Social protection

Enhancing human capital and productivity

Many people across the world still live in poverty, worsened by extreme weather and climate events. Social protection can help them cope with some of these crises and is a development priority for governments and the Climate Centre. 

Social protection can effectively enhance human capital and productivity, and reduce poverty and inequality. The Climate Centre’s approach is to view social policies and programmes as key to an overall strategy to manage risks, build resilience and end poverty.

Our vision for social protection takes climate risks into account and helps the most vulnerable anticipate, absorb and adapt to climate impacts. 

The Climate Centre works with donors, national governments, and local communities in identifying risks and vulnerabilities, providing access to climate information, and improving existing systems through practical action and innovation.

As part of our pioneering efforts, we are also exploring the potential of connecting early warning and early action and forecast-based action with social protection to strengthen timely and adequate last-mile support.

Policy for social protection and climate action

Policy for social protection and climate action

This brief outlines the shared objectives of social protection and climate action. It explores how including social protection in national climate policy can enhance benefits and establish social protection as a tool for managing climate risk.

Read the brief

Universal Social Protection 2030

The Climate Centre has been jointly providing strategic leadership to the USP2030 working group on social protection and climate since its inception in 2020 with the Big Ideas meeting in London.

The group brings together actors in the social protection and climate sector to share experience and find opportunities for collaboration. The ILO and FAO are currently co-chairing it with the Climate Centre.

Anticipatory action

The Climate Centre has been supporting National Societies in exploring how social protection can support anticipatory action. One example is the 2022 Nigerian simplified early action protocol, which includes cash assistance amid riverine floods.

The Nigerian Red Cross in central Kaduna city carried out a humanitarian cash distribution triggered by a local forecast to beneficiaries from 5,000 households registered as vulnerable to floods.

It was part of a programme on flood-related shock-responsive social protection supported by the European Commission and implemented by the NRC in partnership with UNICEF, the IFRC and the Climate Centre.

It was only the second time such an exercise involving the Red Cross Red Crescent has been carried out anywhere in the world, after a similar intervention in Nepal in 2021, also supported by the European Commission.


Social protection and WASH

This brief explores the connections between social protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. It offers recommendations to National Societies and other agencies on how to integrate the shared objectives of these two sectors and reap co-benefits.

At right, a child at a handwashing demonstration by the Indian Red Cross Society in Morigaon district, Assam in September 2020. (Photo: IRCS)

Read the brief
Social protection and WASH

International Labour Organization

Climate policies should make use of existing social protection mechanisms to protect people during seasonal and recurrent crises, says the ILO.

Such systems need to be flexible and responsive to shocks: What is your country doing? the ILO asks.

Social protection for a just transition (ILO 2023)