Effective social protection is critical to reduce vulnerability and support timely recovery. However, to date, national systems have been too underdeveloped or not flexible enough to allow them to expand before or during emergencies. Despite these shortcomings, many countries in Asia-Pacific are relying on social protection mechanisms to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis, reaching millions of people with cash-based assistance and other forms of support.
This brief was developed by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). This brief explores how countries in the region are leveraging social protection systems in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the challenges and successes to date. The brief also draws attention to lessons from the region, including how to ensure social protection systems are in place before a shock occurs. It also explores financing options to expand social protection coverage, especially to help reduce disaster-related vulnerability.
The brief reflects interventions and feedback from the UNDRR Asia-Pacific webinar on 28 May 2020, titled ‘Disaster-Responsive Social Protection: Lessons from COVID-19.’