Amidst the health, social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the need for adequate and comprehensive social protection has become more evident than ever. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for national governments to the urgency of accelerating progress in building and expanding social protection systems to leave no one behind. In this context, aimed to provide a space for taking stock of, exchanging information about and facilitating learning on the social protection responses to COVID-19.  

From 5 to 8 October 2020, the Global e-Conference “Turning the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity: What’s next for social protection? has served as a common space for the global social protection community to share innovative ideas and practical insights, and brainstorm about the future of social protection in a post pandemic world. More than 2,150 participants among social protection practitioners, policymakers, academics and enthusiasts from all over the world engaged in fruitful discussions about social protection responses to COVID-19. The e-Conference also marked’s 5th anniversary, consolidating the platform as a tool for knowledge sharing and capacity building on social protection. 

The event offered 72 sessions in different formats, organised in collaboration with 55 organisations, that allowed participants to personalise their learning journeys. On the first day of activities, we used a regional lens to assess the various social protection responses across different regions. Day 2 applied a thematic approach to address specific questions related to COVID-19 and beyond through round tables, clinics and virtual booth talks. The third day was reserved for Side Events organised by some of our partners. And on the fourth and last day of the event, special guests summarised the discussions, lessons learned and conclusions of the previous days and participated in discussions about the future of social protection. 

Predicting what is next for social protection is not an easy task, but the regional and thematic discussions showed that there are strong indications that this crisis can indeed be turned into an opportunity, despite the many challenges still ahead. Below are some key examples:  

  • Although a lot still needs to be done, the use of technology has been shown to help reach people previously not covered by social protection and might, in the long run, help to enhance digital and financial inclusion.  
  • In many countries, the crisis has helped to set up or enhance social registries, a key building block for comprehensive social protection systems.  
  • This has also been an opportunity to test and strengthen coordination, not only among different government stakeholders, but also among international partners. 
  • Turning this crisis into an opportunity is more than ever a question of political will, and there are promising signs at the moment. Given the attention that social protection has gained now and the desire of governments to secure livelihoods as we move into the recovery period, there is a real opportunity to bring forward social protection systems. 
  • This is also strongly connected with identifying and building fiscal space for social protection financing now and in future. To turn this crisis into an opportunity, governments will need to invest more and better in social protection systems. 
  • And finally, the crisis has helped to bring countries together and allowed them to learn from each other, as this conference also aimed to do!     

The team and partners have created a summary of each session of the event which you can find below. We have documented the main take-aways of the discussions and provided the links to the recordings. Please note that the recordings which include simultaneous translations into French and Spanish will be available soon.  

If you would like to know more about the history of our platform and the achievements we were celebrating, you can watch the videos we produced exclusively for the event: the milestones video which marks our 5th anniversary; the webinars video that illustrates our most well-known feature; and the Social Protection Responses to COVID-19 video which showcases the outcomes of our task force initiative. 

We are proud and delighted that we had the opportunity to host this event and bring together the lively and diverse social protection community around the world. We would like to, once again, express our gratitude to everyone involved and hope to see you again in future events where we can continue to move towards our common objectives.  


Panel sessions and presentations  

Conference Openings 

Each opening session focused on a specific region and set the scene for the conference with welcoming statements from key actors. The sessions provided a brief overview of's milestones over the past 5 years and presented the highlights of the responses to COVID-19 Task Force. Next, and its partners welcomed participants and underlined the conference's objectives, gave an overview of the interactive tools that would be used throughout the event and presented the guiding questions (ensuring adequacy, comprehensiveness and coverage of COVID-19 social protection responses, with an approach that is timely and predictable, cost-effective, accountable to affected populations and sustainable, while building on existing delivery systems). 

Speakers: Mariana Balboni, Michal Rutkowski, Shahrashoub Razavi, Katyna Argueta, Lisa Hannigan, Kathrin Oellers 

Moderator: Jost Wagner 

Link for the recording – Asia Pacific 


Link for the recording – Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa 

Link for the recording in French - Sub-saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa


Link for the recording – Latin America and the Caribbean 

Link for the recording in Spanish – Latin America and the Caribbean 


Regional discussions: Social protection responses to COVID-19 – regional insights  

Three different panels brought social protection experts from the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and government representatives to present and discuss diverse social protection responses to COVID-19 in specific regions (see below), based on an UNDP and GIZ-supported analytical mapping. The sessions showed that different countries and regions achieved very different outcomes across key areas of interest  (e.g. coverage, adequacy, comprehensiveness, timeliness)  depending on the strength of existing SP systems – for example, existing information systems played a major role in many of the cases presented. Each regional overview was followed by more detailed presentations from country representatives, who discussed the main actions, challenges and achievements of the social protection programmes implemented in their respective countries, followed by a Q&A session. 

  • Country cases for Asia Pacific: Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka 
  • Country cases for Latin America and the Caribbean: Brazil, Chile and Guatemala 
  • Country cases for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa: Jordan, Morocco and Namibia 


Speakers - Asia Pacific: Fabio Veras Soares, Bapak Maliki, Marina Andrade, Sania Nishtar, H.E. Theng Pagnathun 

Moderator: Wendy Walker 

Link for the recording – Asia Pacific  


Speakers - Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa: Charlotte Bilo, Lena Gronbach, Samman J. Thapa, H.E. Ms. Antoinette Dinga-Dzondo, H.E. Ms. Basma, Mousa Ishaqat, Ahmed Berrada, Tulimeke Munyika

Moderator: Renata Nowak-Garmer 

Link for the recording – Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa 

Link for the recording in French - Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa


Speakers - Latin America and the Caribbean: Anna Carolina Machado, Fabiana Rodopoulos, Alejandra Candia Díaz, H.E.  Raúl Romero, Nurth Palomo, Laura Pabon, Nilza Emy Yamasaki 

Moderator: Simone Cecchini 

Link for the recording – Latin America and the Caribbean 

Link for the recording in Spanish – Latin America and the Caribbean 


Open peer-to-peer exchanges: Country experiences, lessons learnt and the potential way forward 

These sessions functioned as virtual World Cafés, a structured conversational process for knowledge sharing in which groups of people discuss a topic at several small tables like those in a café. Participants engaged in peer-to-peer dialogue in breakout rooms with up to 10 people (sometimes in rooms exclusive for Spanish and French speakers). In this intimate space, participants had the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge on Social Protection Responses to COVID-19 from their country or programmatic work. To allow for genuine and open dialogue, these sessions were not recorded. However, the outcomes of the discussions were presented before the end of each session. 


Taking stock and reflecting on the discussions of the regional and thematic sessions  

This session occurred in the last day of the event, so speakers summarised and reflected on the key insights and takeaways from the thematic discussions in all sessions of the e-conference. They also highlighted inputs and comments from participants in the collaborative tools and sessions – including personal commitments and action plans. 

Speakers: Wendy Walker, Renata Nowak-Garmer, Simone Cecchini, Valentina Barca, Samman J. Thapa, Martina Bergthaller  

Moderator: Jost Wagner 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish

Link for the recording in French


Expert panel discussion 1: Implications of the COVID-19 crisis for the future of adaptive and shock-responsive social protection 

This panel discussed what needs to be done to ensure that social protection programmes and systems are better prepared and ready to respond to systematic crises and shocks in the future – acknowledging the unprecedented role social protection has played in this crisis. Speakers argued that the countries best positioned to respond were those with stronger systems – meaning that building core programmes that work together across social insurance and assistance is a fundamental ‘step zero’. These programmes might be further improved if they use the crisis as an  opportunity to address gaps (in terms of coverage, adequacy, comprehensiveness, etc.) and strengthen delivery systems, capacity and overall ‘preparedness’ – based on an understanding of the typical shocks countries are vulnerable to. Social protection is ultimately about addressing poverty and vulnerability, no matter how this emerges, and this includes building resilience to – and responding to covariate shocks alongside other sectors with this mandate!  

