Rethinking Social Protection and Climate Change - Implications of climate change for social protection policy and programming in the Asia-Pacific region

Accelerating climate change will generate significant social, economic and political disruption globally and in the Asia-Pacific region by the middle of this century. It will profoundly reshape the socio-economic risks people face and their ability to meet basic needs, significantly extending poverty and vulnerability.

Social protection, the set of public measures provided by a society to transfer resources with the aim of protecting its members against economic and social distress, has the potential to play an important role in helping to manage these challenges and enabling the structural changes required to achieve a green transition. However, to contribute effectively, existing social protection systems will need significant transformation in terms of scale and design.

This report aims to support a shift in vision around social protection and climate change in the Asia-Pacific region by improving understanding of the socio-economic challenges likely to arise from climate change in the medium to long term, and how social protection can be used to manage them. The report provides a framework which goes beyond the more usual analysis – focused on climate extremes, shocks and disasters – to conceptualise the wider set of risks arising from climate change, and the potential role of social protection to address them.

The report provides:

  • a conceptual framework for the potential role of social protection in addressing the socio-economic challenges of climate change;
  • the projected medium-term socioeconomic impacts of climate change in the Asia-Pacific region and their implications for social protection;
  • an overview of climate-resilient social protection globally, and current policy and practice on linking social protection and climate change in the Asia-Pacific region; and
  • an assessment of how social protection needs to be reconceptualised to meet the challenges arising from climate change and policy, practice, financing, and learning recommendations to take forward the climate and social protection agenda.

The report is aimed at social protection and climate policymakers and practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region, but its findings and recommendations are of global relevance.