Protecting Human Capital Through Shocks and Crises: How lessons learned from the COVID-19 response across Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus can be used to build better and more resilient human development systems

Risk and uncertainty are on the rise, and countries across Europe and Central Asia (ECA) are not immune from it. The region is being hit by crises, conflicts, and continued uncertainty that are negatively affecting people’s livelihoods in the short term and prosperity in the long term. Then COVID-19 hit, inflicting massive harm on people’s wellbeing, livelihoods, and human capital. Lockdowns prevented people from working, school closures prevented students from learning, and overwhelmed hospitals had to defer important treatments. This report explores how to strengthen the resilience of health, education, and social protection systems to better protect people’s human capital from the long-term effects of recurrent shocks and crises.