Speakers: Thomas Bowen, Clare O'Brien, Patricia Miarisoa Rakotonirina, Bapak Maliki, Francesca Bastagli 

Moderator: Rodolfo Beazley 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish

Link for the recording in French


Expert panel discussion 2: Implications of the COVID-19 crisis for universal social protection 

This panel focused on ways to sustain the social protection responses that have emerged during this crisis in the long term.It also stressed the stark differences across countries and regions - lower income countries invested far less resources, countries lacking social protection systems were unable to respond at scale and in a timely manner, etc.In this sense, COVID-19 has been a ‘big revealer’. Speakers debated about how to best ensure equitable access to comprehensive risk coverage for the entire population through a coherent system in the future with a particular focus on those who have been consistently ‘left out’ - informal workers. A fruitful discussion ensued about how this system could be financed, with a strong call to avoid “stumbling through this crisis, leaving ourselves exposed and unprepared for future shocks”, and to fight the temptation to fall into an austerity trap by embracing more sustainable and equitable domestic financing for social protection. 

Speakers: Michal Rutkowski, Shahrashoub Razavi, Natalia Winder Rossi, Rachel Moussié, Juan M. Villa 

Moderator: Fabio Veras Soares 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish

Link for the recording in French


Closing remarks 

This session wrapped-up the conference, highlighting some high level takeaways, followed by closing remarks from's coordinator.  

Speaker: Mariana Balboni 

Moderator: Jost Wagner 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish

Link for the recording in French



These sessions allowed organisations working in the field of social protection to propose their topics of interest and engage in an open discussion with experts, while also involving the audience. In these virtual round-tables, current pressing topics derived from experiences with the COVID-19 crisis were discussed by selected experts with a focus on the future of social protection.  


RT 1 - Health protection and sickness benefits to face pandemics 

This round-table shed light on the key elements that supported effective responses to COVID-19 by existing health protection systems and highlighted the importance of having a strong system in place to react quickly to pandemics. Access to health services for all and income support for people affected by diseasesare equally important in this regard. Panelists highlighted the importance of strong institutions and entitlements embedded in legal frameworks. 

Country cases showcased some of these important take-aways: South Korea and Vietnam were able to tap onto their SHP systems and Cambodia was able to coordinate cash and care measures effectively through an efficient social protection inter-agency coordination mechanism. 

Speakers: Knut Lönnroth, Marielle Phe Goursat, Dr Hee Chung Kang, Sambo Pheakday, Nguyen Khanh Phuong 

Moderator: Luis Frota 

Link for the recording 


RT 2 - Older people's livelihoods and social protection during COVID-19 and beyond 

Older people are particularly at risk in the wake of the current pandemic, as the risk of serious illness and death increases with age. But the crisis has also increased the socio-economic vulnerabilities of the elderly population. Many are facing difficulties accessing emergency cash transfers due to physical or digital challenges. The round-table discussed what social protection practitioners can do to ensure that those hardest hit by the virus are not pushed (further) into poverty. Panellists concluded that universal pension coverage is needed to build back better. An important point that was highlighted is the fact that the impact of COVID-19 is felt differently by older women and men with older women bearing the brunt of the social and economic impacts. The pandemic was framed as an opportunity for building up more gender-responsive and age-sensitive social protection systems. 

Insightful country cases elaborated in more detail during this session include China, Thailand and Korea. 

See also this brief on the topic. 

Speakers: Nuno Cunha, Aura Sevilla, Rosita Lacson  

Moderator: Florian Juergens 

Link for the recording 


RT 3 - Financing universal social protection during COVID-19 and beyond: A case for national and global solidarity to build social protection systems which are adequate, sustainable and adapted to developments in the world of work 

Social protection financing is a critical issue that was discussed in almost all sessions throughout the e-conference. Panelists of this round-table stressed that COVID-19 has  demonstrated in dramatic fashion the consequences of high coverage gaps linked to significant financing gaps in social protection: as many as four billion people were completely unprotected when the crisis hit. They concluded that in order to fulfil the global community’s commitments to extend social protection coverage to all, considerable investment and mobilization of domestic as well as international resources is required. Yet, it is not sufficient to simply invest more, it is crucial to also invest better.  

In this regard Bangladesh stands out as an interesting country case: The Government, social and development partners joined forces to protect workers in the highly affected  garment sector through a short-term cash transfer programme, while already considering how to ensure long-term sustainable financing. 

Speakers: Matthias Thorns, Valérie Schmitt, Nenad Rava, Alison Tate, Ugo Gentilini, Anousheh Karvar, A.K.M Mizanur Rahman 

Moderator: Bart Verstraeten 

Link for the recording 


RT 4 - Unemployment protection and its extension to workers in the informal economy 

The ILO has estimated that 345 million full time equivalent jobs could have been lost in this crisis. Panelists of this round-table discussed what is needed to ‘build back better’ and strengthen unemployment protection. They stated that the current crisis has affected many workers, both in the formal, and even more so, in the informal sectors. While many governments have introduced measures to provide income security for workers whose jobs have been affected by the crisis, these have a) not benefitted informal workers and; b) not been rights-based and sustainable . Panelists, therefore, called for countries to transition from emergency measures to more sustainable mechanisms, establishing or strengthening rights-based unemployment protection schemes, while ensuring policy coordination and coherence between social protection and employment policies.  

“With the COVID-19 crisis and its terrible impact on employment, governments across all regions are introducing emergency unemployment protection measures. It is now, and not when the next crisis will hit, that this global economic shock should be turned into an opportunity to build more sustainable social protection systems and unemployment protection schemes, including for workers in the informal economy.” Celine Peyron Bista, ILO. 

Speakers: Renata Nowak-Garmer, Laura Alfers, Kuppan Vishwananda 

Moderator: Celine Peyron Bista 

Link for the recording 


RT 5 - Overcoming the Food Security and Nutrition Roadblocks in Social Protection Responses to COVID-19 

This session focused on the obstacles, social protection programmes and national systems face in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, to effectively respond to increased levels of vulnerability to hunger and malnutrition, which perpetuate vicious cycles of poverty. Discussions touched on: a) the necessity to build or improve multi-sector coalitions since improving food security and nutrition requires a complex interaction of multi-sector interventions; b) a call for all social protection porgrammes to include food security, nutrition and WASH objectives as a minimum; c) the need for good data including on adequacy of support to address nutritional needs – among many other topics.  

The country cases discussed in more detail in this RT include Ethiopia, Botswana and Pakistan. 

"I implore participants to reflect on a vision that recognises the essential role food security and nutrition play in social protection as we continue the conversation in our organisations, countries and communities"  H.M. King Letsie III of Lesotho  

"The pandemic is a wake up to the reality to urban  population vulnerabilities"Prof. Richard Mkandawire, Chairperson of National Planning Commission, Malawi.  

