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Responding to a crisis: the design and delivery of social protection

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Francesca Bastagli

Briefing/policy papers

One of the main objectives of social protection is to help households cope with adverse events, including shocks that affect entire communities or large parts of a country’s population at the same time, known as covariate shocks. Its effectiveness in such contexts hinges on its timeliness, adaptability and adequacy in terms of financial resources. A recent ODI study examines the policy design and implementation details that facilitate the scale-up of social protection in the event of a covariate shock as well as the financing mechanisms and planning initiatives to promote shock-responsive social protection.The main policy implications emerging from the study are:

  • Countries with formal social protection schemes are better equipped to respond to shocks than countries without them.

  • The three main challenges to shock-responsive social protection are: lack of policy flexibility and adaptive capacity, inadequate financing for rapid scale-up and weak preparedness.

  • Having a system in place that can be expanded and adapted to accommodate increased need is critical to effective social protection provision in the event of a shock.

  • Looking ahead, shock preparedness has much to gain from strengthened integration of social protection, humanitarian response and disaster risk reduction interventions.

Francesca Bastagli