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Adaptive Social Protection: promoting knowledge sharing and innovation

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Alexandra Doyle

The crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and its immediate and long-term economic consequences for poor and vulnerable people has put a spotlight on the importance of social protection to help mitigate the effects of large-scale shocks. It has highlighted that social protection plays an important role not only in protecting people from individual life-cycle risks, but also in cushioning the negative consequences of covariate shocks affecting large groups of people simultaneously. The use of social protection systems in managing covariate shocks is usually framed conceptually under the term “Adaptive Social Protection” (ASP). The ASP approach points to strengthening people’s capacities to prepare for, cope with, and adapt to shocks. It also aims at reinforcing social protection systems to better meet people’s needs by scaling up routine social protection delivery to changed contexts and needs.

Challenges

Whereas various conceptual approaches to ASP exist, its practical operationalisation confronts many partner countries with enormous challenges. The capacities for shock-responsive and crisis-adaptive design and implementation of social protection systems in partner countries are still inadequate, despite a widespread and strong desire for reform. International guidance is still lacking and operational experiences and learnings on what works and what doesn’t are not yet sufficiently distilled, built on and shared in many partner countries.

Our approach

We are providing knowledge products and capacity building on ASP through:

  • Global Knowledge Exchange on ASP: in close cooperation with GIZ and socialprotection.org, our experts support the conceptual preparation and implementation for up to 10 webinars. A recent example of this is a webinar on digital social protection and the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 crisis on socialprotection.org. Additionally, we will support the preparation and implementation of one international conference to take place in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Pushing the conceptual boundaries: as part of the work on supporting countries, experts support regional / national workshops that are taking place between September 2021 and March 2023. A core topic is social protection information systems including social registries and integrating interoperable digital tools into the design and delivery of social protection programmes.
  • Deep-dives: Deep dives with partner countries implemented by the GIZ programme are supported by our experts. The country specific advisory includes building capacities within key institutions to shape issues around policy creation, programme design, mandates and roles, and developing strategies over the short, medium and longer term, and facilitating peer-exchange among partner countries.

Outcomes

The GIZ Global Programme Social Protection Innovation and Learning  receives the technical support needed to promote cross-border knowledge exchange, learning and innovations within the field of ASP. The programme’s component follows a multi-stakeholder approach by acting as a mediator between partner countries institutions, scientific institutes, and bilateral and multilateral development organisations.

Reports on webinars held through this project are published on socialprotection.org (see Africa webinar report, LAC webinar report, and Asia webinar report).