"The need to strengthen [social protection systems] has never been so widely accepted and the opportunity must be taken"  Stephen Devereux, Institute of Development Studies 

Speakers: His Majesty King Letsie III, Sania Nishtar, Ergogie Tesfaye, Richard Mkandawire, Gerda Verburg, Lawrence Haddad, Stephen Devereux, Michael Samson, Boitshepo “Bibi” Giyose, Purnima Menon, Deborah Ash, John Hoddinott, Olivier de Schutter, Saskia de Pee, Daniel Gilligan, Aullo Gelli 

Moderators: Lola Castro; Juan Gonzalo Jaramillo Mejia; Sarah Laughton; Kathryn Ogden; Christopher Turton 

Link for the recording 


RT 6 - Different perspectives of the role of the ‘political economy’ in building back better social protection systems for the furthest behind in Covid-19 Times. 

This round-table examined the role that the political economy plays in ‘building back better’ social protection systems for those who are furthest behind during COVID-19 times. Panelists highlighted the need to capitalize on the current momentum for social protection. Because of the current pandemic, policy makers have been reflecting on citizens' needs in times of crisis, fiscal space considerations and the critical cost of inaction. They have also been realising that investments in infrastructure alone are not sufficient, and that there is a need to invest in social sectors in an integrated way considering education, livelihoods, jobs, nutrition, health systems and social protection.  Panelists also stated that there is an opportunity to better understand the political economy and incentives/disincentives for integration across humanitarian responses and social protection. Recent examples from Ethiopia, Botswana, South Africa, Thailand, Namibia and Myanmar were presented and discussed during this session.  

The real cost of the crisis is not economic. When we look back, the real cost will be the social crisis - increased inequality, gender-based violence, risk to children who are unable to access on-line learning etc. […] Therefore, you need social protection as the software to make the system work.” Michael Samson, Economic Policy Research Institute. 

Speakers: Michael Samson, Stephen Devereux, Sintayehu Demissie Admasu, Patricia Conboy 

Moderator: Michelle Winthrop 

Link for the recording 


RT 7 - Opportunities for strengthening the links between HCT and SP: Learning from COVID-19 responses 

This lively panel discussed the opportunities that have been created during the pandemic for humanitarian cash actors to ensure that the most vulnerable, some of whom were not covered by existing government-led social protection schemes (where these existed), were included either in humanitarian cash interventions or in expanded SP systems. Speakers discussed the steps required to ensure increased and inclusive coverage and presented country examples of successful expansions. The discussion was rich and provided many insights but a few key points can be highlighted: 1) the importance of leadership not only to build, but also to sustain coordination efforts (e.g. Yemen, Iraq); 2) that flexibility and tailoring is key, accounting for local context, acknowledging that different actors serve different purposes - and therefore harmonisation does not equal homogenization; 3) that a common vision is critical if humanitarian and social protection systems are to truly coordinate along the ‘delivery chain’ (e.g. here). 

The country cases discussed during this round-table that showcased these key takeaways include the Philippines, Nigeria, Yemen, Iraq and Jordan. 

Speakers: Ruta Nimkar, Mays Albaddawi, Aneel Memon, Aimee Santos 

Moderator: Karin Seyfert 

Link for the recording 


RT 8 - Migrant-responsive social protection: Lessons from Covid-19 

This session was convened by Southern African Social Protection Experts Network (SASPEN) alongside IOM, UNICEF and WFP. Speakers stated that the emerging pattern of COVID-19 responses in the past month have shown that government-initiated responses have mainly targeted citizens and the formal economy, with minimal or no indication of policy responses targeting migrants (even in countries where the constitution mentions this, as was the case of South Africa). Yet policy responses should be inclusive of cross-border traders, labour migrants, refugees, undocumented migrant workers, among others who face the same health threats as host populations. According to the speakers, the reason for this goes beyond social justice, social protection for migrants will help reduce the risk of transmission for the entire population while sustaining a source of labour that will be critical for economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.  

Panelists also highlighted a World Bank funded research project that will be looking at social protection access and humanitarian assistance-social protection linkages for IDPs in Colombia, refugees and IDPs in Cameroon, and refugees in Greece.  

Speakers: Giulia Baldi, Marius Olivier, Gift Dafuleya, Jason Theede, Teona Aslanishvili 

Moderator: Evance Kalula 

Link for the recording 


RT 9 - Gender-responsive social protection in times of Covid-19 

The negative effects of COVID-19 have not been gender-neutral. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the socio-economic impacts: from massive increases in unpaid care work due to closure of school and care facilities to increasing rates of gender-based violence and lockdowns disrupting the parts of the informal labour where women are concentrated and where they lack access to social protection. Despite this, most social protection responses to the pandemic have not considered gender in their design and implementation. This session explored the reasons for the lack of response to women and girls’ specific needs. Speakers discussed the steps towards gender-responsive recovery, and how we can act to ensure a better response to the next crisis. The round-table also explored ideas on how we can build back more gender-responsive social protection systems, while highlighting the importance of digitalisation.  

The country cases discussed in this roundtable include India and South Africa where the actions taken to expand   social protection programmes are likely to disproportionately benefit women.  

The recently launched SPIAC-B Gender Working Group Call to Action contains further ideas on this topic, everyone is welcome to look at it, contribute and continue the dialogue.  

Speakers: Renana Jhabvala, Margaret Grosh, Juliana Martínez Franzoni 

Moderator: Caren Grown 

Link for the recording 


RT 10 - Universal child benefits: Pathways to universality 

Children are twice as likely to live in poverty as adults, yet they often receive less social protection coverage, for example, 2 out of 3 children have no access to child or family benefits. The lifelong impacts of a crisis on learning outcomes, growth and health of children can be devastating.  Evidence suggests expanding coverage of child benefits is beneficial not only for children, it also contributes towards economic growth and overall well-being of societies. In the context of COVID-19 responses and recovery questions around the practicalities of universal child benefits are ever more pressing. Building on both country experience and cross-country analysis, this round-table looked in detail at the pathways that countries can take to increase social protection coverage for children and families towards universality. 

Speakers: Francesca Bastagli, Stephen Kidd, Daniel Arroyo, Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Olli Kangas 

Moderator: David Stewart 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish


RT 11 - Transitioning out of emergency transfers: what's next for UBI? 

This round-table explored how a universal basic income (UBI) can help transition out of emergency cash transfers or temporary measures to palliate the effects of a crisis. Panelists highlighted the challenges of implementing UBI and devised ways of addressing them, including the tradeoffs, the political economy as well as its implications for gender. They concluded that a UBI needs to be put in the context of existing social protection programmes and systems and have clear objectives in the design phase, supported by appropriate delivery modalities. Concrete facts and figures on the financial feasibility of this approach were presented during this round-table, showing that a UBI could be within reach for many countries. Panelists also made a call for more research to be conducted on the benefits of UBI when compared to traditional social protection measures.  

The panel also discussed two concrete country cases - Iran and Colombia – and their experiences with UBI, including their challenges and lessons learned.  

Speakers:  Ugo Gentilini, George Gray Molina, Laura Pabon, Louise Haagh, H.E. Ahmad Meidari 

Moderator: Mansour Ndiaye 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish


RT 12 - Economic Inclusion for the Poorest in times of COVID: The potential to Scale through Social Protection Systems 

In this session, the expert panel provided a glimpse of the changing landscape around economic inclusion – featuring safety net, graduation and productive inclusion initiatives. The panel took stock of recent trends and innovations, country experiences in scaling up economic inclusion via existing safety net systems and experiences in linking these investments to the local economy as part of the COVID-19 response. Panelists also provided an outlook on ways to leverage economic inclusion programmes in the recovery phase to make sure that no one is left behind and discussed what is needed to ensure their sustainability and effectiveness beyond the crisis.  A fruitful discussion about the political dynamics and  coordination efforts of governments and development partners to scale up social protection systems ensued.   

