal and institutional security, as well as economic and social security.»

The document points out a series of structural elements such as «a universal and adaptive social protection system and a physical and digital infrastructure for life and good living», among others.