Webinar Presentation: Strengthening social contracts in South Asia in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis: the adequacy of social protection responses in the short term and the future role of universal social protection

Slide presentation of the webinar held on 25 June 2020To what extent have existing social protection responses succeeded in tackling the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 crisis? To what extent have the shortcomings of the responses and the severity of the crisis been exacerbated due to structural issues that have hindered the development of strong and inclusive social contracts in South Asian countries? And, most importantly, to what extent can universal transfers enhance the shock-responsiveness of existing social protection systems while also strengthening social contracts in South Asia? 

To address these crucial questions, UNICEF’s Social Protection Specialist for South Asia, Mr. Abdul Alim has examined the structural deficiencies in social cohesion that characterise South Asian societies. IPC-IG coordinator, Mr. Fábio Veras then presented the IPC-IG’s preliminary findings on the core epidemiological and macroeconomic impacts that the COVID-19 crisis is expected to have on the South Asian region, and on the extent to which short-term social protection responses deployed in the region can be considered adequate to their contexts. Finally, Development Pathways Senior Social Policy Specialist & CEO, Mr. Stephen Kidd, presented the findings of their recently-released investment case for universal cash transfers in South Asia, discussing its potential advantages, expected impacts, possible funding mechanisms and the extent to which this could be an opportunity to strengthen social contracts in South Asian countries.