There is so much loaded on social protection systems, like a Christmas tree. COVID has made it clear that there should have been a broader mandate in place, in terms of coordination and collaboration between various ministries […]. There needs to be a holistic response. Otherwise there will be an erosion of progress.” Lauren Whitehead, BRAC 

Speakers: Benjamin Davis, Susan Kondowe, Lauren Whitehead 

Moderator: Colin Andrews 

Link for the recording 


RT 13 - Bridging the disability inequality gap: Changes needed for an inclusive COVID 19 response and recovery 

The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the inequalities faced by people with disabilities and highlighted the limitations of social protection systems in providing support and relief to this population. This round-table explored the inclusiveness of current practices of social protection schemes. Key lessons learned from countries that have strived to provide support include: 1) the importance of an inclusive and accessible unique/social registry with data about households with persons with disabilities - combined with national disability registries; 2) the need for disability, gender and age-disaggregated data to plan and monitor inclusion; and 3) the need to move towards universal disability allowances compatible with work and other income support to ensure adequate coverage, support resilience and economic empowerment, and facilitate rapid response in case of covariate shocks.  

Kenya’s inclusive social protection response to COVID-19 stands out in this regard: an additional disability cash transfer programme as a direct response to the pandemic has been initiated by the government, in close collaboration with organisations for persons with disabilities at the national and local level to quickly identify beneficiaries. Other interesting country cases discussed during this session include Lebanon, Syria, the Dominican Republic and Fiji. 

Speakers: Luca Pellerano, Veronika Wodsak, Phoebe A Nyagudi, Jefrey Lizardo Ortiz, Hala Darwish, Salote Biukoto, Atif Khurshid 

Moderator: Jose Vieira 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish


RT 14 - Use of data and microsimulations to inform the response and recovery 

It is estimated that in LAC countries COVID-19 can take us back 15 years in the proggress towards poverty reduction. However, it is promising to see the rapid and comprehensive response that governments from the region have implemented to mitigate the effects of the socioeconomic crisis. This round-table gave an insight into how microsimulations can be used to generate evidence on the possible offsetting effect that social protection can have over the estimated increase in monetary poverty. The microsimulations allow us to consider scenarios in terms of confinement measures (and their impact on jobs, income and poverty) as well as different social protection responses and could be an interesting forecasting tool for policy makers.  

One of the examples presented in this session was that of St Lucia, where the microsimulation model is available to the public, so anyone can use and run different analyses and scenarios based on their own assumptions: Link  

Speakers: Jairo Núñez Méndez, Pablo Lavado, Roberto Angulo, Melten Aran 

Moderator: Monica Rubio 

Link for the recording 

Link for the recording in Spanish



'Clinic' sessions were an opportunity for participants to ask practical, technical questions on various topics that have been very relevant to the COVID-19 social protection response. These were either answered during the session or via a subsequent written discussion forum. The sessions were staffed and moderated by designated 'resource people' on that topic, but answers were provided by peers as well: we are all experts and can all learn from each other's country experiences. Each clinic had two sessions, accommodating for participants in different time zones. 

Clinic 1 - Financing social protection for future shocks 

This session focused on options for financing social protection expansions in light of future shocks. Participants tackled critical questions around financing gaps – both for routine provision and for responding to crises in a timely manner (e.g. via Disaster Risk Financing). Participants discussed interesting topics like the merit of the idea of a global fund for social protection and the importance of advocating with finance ministries. Country examples mentioned included Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Philippines and Nepal. Read the thematic Discussion Forum for more insights & answers to key questions asked. 

Resource People - Session A: Dinanath Bhandari, Benedikt Lukas Signer, Stefan Urban 

Resource People - Session B: Felix Lung, Barry Maher, Daniel Longhurst, Karin Seyfert, Sophie Evans 

Moderator Session A: Sophie Evans 

Moderator - Session B: Edward Archibald  

Link for the recording – Session A 

Link for the recording – Session B 


Clinic 2 - Gender and disability-responsive social protection in times of COVID-19 and beyond 

Participants discussed how to ensure gender and disability are fully integrated into COVID-19 responses and beyond, how policy and programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation can be better tailored to meet the needs of women, men, girls and boys, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable or excluded groups, and how social protection responses to COVID-19 can be opportunities to deliver transformational gender and disability outcomes. One of the core messages that emerged is that no programme is ‘neutral’, unless it is explicitly designed and implemented to support women and people with disabilities! Read the Discussion Forum for more insights & answers to key questions asked. 

Resource People - Session A: Sinta Satriana, Abner Manlapaz, Alexandre Cote 

Resource People - Session B: Meenakshi Balasubramanian, Alexandre Cote, Amber Peterman, Elayn Sammon, Lara Quarterman, Rebecca Holmes 

Moderator - Sessions A and BClare McCrum 

Link for the recording – Session A 

Link for the recording – Session B 


Clinic 3 - (Digital) solutions for social protection responses to COVID-19: payments 

This session focused on the approaches adopted to safely pay new caseloads during the COVID-19 response, and lessons learned for the future. Many critical case studies were reviewed and implications drawn for the future of digital payments – including some ‘top practical tips’ on choosing payment service providers and other topics. Read the Discussion Forum for more insights and answers to key questions asked! 

Resource People - Session A: William Derban, Joscha Albert, Lena Gronbach 

Resource People - Session B: William Derban, Rodolfo Beazley, Silvia Baur-Yazbeck, Kathryn Glynn-Broderick, John Bomquist, Alan Gelb, Ines Rodriguez Caillava 

Moderator - Session A: Veronika Wodsak  

Moderator - Session B: Rodrigo Ortiz D’avila Assumpção 

Link for the recording – Session A 

Link for the recording – Session B 


Clinic 4 - Preparing our social protection sector for future shocks in times of COVID-19 and beyond, working alongside the humanitarian sector 

Participants explored the necessary actions for preparing the social protection sector for future shocks, especially in countries with nascent or non-existent social protection systems. They discussed key insights emerging from COVID-19 responses as well as countries that have been taking ‘preparedness’ seriously, working alongside humanitarian actors creatively. An interesting discussion also ensued about coordination challenges and how these can be overcome! Read the Discussion Forum for insights and answers to key questions asked.

Resource People - Session A and BSeveral specialists from TRANSFORM, SPACE, the Online Community on Social Protection in Crisis Contexts and the Grand Bargain Cash Sub Group on Liking SP and HCTs will be on hand during the clinic; the ‘experts’ to answer questions were the participants. 

Moderator - Session A and BZehra Fatima Rizvi 

Link for the recording – Session A 

Link for the recording – Session B 


Clinic 5 - Linking social protection, employment and economic inclusion in times of COVID-19 and beyond 

The focus of this session was on linking social protection responses to employment and economic inclusion initiatives, in the short and medium/long term. Participants discussed how countries have been doing this, stressing that “in normal times, pre COVID-19, getting vulnerable people into secure livelihoods was difficult. COVID-19 might make this even more difficult - but given the focus social protection now has and the desire of governments to get people back into work as we move into the recovery period, there is a real opportunity to build livelihood and employment linkages into social protection systems.” Read the Discussion Forum for more insights and answers to key questions asked! 

