Stress Testing Adaptive Social Protection Systems in the Sahel

The Sahel region of Africa faces multiple crises, which further compound structural economic and human development challenges. The Sahel is one of the world’s poorest regions and displays some of the lowest levels of human capital globally. Violence and insecurity in the Sahel have significantly increased in the past decade, with several countries experiencing active armed conflict and unrest. The impacts of climate change compound existing vulnerabilities and risks. Finally, the external shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have impacted the Sahel, eroding purchasing power and aggravating poverty. Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) plays a critical role in preventing or mitigating the negative impacts of shocks and boosting resilience for long-term development. ASP has emerged as a flexible and dynamic approach to social protection during the past decade. It combines and exploits synergies between social protection, disaster risk management (DRM), and climate change adaptation. Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) plays a critical role in preventing or mitigating the negative impacts of shocks and boosting resilience for long-term development. The Sahel’s vulnerability and exposure to shocks and crises is set to increase with accelerating climate change, calling for a shift from often externally funded, ad hoc responses toward building sustainable, government-led system. Over the past decade, ASP has been on a remarkable trajectory in the Sahel, and this is an appropriate time to take stock of the situation. This report provides an overview of the state of ASP across six Sahelian countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal - as well as a set of recommendations for actions to strengthen the adaptiveness and responsiveness of existing systems to shocks.