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Social protection response to Covid-19 and beyond: lessons learned for adaptive social protection

Hero image description: Covid-19 citizens in South Africa. Photo: Government of South Africa, CC BY-ND 2.0 Image credit:Government of South Africa Image license:CC BY-ND 2.0

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, an unprecedented number of social protection measures have been announced by countries worldwide. Policy adjustments and innovations under way include efforts to address social protection gaps and expand support in the immediate instance. They also hold potential to strengthen social protection in the long-term.

This research project examines social protection measures adopted since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, with the aims of promoting policy learning and helping ensure countries are better equipped with inclusive, adaptive and sustainable social protection systems moving forward. The research addresses the following sets of questions:

  • Evidence of social protection Covid-19 crisis response implementation: beyond policy announcements, what has been delivered in practice?
  • How effective have these measures been in terms of timely and adequate crisis response, specifically for adversely affected population groups (women, informal workers, urban households, refugees)?
  • What are the implications of such crisis response measures for medium- to long-term social protection system strengthening?
  • What are the emerging policy lessons for adaptive social protection moving forward?

Event - Taking stock at the one-year mark: social protection during COVID-19 and beyond

One year on from the first announcements of lockdown measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, this event brought together leading experts and policymakers to discuss the findings emerging from this study and wider evidence to share policy learning to date. It asked: is the crisis a turning point in social protection? On the basis of policy developments and evidence to date, is the pandemic opening the door for a reappraisal of investment in social protection, as suggested by some? If so, what are the policy priorities for governments and partners moving forward to help ensure the strengthening of social protection systems?

Speakers included:

Francesca Bastagli, Director, Equity and Social Policy, ODI 

Armando Barrientos, Professor of Poverty and Social Justice at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Bessie Msusa, Chief Economist in the Poverty Reduction and Social Protection Division at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Malawi

Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant of the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Pakistan

Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, South Africa

Ugo Gentilini, Global Lead Social Assistance, World Bank 

Look out for our upcoming podcast series on socialprotection.org where we will also explore the research findings in more depth.