Resource People - Sessions A and BMarlowe Popes, Julie Kedroske, Thierry Fiquet, Miguel Peromingo, Anna McCord, Carolina de Miranda, Rodolfo Beazley, Laura Alfers, Renata Nowak, Sameer Khatiwada, Frederique Leprince 

Moderator - Sessions A and B: Aude de Montesquiou 

Link for the recording – Session A 

Link for the recording – Session B 


Clinic 6 - (Digital) solutions for social protection responses to COVID-19: outreach, registration and enrolment 

In this session, participants focused on the approaches adopted to register and enrol new caseloads during the COVID-19 response, and lessons learned for the future. They discussed how the COVID-19 crisis has triggered a lot of innovation, partly because of the nature of the crisis itself. However, many of these experiences have been concentrated in certain countries, where existing systems had been built, strengthened, tried and tested over time – and even in those countries there were challenges that would require preparedness measures going forward. Read the Discussion Forum for more insights and answers to key questions asked! 

Resource People - Sessions A and BRalf Radermacher, Rachel Strohm, Rodrigo Ortiz D’avila Assumpção, Veronika Wodsak, Raul Julian Ruggia Frick, Tania Nino, Emrys Schoemaker, John Blomquist, Alan Gelb, Phillippe George Leite, Ines Rodriguez Caillava 

Moderator - Session A: Valentina Barca 

Moderator - Session B: Rodolfo Beazley 

Link for the recording – Session A

Link for the recording – Session B 


Clinic 7 - Linking - and transitioning between - non-contributory (social assistance) and contributory (social insurance) social protection for informal workers and beyond 

Participants discussed issues around the centrality of links between non-contributory (social assistance) and contributory (social insurance) elements of social protection systems, including on: facilitating transitions between different schemes, designing and implementing contributory schemes that provide for subsidized contributions or exemptions for those with low incomes, measures to promote solidarity and risk-sharing and avoid fragmentation and exclusion, broader policies and strategies that promote the extension of social security coverage to those in the informal economy; and ensuring a gender-responsive and disability-inclusive approach. See the Discussion Forum for more insights and answers to key questions asked! 

Resource People - Sessions A and B: Laura Alfers, Ludovico Carraro, Nuno Cunha, Jasmina Papa, Luca Pellerano 

Moderator - Sessions A and BChristina Behrendt, Quynh Anh Nguyen 

Link for the recording – Session A  

Link for the recording – Session B 


Side Events 

Side Events were sessions organised by key stakeholders on social protection to discuss prominent topics and recent research on varied topics. 


Side event 1: A Global Fund for Social Protection 

The global community of nations has long decided to ensure the human right of all people to social protection. Studies have shown that ensuring a basic level of social protection for all is affordable for most countries and for the global community of nations. A solidarity-based Global Fund for Social Protection could support countries to design, implement and, in specific cases, co-finance national floors of social protection. This side event offered civil society and academic perspectives on the proposal of a Global Fund for Social Protection and gave room to discuss ways and means of turning this idea into reality. 

Speakers: Valérie Schmitt, Gabriel Fernandez, Markus Kaltenborn, Sulistri Afrileston, Michael Cichon, Marcus Manuel 

Moderator: Alison Tate 

Link for the recording 


Side event 2: Expanding Social Protection to Decrease Inequality 

This session explored what is needed to scale up social protection systems to decrease inequality and meet the challenge from the economic crisis following COVID-19. Speakers shared experiences from Europe on how different social protection schemes impact inequalities, linking to wider lessons from the latest decade of expansion of social protection in Asia and Africa with a specific example from Kenya showing the role of national governments and links to the role of international development agencies for supporting the vision of Universal Social Protection 2030. Key quote: “Covid-19  has been called a “game changer” for social protection, an alarm bell for expansion.  How we choose to invest in social protection now will define what types of societies we have in the future” 

Speakers: Carin Jämtin, Michael Samson, Joakim Palme, Winnie Fiona Mwasiaji, Ulrika Lång, Gunnel Axelsson Nycander 

Moderator: Britta Olofsson 

Link for the recording 


Side event 3: Fostering coherence between social protection, agriculture and natural resource management for an inclusive and sustainable recovery 

This side event debated different analysis and policy experiences on building coherence between social protection, agriculture and natural resource management sectors to reduce rural poverty and promote the economic inclusion of the poor. Evidence and the main debates around the impact on poverty reduction of such policy and programmatic approach were presented, while different national experiences were shared to discuss the opportunities and challenges that governments face in terms of fostering this coherence and implementing the subsequent programmes. The discussion was held in light of the challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 response and recovery are posing, especially in terms of inclusivity and the need to balance economic recovery with environmental sustainability. 

Speakers: Sintayehu Demissie Admasu, Colin Andrews, Samer Titi, Fabio Hazin 

Moderator: Benjamin Davis 

Link for the recording 


Side event 4: Shock-Responsive Social Protection: Lessons from the Joint SDG Fund for an Integrated Approach to COVID-19 

The United Nations’ Joint SDG Fund is a new global pooled funding mechanism for transformative policy and strategic financing that accelerate progress towards the SDGs, in a coordinated ‘one-UN’ fashion. The Fund’s portfolio on Integrated Social Protection for Leaving No One Behind invests USD 103 million over two years into 35 Joint Programmes in 39 countries for innovative policy solutions that prioritize the most vulnerable. Amongst other innovations, the programmes use Adaptive or Shock-Responsive Social Protection (SRSP) to design systems that safeguard populations vulnerable to risks related to natural disasters and climate change - and increasingly public health crises. Besides quick wins produced by re-purposing 20% of the investment to respond to COVID-19, the portfolio is generating lessons learned on the use of SRSP to address multiple and reinforcing crises in the context of systemic impact of COVID-19 upon the SDGs. The session provided an overview of these approaches with practical examples from Indonesia, Mongolia and the Caribbean. 

Speakers: Christina Dankmeyer, Sarah Bailey, Bolormaa Purevsuren, Annisa Gita Srikandini 

Moderator: Nenad Rava 

Link for the recording 


Side event 5: Fail forward: Building foundations for innovation 

#whatsnextforSP? In a rapidly changing world, innovation will be key to successfully deliver social protection for all. In complex, uncertain contexts, innovation and success are possible because of our failures. Yet, countries and organizations are often unwilling to recount those. This side event attempted to discuss such cases of failure in the COVID-19 response. Most importantly, it considered what it takes for failure to be a steppingstone to success. In doing so, it initiated a wider debate on how, as a global community of practice, we can get better at creating safe spaces to fail (and thus innovate) and share what we have learned in these journeys, and how to use this knowledge effectively towards expanding social protection in crisis contexts. Want to know more? Join the Online Community on SP in Crisis Contexts and submit you ‘personal story’ here

SpeakersCecile Cherrier, Zehra Rizvi 

Link for the recording 


Side event 6: The role of behavioral science in the delivery of social protection cash transfers in the era of COVID-19 and beyond 

With COVID-19, many people are receiving cash transfers for the first time in their lives. Now more than ever, it is crucial that programs are designed to achieve optimal outcomes with the limited resources available. Behaviorally informed cash transfers can help people make the most of the transfers during this confusing and cognitively taxing environment. During this session, speakers shared details from their experience applying insights from behavioural science to the design and implementation of cash transfers programmes: “any social protection programme can be adapted to be much more impactful at relatively low cost by helping people manage their funds and their lives-  both in normal times and in these unprecedented times we face”. 

