Building resilience to climate risks through social protection: from individualised models to systemic transformation

This article analyses the role of social protection programmes in contributing to people's resilience to climate risks. Drawing from desk‐based and empirical studies in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, it finds that social transfers make a strong contribution to the capacity of individuals and households to absorb the negative impacts of climate‐related shocks and stresses. They do so through the provision of reliable, national social safety net systems—even when these are not specifically designed to address climate risks. Social protection can also increase the anticipatory capacity of national disaster response systems through scalability mechanisms, or pre‐emptively through linkages to early action and early warning mechanisms. Critical knowledge gaps remain in terms of programmes’ contributions to the adaptive capacity required for long‐term resilience. The findings offer insights beyond social protection on the importance of robust, national administrative systems as a key foundation to support people's resilience to climate risks.