Social protection a central global goal for ending poverty and enhancing human capital – Brief

Social protection a central global goal for ending poverty and enhancing human capital – Brief
11 October 2021

by Sajanika Sivanu, Climate Centre, Bonn

A new Climate Centre brief reiterates support for the plan of action on climate-related loss and damage developed by the UNFCCC’s ‘Technical expert group on comprehensive risk management’ (TEG-CRM).

Jointly authored with German Development Institute and ActionAid, the brief looks at policy gaps in implementing social protection to support action on loss and damage at the national level, and outlines areas for capacity-building in countries from the global South.

While social protection was cut amid the austerity measures after the 2008 financial crisis, the Covid pandemic has triggered its expansion by governments around the world.

“Strengthening national social protection systems is a central global policy goal to ending poverty and enhancing human capital,” according to the authors of Social protection for climate-induced loss and damage: Priority areas for increasing capacity and investment in developing countries.

The new brief recommends priorities to strengthen social protection to minimize damage from climate extremes and slow-onset hazards such as such as desertification, rising sea-levels and lost biodiversity.

Social protection can also blunt less tangible, non-economic impacts on human health, natural resources, migration and social cohesion.

‘Social protection could help minimize,
avert, and address loss and damage
in vulnerable developing states’

Nevertheless, these approaches face limitations linked to a narrow focus and weak integration with broader agendas and national strategies.

The brief also identifies priorities for increasing capacity and investment in action on national policy and implementation, as well as and knowledge and technical capacities.

“Social protection should not be considered only as a disaster risk management instrument but as a system that has the potential to help minimize, avert, and address residual loss and damage in vulnerable developing states”.

Turning to national policy, the authors call for further exploration of the use of climate finance for social protection, the establishing of links to anticipatory systems, and recognizing informal social protection mechanisms.

Recommendations for building knowledge and technical capacity include the integration of climate information into social protection at multiple levels and the involvement of local knowledge.

Also emphasized are investments in technology for stronger administrative systems, partnering with local actors, and engaging in knowledge sharing and collaboration across stakeholder networks.

In July and August 2016 the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society conducted distributions of humanitarian cash to 1,700 families in Bogra district severely affected by monsoon floods, as part of the forecast-based financing in the country. The operation piloted a new money-transfer system via mobile phones in conjunction with Post Office. The photo shows the youngest beneficiary in Kamalpur on 2 August. (Photo: Olaf Neussner/German Red Cross)