Speakers: Saugato Datta, Laura B. Rawlings, John Gachgi 

Moderator: Jessica Jean-François 

Link for the recording 


Side event 7: Impacts of COVID-19 and policy responses in rural areas of Africa and beyond 

COVID-19 has quickly morphed from an unprecedented health crisis to a massive economic shock. Initial expectations were that its impacts on agri-food supply chains would predominantly be felt in post-farm downstream segments, mostly in urban settings. But these expectations have given way to the realisation that the rural sector will not be spared the effects of the pandemic. Rural economies and households, in fact, are being hit hard by the disease and the containment measures adopted to prevent its spread. The session discussed a set of simulations commissioned by FAO and WFP of the effects of the pandemic on rural economies, most in sub-Saharan Africa, to better understand the magnitude of these impacts and help devise policies to mitigate them and support the recovery process. “The COVID pandemic sends a wake-up call on the fragility of the current social and economic structures, but also provides us with the opportunity to reevaluate how we tackle the root causes of hunger and build resilience against threats - to build back better".

Speakers: J. Edward Taylor, Maximo Torero, Aminata Sow, Carolina Trevelli, Susanna Sandström 

Moderator: Alejandro Grinspun 

Link for the recording  

Link for the recording in French

Link for the summary blog


Side event 8: Cultural diversity and the inclusion of indigenous rights into the planning processes of social protection 

This session provided a general look at the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and then explained certain aspects of this part of international law that are of particular relevance to social protection issues during the COVID-19 crisis. Next, it discussed how the present crisis provides a special opportunity for the practical implementation of indigenous rights, stressing these should be included into the planning processes of social protection to ensure the maintenance of cultural diversity – with an important focus on land rights. 

Speaker: Arnold Groh 

Link for the recording 


Side event 9: Lessons from the COVID-19 response for shock-responsive social protection in the Caribbean 

"Shock-responsive social protection may be a new term but it is not a new approach in the Caribbean", this session stressed, discussing lessons from the COVID-19 response with a distinguished panel of government representatives from Anguilla, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean, already the most indebted region in the world, is highly vulnerable to large-scale shocks not only including economic crises and public health emergencies, but also natural disasters, such as hurricanes. This discussion focused on: (1) opportunities to move from immediate responses to medium-term support to address the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19; and (2) plans for preparing social protection systems to respond to shocks in the future. 

Speakers: Bonnie A. Richardson-Lake, Velda Octave-Joseph, Sylvanie Burton 

Moderator: Christina Dankmeyer, Sarah Bailey 

Link for the recording 


Virtual Booth Talks 

The Virtual Booths were a space for member organisations and’s Online Communities to showcase dedicated results of their work (for example, a product or service they are offering) related to social protection responses to COVID-19 and beyond. The Virtual Booth Talks were sessions in which the audience could engage in informal discussions with the experts behind the work showcased in the booth. 


Virtual Booth Talks 0 - Social Protection for Employment Community (SPEC) 

The Social Protection for Employment Community (SPEC) promotes South-South learning on approaches and evidence on linking social protection to employment. The community was born out of an international workshop titled South-South Knowledge Exchange Forum on Linking Social Protection with Employment Opportunities held in Jakarta in 2016, attended by representatives from 20 countries. Since then, the community has hosted webinars, developed a knowledge repository and published a number of materials. 

Q&A - Questions submission 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 1 - Towards disability-inclusive social protection systems in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond 

Persons with disabilities, which comprise 15% of the world’s population, are more likely to be poor, face catastrophic health expenditures, and have lower levels of education and economic participation. Barriers to employment and disability-related costs contribute greatly to their higher vulnerability. Social protection is therefore critical for their inclusion, empowerment and sustainable escape from poverty. Less than 20% of persons with significant disabilities in low- and middle-Income countries (LMICs) have access to disability related benefits (only 1% in low-income countries). Recent studies have highlighted design issues which undermine both access to and the impact of social protection schemes for persons with disabilities. The COVID-19 crisis has magnified those barriers and requires a Disability Inclusive Social Protection Response based on lessons learned. 1/3 of countries that have adopted social protection measures had a specific attention for persons with disabilities, with a focus on provision of extra cash transfer payments, home delivery of food and non-food items and helplines to provide information and in some cases referral for support. However, regional consultations with organizations with persons with disabilities highlighted the limitations of social protection systems due to inaccessibility of information, lack of national registry and dedicated schemes, low coverage and adequacy of existing ones. To mitigate the risk of further marginalisation, the recent UN secretary general policy brief on disability inclusive COVID response re-called the importance of building sustainable and disability-inclusive social protection systems, which include universal disability allowances across the life cycle addressing disability-related extra costs and community support services. Towards Inclusive Social Protection Systems To Advance The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities jointly implemented by ILO and UNICEF has been developing resources building on the Joint statement Towards inclusive social protection systems supporting full and effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.  

Speakers: Abner Manlapaz, Meenakshi Balasubramanian 

Q&A – Questions submissions   

Link for the recording 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 2 - Interactive Dashboard to Simulate COVID-19 and Cash Transfer Impacts in Africa 

An interactive dashboard with data from 19 African countries is being built. Users can select options on the dashboard to estimate the economic impact of different levels of COVID-19 shocks on the entire country or in specific sectors such as retail trade or services. The dashboard will provide new poverty and inequality indicators due to the shock, and characteristics of those affected. The dashboard will also allow the user to simulate the mitigating impact of a cash transfer that uses parameters (transfer size, eligibility criteria) from the main cash transfer program in the country, as well as other categorically targeted programs. The dashboard will calculate new poverty indicators, the number of people reached by the transfer, and the total cost.  

SpeakersTayllor Spadafora, Sudhanshu Handa 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 3 - Technical Assistance papers to inform early social protection responses to COVID-19 in South Asia. 

This Virtual Booth shared studies that informed UNICEF Social Protection agendas in the early days when the COVID-19 crisis hit the region. Built in collaboration with the IPC-IG these documents assessed the relevance of some important agendas UNICEF deemed strategical for tackling the COVID-19 crisis in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal, gathering information that at that time was scarce and fragmented to back up the need for protecting certain vulnerable groups, the most appropriate programme formats to reach them out, and in some cases, already estimating potential coverage and funding for the advocated policies to be rolled out. For Afghanistan, Bhutan and Maldives these studies basically identified some core vulnerable groups that were being hit hard by the crisis and not adequately covered by Social Protection responses till that time. These studies considered context-specificities, data availability, and case-management capacity at each country, thus resulting on three proposals for COVID-19 responsive cash transfers each pointing to slightly distinct approaches. In Afghanistan, UNICEF understood there was already a fair amount of national awareness about who are the main vulnerable groups, though at the same time social protection responses were lagging behind the humanitarian responses. Hence the country’s report consisted of proposals for several different programmes considering different fiscal availability scenarios. This included programmes’ formats ranging from a universal child grant to a universal female child grant but also with possibilities to roll out combinations of geographical and categorical programmes targeting the poor who are not already subjects of the humanitarian responses. Importantly, given the limited shock responsive capacity already available for the country’s social protection sector, the proposal dedicated a large amount of effort to detailing potential arrangements for operationalizable means to process a quick and gradual enrollment and payment operation. In Bhutan, UNICEF’s perception was different in the sense that if felt like the crisis really urged for a universal child grant that could be realistically afforded by the government. A main perceived challenge was to advocate for the idea, which is why its proposal consisted on a costing of different values of reference for one such programme, but a great effort was dedicated to deconstructing myths about social protection, outlining the several design possibilities that can be adopted by one such programme, and highlighting potential effects as drawn from international experiences. In Maldives the challenge was yet different since the crisis had a more clear job-sector cut and, at the same time, differently form the other countries, the geographic and demographic composition of the country enabled a sort of intensive case management that could potentially allow the government to mediate eligibility to response programmes based on job-sectoral occupation (which is something most times hard to validate in widespread informal labor markets like the ones of South Asia). Hence, the work consisted on a brief advocacy about why these groups should be given priority, combined with multiple coverage and cost projections considering the combination of these features with others like household composition and income-level, in the hope that some of those possibilities could be afforded by the government and its development partners. Finally, in the case of Nepal, one of the first reports to be elaborated form this series, at the very early days of the COVID-19 crisis the causality pathways through which this could hurt children were still not widely known. Thus, this paper focused on consolidating all these potential negative effects and their causality pathways, which was meant to facilitate advocacy efforts to boost more child-sensitive responses to the crisis and, especially, to promote such kind of responses that included cash transfer initiatives.   

