Mapping social protection in future-climate scenarios

Mapping social protection in future-climate scenarios
12 February 2020

The first of a series of expert meetings for 2020 on social protection options in various future-climate scenarios was held in London yesterday.

Systems for managing risk “are already being profoundly restructured” because of climate change, organizers said, and many agencies are recognizing the importance of adaptable social protection that can respond to shocks in dealing with its consequences.

However, they added that it’s not yet clear precisely what role social protection might play under different future-climate change scenarios, or what are the investments needed to support it, or how to coordinate adaptation, risk reduction and humanitarian action.

The London event, at the Friends House conference centre, was jointly hosted by the UK Department for International Develoment (DFID), the UK-based global think tank the Overseas Development Institute, the World Bank, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the British Red Cross, and the Climate Centre.

Heather Kindness, Social Protection Team Leader at DFID, helped the group of at least 40 experts identify different entry points in the social protection and climate relationship, and argued for “keeping things simple” while building big ideas and driving large-scale interventions.


David Peppiatt, Director of Humanitarian Cash Assistance at the British Red Cross, said an “intersectoral approach” was critical to reducing human vulnerability to climate shocks and stresses.

IIED Director Andrew Norton said the role of social protection extended beyond increasing resilience to contributing to a “transformative agenda based on labour- and social-protection programmes, including employment guarantees.”

Joining the team of 40 experts by video link, Climate Centre Director Maarten van Aalst emphasized that we are facing a completely different climate as well as significant risks; adaptation in the future will depend not only on climate systems but also on how development progresses and how future risks are tackled.

The discussions focused on long-term goals and included brainstorming among agencies represented on questions like how different institutions can come together, what the future of work looks like, and how can climate financing be mobilized.

Other meetings this year on climate and social protection will leverage the expertise of experts from governments, civil society, multilateral agencies and think tanks and, it’s hoped, help conversations in the social protection field that are centred on climate gather pace.

Big ideas on social protection and climate made visual. A graphic by the Climate Centre’s Learning Adviser, Rebeka Ryvola, who jointly leads its interactivity team seeking new ways to reach vulnerable people, including visual tools for learning and advocacy. (Image: Climate Centre)