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 4 - Extending social protection to workers in the informal economy in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond 

The COVID-19 crisis and its economic and social impacts are particularly harsh for workers in the informal economy and their families. Their lack of social protection makes them particularly vulnerable to shocks, since they usually cannot count on the protection provided by social insurance or poverty-targeted social assistance schemes. Many governments have put in place emergency measures to temporarily extend social protection to uncovered groups in order to provide income support and access to health care. However, as the crisis recedes, governments should move from emergency stop-gap responses to sustainable mechanisms in order to close social protection gaps, in line with human rights and international labour standards and based on inclusive social dialogue. In the Virtual Booth were presented ILO and WIEGO resources, among others. 

Speakers: Christina Behrendt, Laura Alfers, Quynh Anh Nguyen 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 5 - Interagency Social Protection Assessments (ISPA) Tools 

ISPA tools provide systematic analytical frameworks for planning the implementation of social protection systems and programmes. This is valuable also in times of crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic to support countries in rapidly developing solutions to expand their existing schemes and programmes or develop new ones. ISPA tools cover key aspects of the delivery chain such as identification systems, payments, information systems as well as addressing different programme types such as public works programmes or food security and nutrition programmes. There is also a tool allow to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of social protection system as a whole. ISPA tools comprise a guidance note explaining the approach and key concepts, in particular the criteria used to evaluate performance, a data collection framework and a table to present an overview of the findings in a structured manner. The booth displayed the tools, their application guidelines and a selection of ISPA country reports as examples of their application.  

Speaker: Adea Kryeziu 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 7 - Asian Development Bank 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) envisions a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in the region. ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic an assistance package of $20 billion has been deployed to help our developing members counter the severe impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and address the urgent needs of the sick, the poor, and the vulnerable. Prior to and beyond the pandemic, ADB monitors social protection spending and programming across its member countries through its periodic Social Protection Indicator (SPI) reports. These reports are published as subregional reports, while country reports are accessible from These reports are aimed at informing policy dialogues and investments.  

Speaker: Michiel van der Auwera 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 8 - The Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice Helpline 

National governments are at the centre of delivering social protection responses to COVID-19. The Social Protection Approaches to COVID-19: Expert Advice Helpline (SPACE) provides governments and their implementing partners with support in thinking through how to maintain or adapt existing systems and programmes to meet rapidly growing needs, while thinking through future steps to enhance 'preparedness'. Through a multi-disciplinary ‘ask-the-experts’ service, SPACE provides a sounding board for decision-makers in COVID-19 responses – challenging or affirming existing thinking and supporting innovation. Beyond a wide number of country engagements over the past six months, the 25+ expert team behind SPACE has co-created a suite of tools and reference documents to help decision-makers make sense of a broad body of global evidence on shock responsive social protection and humanitarian cash assistance – within their own operating context and in specific relation to the Covid-19 response.  

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 9 - How do national social protection strategies and programmes integrate gender considerations? Evidence from low- and middle-income countries 

This draft Research Brief, jointly produced by UN Women and UNICEF Office of Research, discusses the findings of the research undertaken to map and assess 50 national social protection strategies and 40 social programmes from a gender perspective. In how far have gender considerations been integrated into social protection planning and programming? To answer this question, these social protection strategies and programmes were assessed across four dimensions: 

1) Overarching framework: is there an enabling legal and policy framework for gender equality, including the recognition of women’s rights and the inclusion of gender equality as an objective to be achieved in and through social protection? 

2) Risk and vulnerability assessment: is there a recognition of gendered risks and vulnerabilities across life course? Are structural inequalities, such as women’s disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work, lesser access to economic resources and exposure to gender-based violence recognized? 

3) Design and delivery features: do strategies and programmes include specific actions to address gendered risks and vulnerabilities? 

4) Governance and accountability: do strategies and programmes include gender-specific M&E indicators, participatory M&E methods and/or a robust grievance mechanisms? 

The findings suggest that while the majority of national social protection strategies and programmes commit to gender equality and acknowledge gendered risks and vulnerabilities, they rarely provide for specific actions to address them. The integration of gender into M&E systems was found to be particularly weak. Despite these sobering findings, the brief identifies several promising cases where gender mainstreaming has been strong and provides recommendations on how to strengthen the integration of gender into social protection plans and programmes in the future. The primary audience for this brief is researchers, practitioners, policy makers and donors working at the intersection of gender and social protection.  

Speakers: Elena Camilletti, Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, Silke Staab, Constanza Tabbush 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the recording 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 10 - Scaling Up Graduation and Driving Systems Change for the Poorest 

BRAC’s Graduation approach is designed to meet the complex needs of those living in extreme poverty. Graduation is a multifaceted set of interventions based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by those living at this severe level of extreme poverty. Through training in life skills, finance, and business skills, along with consumption stipends, an asset transfer (livestock, seed capital, equipment, etc.), and regular coaching and monitoring, BRAC’s Graduation approach addresses participants’ multidimensional needs within the local context. Graduation is the first scalable solution proven to break the poverty trap. It’s a proven researched set of interventions based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by those living at this severe level of extreme poverty. Evidence shows that Graduation interventions helps people create sustainable livelihoods and lift themselves out of extreme poverty without falling back into it later. Researchers of the London School of Economics’ found that even seven years after entering BRAC’s Graduation program, 93 percent of participants had maintained or increased their income assets and consumption, or household spending on goods and services. BRAC UPGI is committed to scaling Graduation through government integration, and is partnering with country governments, like-minded organizations, and donors on effective solutions that leverage available resources and programming to achieve the long-term benefits demonstrated by Graduation.  

Speaker: Nazia Moqueet 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 11 - Development Pathways’ Booth 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people around the world. Whilst the impact is global, it will not affect everyone equally. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us the importance of stringent and universal social protection programmes to assist and protect people from falling into poverty. Working with partners around the world, Development Pathways is providing analysis and strategies to support the recovery of countries’ economies. This virtual booth brought together the resources that the organization has created to help inform and shape countries’ responses to COVID-19, in addition to resources on work determined as essential to establish universal social protection systems such as resources on management information systems and the need for a human rights approach to social protection. Development Pathways is a UK and Kenya based organization, working throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific engaging in social policy development; programme design and implementation; mixed methods research and evaluations across a wide range of thematic areas such as poverty, life-cycle vulnerability, gender, disability, SDGs, value chain analysis; to name a few.  

Speakers: Anh Tran, Baindu Kallon 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 12 - Linking humanitarian CVA with social protection 

The Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) is a global network of humanitarian actors engaged in policy, practice and research in cash and voucher assistance (CVA). CaLP has been engaged in knowledge management, research and capacity building on linkages between the Social Protection and Humanitarian CVA (SP/H-CVA) sphere for several years. CaLP currently participates in the Grand Bargain Sub-Work Stream and works closely with the leads on improving knowledge management.  

Q&A – Questions submissions   

Link for the Booth 


Virtual Booth Talks 13 - Global Community of practice on Social protection in crisis contexts 

The online community on Social Protection in Crisis Contexts hosted by offers a unique space for people with diverse backgrounds to exchange documents, insights and news in order to collectively and progressively learn how to expand social protection to often hard-to-reach crisis-affected populations. The community’s topic of interest encompasses issues referred to as social protection across the humanitarian-development nexus, shock-responsive/sensitive social protection, linking humanitarian assistance and social protection, or social protection in contexts of fragility and forced displacement. It is concerned with the linkages between social protection and humanitarian cash transfers, as well as other equally important aspects to improve social protection in crisis contexts, including: how national social protection systems can continue to operate in crisis contexts; what national governments can do to provide effective social protection for resilience building in crisis-prone contexts; and how national governments can improve their own emergency responses. The community is open to anyone concerned with the topic. It brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds, practitioners, policymakers, experts, as well as academics and students, working on social protection, disaster risk management or humanitarian aid. With over 240 members, it is one of the largest and most active communities on Created as an unbranded, member-based online space, it intends to offer a one-stop shop and common platform for various practitioners and researchers working on this vast, complex and hot topic.  Over the years, different institutions have supported the community while individual members have ensured its continuous growth and sustainability towards its goals. Moving forward, there is a recognised need to enhance the Online Community space to further facilitate the exchange of experiences and offer an easily accessible state-of-the-art resource centre on the issue.  

Q&A – Questions submissions   

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Virtual Booth Talks 14 - UNICEF LAC 

With a presence in 36 countries and territories in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, UNICEF works with governments, communities, academia, think tanks and the private sector to promote, design and implement efficient and effective social policies to reverse the conditions of poverty and inequality that affect children and adolescents. UNICEF's work focuses on the strengthening and/or adaptation of national social protection systems so that they meet the specific needs of children, adolescents, and their families. The organization deploys a series of efforts to assist the most deprived population, taking children and adolescents at the center of our actions. These efforts are framed within four key components of social protection: (i) social transfers, (ii) programs to guarantee access to basic services, (iii) social and care support, and (iv) legislative and policy reform to guarantee equity and non-discrimination. In particular, UNICEF seeks to provide assistance to countries in the region through the country offices to advocate and design comprehensive effective interventions for children, prioritizing the most vulnerable population and taking into account the realities of each country.  

Q&A – Questions submissions   

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Virtual Booth Talks 15 – TRANSFORM 

TRANSFORM - the Leadership and Transformation Learning Package on Building and Managing Social Protection Floors in Africa - is an innovative approach to strengthening national capacities for the implementation of national Social Protection Floors (SPFs) in Africa at the national and sub-national level. It encompasses learning materials and methods for adult learning, to help decision makers and practitioners take ownership in building national social protection systems through continuous learning and reflective practice. TRANSFORM is an inter-agency initiative consisting of UN and bilateral agencies as well as other social protection partners supporting the building of social protection floors in Africa.  The initiative is managed through an Advisory Group who provides Strategic Guidance to the initiative and a Coordination Hub, based at ILO Lusaka and supported through the generous contribution of Irish Aid, who provides technical assistance in the implementation, development and promotion of the initiative across the continent. Currently, members of the TRANSFORM Advisory Group are ILO, UNICEF, UNDP, IRISH AID, IPC-IG, WFP, SASPEN, FES, ITC-ILO and representatives from the TRANSFORM Master Trainers’ group. The African Union Commission, Department of Social Affairs (AUC-DSA), supports the adoption of TRANSFORM as a regional capacity development instrument for the social protection sector.The TRANSFORM curriculum is organized in a modular structure, and reflects the key building blocks of a holistic and interdependent social protection system. The Experiential Pedagogical Approach: TRANSFORM has adopted an innovative pedagogic approach which aims at imparting state of art knowledge that is appropriate for the countries in Africa, while recognizing the importance of practitioners and the value added they bring into the discussions. The methodology is centred on the promotion of change and therefore the learning package is focused on the concrete working environment of the participants. The training sessions should lead to the development of personal commitments or action plans for participants to take leadership in transformation following the training. TRANSFORM was developed by African and Africa-based experts, so to speak more directly to the specific challenges of building and managing social protection floors in the region. The initiative aims at constant development and updating of the materials to ensure their relevance for social protection practitioners in the region. Recognizing the importance of growing regional expertise, since 2017, the TRANSFORM initiative has established a roster of 44 regional Master Trainers, social protection experts who are exclusively accredited to deliver the TRANSFORM curriculum in country and on-line. Through constant dialogue with key social protection stakeholders in the region, the TRANSFORM initiative has supported capacity building on non-contributory social protection across 12 countries in Africa, reaching out to over 1200 practitioners, including Government officials, Civil Society, the Media and other key social protection actors. Globally, since 2018 the E-TRANSFORM online course, jointly implemented by the TRANSFORM Hub in collaboration with IPC- IG through the platform has completed 5 rounds, reaching over 240 participants as of August 2020.  

Speaker: Marialaura Ena 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

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Virtual Booth Talks 16 - Socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 and social protection in Latin America and the Caribbean 

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) provides analyses of the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region through its COVID-19 Observatory in Latin America and the Caribbean. It also provides a constant follow up of the social protection measures adopted by countries of the region to face the effects of COVID-19 on the population and fosters dialogues on social protection policies and programmes to respond to the pandemic among governments participating in the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. This work is part of the mission of ECLAC in the area of social development, which consists in promoting integral human development with a rights-based approach; conducting and disseminating analyses of the social situation in the region; analysing the impacts, levels of investment and management of social policies and programmes implemented by the governments; disseminating details of successful or innovative experiences to inform decision-making in countries; advising governments on issues of social development; and helping train the professionals and technicians of the relevant public bodies. As part of this work, the ECLAC maintains the Non-contributory social protection programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean database, which provides detailed information on conditional cash transfer programmes, social pensions and labour and productive inclusion programmes in the region.  

SpeakerSimone Cecchini 

Q&A – Questions submissions   

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Virtual Booth Talks 17 - UNICEF MENA SP Responses to COVID 

UNICEF MENA’s social protection responses to COVID have included direct operational support (like in the case of Jordan, Iraq, Egypt), the provision of technical advice (such as in Algeria, Djibouti, Lebanon, Sudan, Tunisia and Morocco) and in most countries we have carried out socio economic studies and/or micro simulations on the effects of COVID with an eye on, #whatsnextforSP. UNICEF MENA will continue to work with government partners on both operational and policy technical assistance and advice on the design, delivery and implementation of social protection responses, including tackling the issue of public financing. Where required, UNICEF will work closely with governments on the provision of humanitarian cash transfers. UNICEF MENA co-leads the UN Issues based Coalition for MENA which has published a joint report with IPC IG on Social Protection Responses to the COVID-19 crisis in the MENA/ Arab States Region. This virtual booth focused on Tunisia and the impact of containment measures of the COVID-19 pandemic on child poverty (report in French, published July 2020). The micro simulations show that the containment measures associated with the health crisis are likely to have a very significant impact on the poorest families and, in particular on children.   

Speaker: Abdel Rahmen El Lahga 

Q&A – Questions submissions 

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Social Protection Programmes: 
  • Social assistance
  • Social insurance
  • Labour market / employment programmes
Cross-Cutting Areas: 
  • Health
    • COVID-19
  • Global
The views presented here are the author's and not's